Re: How open are we?

Dean Gibson AE7Q <yahu.stuff@...>

On 2015-03-03 20:41, myyahoo@... [UniversalDigitalRadio] wrote:

Some licences (like most of the GPL variety) have a requirement that any modifications to source code be made available.

Not true (I contacted the Free Software Foundation about this some time ago).  You only have to make the source modifications available, if you make the software available.  You can take GPL-licensed software and make all the changes you want, and you don't have to tell anyone or make the changes available.  However, if you DO make the changes available (whether for free or for a price), then you have to make the source changes available as well.

Further, you don't have to make the changes available for free.  You can take GPL-licensed software, make some changes, and (with the source code), sell it for any amount you can get for it.  Usually, just once (ie, in a consulting contract), because you can't lay ANY restrictions on what the purchaser does with it.  The purchaser can sell it, or just give it away, and you have no recourse.

The idea (loosely stated) is that you get paid for your changes at most once (eg, consulting/development fees).

As an aside:  There is one portion of the GPL most people blindly apply, and that is the "version 2 or (at your option) any later version of the license" clause.  It's an insane provision, because it means that if the FSF decides (for money or as a legal mistake) to change the license that results in an unintended loophole that allows some entity to thwart the intent of an earlier version of the GPL, you are bound by it.  Most savvy developers restrict the GPL that they use to just version 2 or (the current) version 3.  The whole intent of the GPL is that no one can change the license without the contributors' permission.

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