TLDR: Companies should be required to pay developers for any open source software they use.

He imagines a simple yearly compliance process that gets companies all the rights they need to use Post-Open software. And they’d fund developers who would be encouraged to write software that’s usable by the common person, as opposed to technical experts.

It’s an interesting concept, but I don’t really see any feasible means to get this to kick off.

What are your thoughts on it?

  • KptnAutismus@lemmy.world
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    7 months ago

    in a fair world, all of these companies who abuse the GPL license woild get sued and have to face actual consequences. but the legal system favors the rich, and the FOSS dev is left to starve. killed by their own passion.

    • Actual@programming.devOP
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      7 months ago

      Let’s not be nihilist here. It’s better to come up with solutions than to give up.

      • KptnAutismus@lemmy.world
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        7 months ago

        sure, i love change for the better. the EU parliament is proof that change like this is possible, one just needs funding for lobbbyists like rossmann has done it.

    • onlinepersona@programming.dev
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      7 months ago

      I honestly thing we need that third party instance that audits proprietary code for the licenses it uses to see if there’s a breach. Then they could sue all the companies that don’t abide by the license. Most likely GAFAM would lobby against such a thing because they know they use a lot of opensource stuff that could force them to opensource their stuff, but honestly, fuck them. They’ve made a killing on the backs of free work.

  • Lmaydev@programming.dev
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    7 months ago

    I mean just license it as such right? You can’t say it’s completely free for anyone to use then complain you aren’t getting paid.

    • mo_ztt ✅@lemmy.world
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      7 months ago

      This is a common misconception. A couple times, it’s even gone to court. Both Cisco and Best Buy had to pay nontrivial amounts of money, and in the case of Best Buy, it hilariously had to give to the plaintiffs its inventory of TVs which contained software copyrighted and GPL-licensed by the plaintiffs.

      GPL licensed does not in any world mean “completely free for anyone to use”. For end-users, it does. For companies that want to resell the GPL-licensed software, it means, you can do it for free if you comply with the terms of the license, and if you don’t, then you can’t. There’s not a monetary exchange, but there are licensing terms you need to comply with which were apparently important enough to the people that wrote the software for them to apply that particular license instead of some other one.

      If you disagree, that’s completely fine, but that doesn’t mean you can all of a sudden resell their software and use their work for free, even if there are other people (in compliance with the license) who can.

      • library_napper@monyet.cc
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        7 months ago

        From the link, Best Buy paid $90,000. That’s awesome! Wouldn’t there be a ton of opportunity in suing these big, careless companies that are violating open source? Seems like this would be “the solution”

        • mo_ztt ✅@lemmy.world
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          7 months ago

          I think mostly they prefer for people to just fix their delivery to comply with the license, as opposed to causing antagonism towards the community by going straight to a lawsuit. But yes, there are definitely teeth to it if some company for whatever reason doesn’t want to fix their infringement.

        • pixelscript
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          7 months ago

          IANAL and I don’t have the actual court papers, but is seems to me they were violating GPLv2 Section 6.

          Essentially, what this section says is that if you distribute a chunk of software (in this case, the firmware embedded in a smart TV) that in its compiled form contains part or all of a software library covered by this license (in this case, Busybox, which is a bundle of common shell utilities you use every day in a Linux terminal, compacted into one binary to fit onto embedded systems), you have to do one of these four things:

          • Package the source code of the GPL’d library with the distribution itself. If your executable contains a version of it modified by you, those modifications must be in the source. In this case this would require putting the raw source code for Busybox on the TV itself in a place the user could access it, or perhaps bundling a flash drive with the source code on it with the TV.

          • Include a written offer to send the source to anyone who asks for it, at no cost (except for the cost of transfer itself if applicable, e.g. postage), and honor that offer for at least 3 years. I believe this is what most companies that use GPL’d code do.

          • If the distribution happens at a designated place, offer the source at that same place. This is mostly relevant to download pages, not physical products.

          • Verify that the customer already has a copy of the source distributed in advance. This is a specific edge case that makes no sense in this context.

          This lawsuit was brought about because the sellers of the TVs that contained Busybox were not doing any of the above four things, and those sellers ignored or ghosted plaintiff when plaintiff contacted them about it.

        • mo_ztt ✅@lemmy.world
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          7 months ago

          They were selling TVs with GPL-licensed software inside without complying with the terms of the GPL. When challenged, their defense was some version of “But it’s completely free for anyone to use!”

          They didn’t have to give up every one of their TVs of any model, just the infringing models (the ones that used Busybox without complying with the GPL).

      • Lmaydev@programming.dev
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        7 months ago

        That’s all well and good. But it still doesn’t change the whole not getting paid issue. Unless they violated the license lol

        • mo_ztt ✅@lemmy.world
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          7 months ago

          Violating the (spirit of) the license (without violating the letter, because of loopholes in the license) is exactly what Perens is talking about.

          He’s not “complaining he isn’t getting paid.” I think it’s pretty rare that the people working on open source software are actually hurting for money or anything. He’s complaining that the actual practice of how the software is being used, RHEL and Android on phones and etc, isn’t doing well at reflecting the vision of the computing world the GPL was supposed to create. Then, as one possible solution, he’s proposing to kill two birds with one stone with a new license where the companies that are skirting the license right now can have to fund the development of particular types of open source software that need to get done anyway but is lacking right now (because of lack of profit motive).

          You might or might not agree with his thesis; as much as I think it’s interesting and insightful I have some reservations about it. I just thought you were misunderstanding his whole argument as being in terms of money, that’s all.

      • PixxlMan@lemmy.world
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        7 months ago

        GPL isn’t the only open source license. This comment is beyond bizarre because it seems to imply that all open source software is GPL? And of course when software is licensed as GPL, that license can be enforced when someone breaks it (like your example). The original comment never mentioned GPL, it was about when something was licensed ss free. So when you give an example where it wasn’t licensed as such, what was the point?

        • mo_ztt ✅@lemmy.world
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          7 months ago

          The entire linked article is talking about “open source” in terms of the GPL specifically.

    • Actual@programming.devOP
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      7 months ago

      Well the question is, how would such a license look like? Or would it be a contract and not a license?

      I guess I should ask a lawyer these questions, but I wanted to see what others here thought about the idea.

      • mo_ztt ✅@lemmy.world
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        7 months ago

        This to me is a good question. The lack of something concrete that sounds like “yes, that would definitely work” is something that makes me have reservations about this whole thesis… but that said I think it has some merit.

        Mysql and Qt already have a pretty solid model, where there’s a GPL-enabled alternative that the community can use, or you can pay a fee to use the commercial version. You could scale that up to something where if you want to pay a certain fee, you can use lots of currently-GPL software (maybe any that’s been assigned to the FSF or something with the FSF shepherding the whole thing). Then, we can stop the sort of benign neglect of companies that are sloppy with their licensing of uboot or Busybox, and just tell them to start paying the fee if they don’t feel like dotting all their "i"s as far as licensing, and then use the fees to fund development of open source software that’s needed but doesn’t have a lot of motivated developers working on it.

        I’m not as convinced that it’s necessary as Perens is. Like I think he overblows by quite a lot the impact of RHEL skirting their licensing, because in his mind RHEL is such a big part of the computing world when in reality it’s not. But it sounds like he’s describing real problems and the solutions make some version of good sense to me.

  • mo_ztt ✅@lemmy.world
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    7 months ago

    I wasn’t too psyched about reading this article, but I was surprised at how sensible it is – among a bunch of pretty good points he makes, this is one of them:

    Another straw burdening the Open Source camel, Perens writes, “is that Open Source has completely failed to serve the common person. For the most part, if they use us at all they do so through a proprietary software company’s systems, like Apple iOS or Google Android, both of which use Open Source for infrastructure but the apps are mostly proprietary. The common person doesn’t know about Open Source, they don’t know about the freedoms we promote which are increasingly in their interest. Indeed, Open Source is used today to surveil and even oppress them.”

    From the end user’s point of view, there is absolutely no open-source-ness to your Android phone. (BSD which iOS is based on was always designed to make this a possibility, but the GPL was not.) They’re using all this software which was supposed to be authored under this theory of GPL, but except for the thinnest thinnest veneer of theoretical source availability, it’s proprietary software at this point.

    RMS actually talked about this. He laid out this vision of this bright future where you’d always have access to the source code for all the software on your computer and the rights to take a look at it or build on it or modify it, and some reporter said, well yes but what about all these other urgent problems that are ruining the world with private industry trying to make money at all costs and destroy it all. And RMS said, more or less: Yes. It bothers me a lot. But I don’t really know about that, and I know software, and I felt like in this one specific area I could write a bunch of software and solve this one problem in this one area where I felt like I could make a difference. If other people could get to to work on these other more urgent problems that’d be great, because they also bother me a lot.

    • TootSweet@lemmy.world
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      7 months ago

      BSD which iOS is based on was always designed to make this a possibility, but the GPL was not.

      Can you elaborate on this? I would have said exactly the opposite. That the GPL’s copyleft scheme and requirement of providing source code was very intentionally meant to be a way to prevent big corporations from taking advantage of users via software. I’ll admit that vision hasn’t born the fruit (that I’d’ve said) it was intended to. But wasn’t the intention there?

      Meanwhile, BSD doesn’t have any provisions intended to keep some big company from distributing compiled binaries sans source code with lots of antifeatures added.

      The terms of the GPL specifically require that you be able to specifically demand all source code of any GPL’d code on your smartphone (or smart TV or toaster or garage door opener or whatever) so that you can build at least the GPL parts of the firmware for your own devices. If the courts would just back that up, you would be able to recompile all the GPL’d parts of your smartphone’s firmware and run that on your phone. That was the intention of the GPL. And the terms of the GPL have been used to bear fruit in that direction. OpenWRT wouldn’t exist if Free Software advocates didn’t threaten legal action if… who was it… Broadcom?.. didn’t comply with the GPL and release its source code.

      There is still Tivoization to contend with. (Locked bootloaders, basically.) Some (like Bradley Kuhn) think the GPL’s terms are sufficient to prevent that from being a problem already.

      • mo_ztt ✅@lemmy.world
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        7 months ago

        Can you elaborate on this?

        I think we’re saying the same thing; maybe I worded it confusingly. BSD is supposed to allow proprietary-ization, and GPL is supposed to prevent it. Apple is within both the letter and spirit of the BSD license with what they’re doing with iOS. Google is technically within the letter of the GPL with how they distribute Android, just as Redhat is technically within it in how they distribute RHEL, and honestly maybe both cases are fine, but it’s far from the intent. The spirit of the GPL is that people who would receive an Android phone would know that the relevant parts of their phone’s software are open source and have a realistic ability to modify them, which I’d argue is true for pretty much 0% of even tech-savvy users today.

        If the courts would just back that up, you would be able to recompile all the GPL’d parts of your smartphone’s firmware and run that on your phone.

        Firmware? You mean kernel, right? (in addition to whatever low-level userland tools are GPLd, which I’m sure is a bunch.)

        I don’t think Google really did anything wrong here. The letter of the law is being upheld pretty well in what they’re doing. I think the issue is the cell phone manufacturers making it de facto impossible to modify your cell phone. I don’t think the GPL actually makes any requirement for modifying the software in-place being a requirement (nor should it IMO), and providing the source code is done carefully in accordance with the license. It’s very different from the “fuck you I take your stuff, sue me hippie” stance that Broadcom took. Broadcom very clearly broke the law.

        In my opinion, the issue is that a cell phone is such a free-software-hostile environment that arguably GPL software shouldn’t “be allowed to” come into contact with it in any capacity if the spirit of the GPL were being upheld. IDK how you can write something like that into a license though. And I think that’s what Perens is saying – that we need a new model that comes closer to the spirit in terms of what the actual result is.

        (Edit: Actually, maybe making it a realistic possibility to drop in a recompiled replacement should be a part of the GPL. I remember people were talking about this decades ago with signed bootloaders and things, so that a recompiled kernel wouldn’t boot on particular machines unless you broke the DMCA by doing something to your hardware. I said I wouldn’t like any attempt in the license to forbid that, but on reflection, it sounds like maybe a pretty good way to better uphold the spirit of the GPL with particular legal language.)

        • TootSweet@lemmy.world
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          7 months ago

          Ok, yeah. I think I misinterpreted the bit of your post that I quoted.

          About Google, it’s not necessarily Google who manufactured your phone. It is if you have a Pixel, but it might be Samsung or LG or ZTE phone or whatever. And it’s not necessarily them who sold you your phone. It might be T-Mobile or Mint Mobile or AT&T. Whoever conveyed GPL’d code in object form (as the GPL puts it “embodied in, a physical product”) has the responsibility of ensuring you can get from them the source of all GPL’d code on your device. Including all derivative works and modifications.

          Derivative works includes kernel modules. Which includes device drivers for, say, 5G modems and fingerprint readers. And those are the kinds of things (aside maybe from tivoization) that are the biggest hurtles for making a fully free firmware for a given device.

          So, yes, I mean the kernel and derivative works of the kernel like drivers. And of course anything else on the device that is GPL’d.

          Plus, the GPL also includes what is necessary to compile and install GPL’d code as part of the source code. Some of the implications are pretty cool. See this article by Bradley Kuhn of the Software Freedom Conservancy for more info.

          I think if companies did comply with all this, FOSS could benefit ordinary users who don’t even know what FOSS is a lot more than it does now.

        • Actual@programming.devOP
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          7 months ago

          In my opinion, the issue is that a cell phone is such a free-software-hostile environment that arguably GPL software shouldn’t “be allowed to” come into contact with it in any capacity if the spirit of the GPL were being upheld.

          How are phones free-software-hostile? I know IOS is, but Android not really. There’s a list of open source Android distributions. Although not very good, they are viable.

          Actually, maybe making it a realistic possibility to drop in a recompiled replacement should be a part of the GPL. I remember people were talking about this decades ago

          It does feel out of place how that isn’t in the GPL.

          • mo_ztt ✅@lemmy.world
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            7 months ago

            There’s a list of open source Android distributions. Although not very good, they are viable.

            Yeah, I get that. This is why I’m not fully in agreement with Perens that this is an urgent problem.

            How are phones free-software-hostile?

            Because the whole idea of the GPL was to usher in a future that was like the environment RMS grew up in, where you always had the source code to all your stuff and you could examine or modify or build on it. Linux machines are in actual practice that way, which is super cool. Android phones are basically not, from the viewpoint of almost any mortal human. I think the argument is that the efforts that the manufacturers make to close off modifications to the phones, and then put software on them that’s sometimes hostile to the best interests of the phone owner, means they shouldn’t be able to use all this GPL-licensed software for free in order to build the phones they’re selling.

    • Atemu
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      7 months ago

      BSD which iOS is based on

      Note that Apple’s OSs have very little to do with BSDs unless you deem coreutils the only criteria for an OS’ quality.

      • mo_ztt ✅@lemmy.world
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        Yeah, 100%. At this point the resources invested in MacOS / iOS have probably exceeded even the decades of work they were able to leverage by starting with FreeBSD / NeXT / Mach / whatever else.

        (Edit: Actually, not 100% true. Macs are still very BSD-like under the hood; I actually really like development on Macs because I can basically treat them as BSD systems with unusual package management and a fancy GUI. For that reason they’re far preferable for me over Windows or pre-OSX Macs. But yes, your point is well taken that iOS development at this point has far eclipsed anything they started out from in terms of LOC and time spent.)

    • Neuromancer@lemm.ee
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      7 months ago

      I worked at a company that had an open source policy. They wanted to use as much open source as possible but didn’t want to contribute back in any way. I explained to them that’s the antithesis of open source. If they find a bug, they should be willing to try to fix it or at least help fix it. Now all the code they wrote internally was closed source.

      I’m fine with closed source projects but don’t use open source and just leech from it. Eventually people will stop or bugs will never get fixed. Everyone needs to chip in either money or time.

      • mo_ztt ✅@lemmy.world
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        7 months ago

        Depending on the nature of the changes, it might be more advantageous to tell them that it’s easier (i.e. cheaper) to contribute changes upstream, rather than maintaining them separately forever. Also, the good will and reputation boost involved can be significant.

        Don’t say it if it isn’t true or anything, but in a lot of cases it’s true.

        • Neuromancer@lemm.ee
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          They didn’t ever touch the open source code. They’d just open a bug or feature enhancement. Why it annoyed me so much. I believe open source is best when everyone contributes something. Either time, money, or something of value.

  • filister@lemmy.world
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    7 months ago

    All the people predicting doom and gloom for open source, but the reality is that without open source we wouldn’t be in the position where we currently are in terms of technology.

    To be honest, I also think the patent system should be revamped as it is extremely flawed at the moment and prone to abuse by patent trolls, and it is stifling innovation.

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    7 months ago

    Fuck no. A small business that is struggling to survive should be able to use WordPress for their website and Linux for their laptops without paying

    • Actual@programming.devOP
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      7 months ago

      The fee could be really small but scale depending on factors like business size. Or there could be no fee outright for businesses smaller than a certain size.

      • baseless_discourse@mander.xyz
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        7 months ago

        That still sounds like a lot of confusion for small companies. especially given most FOSS is provided as-is without any legal consultant avaliable.

        • jaeme
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          7 months ago

          It’s also against the very idea of software freedoms in the first place. This is just reinventing proprietary licenses.

  • bizdelnick
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    7 months ago

    TLDR: Companies should be required to pay developers for any open source software they use

    You need to read the article yourself before writing TLDR. Spoiler: it is not about payments, it is about source code availability.

    • Actual@programming.devOP
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      7 months ago

      If you had also read the article BTW you would have realized that spoilers: it’s not about source code availability.

      You saw the first few paragraphs about the Red Hat drama and didn’t read further.

      Reading the whole thing you’d realize it’s a list of reasons why open source software hasn’t become popular with the wider public, and his proposed solution to this.

      I just included the idea he is proposing, others can read the article to see his reasoning.

  • Lvxferre
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    7 months ago

    I think that the RHEL example is out-of-place, since IBM (“Red Hat”) is clearly exploiting a loophole of the GNU Public License. Similar loopholes have been later addressed by e.g. the AGPL and the GPLv3*, so I expect this one to be addressed too.

    So perhaps, if the GPL is “not enough”, the solution might be more GPL.

    *note that the license used by the kernel is GPLv2. Cue to Android (for all intents and purposes non-free software) using the kernel, but not the rest.

      • Lvxferre
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        They’re still providing the code for people who buy the compiled software. And they are not restricting their ability to redistribute that code. So it’s still compliant with the GPL in the letter. However, if you redistribute it, they’ll refuse to service you further versions of the software.

        It’s clearly a loophole because they can argue “ackshyually, we didn’t restrict you, we just don’t want further businesses with you, see ya sucker”.

        • Atemu
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          7 months ago

          Is there a court case about this already? Because that’s clearly not the intention of the GPL.

          • Lvxferre
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            I don’t think that there is one yet, otherwise it would get famous. Not sure though.

    • TootSweet@lemmy.world
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      So perhaps, if the GPL is “not enough”, the solution might be more GPL.

      Love this.

  • guitars are real@sh.itjust.works
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    7 months ago

    Open source is just another commons, and companies have a way of uncontrollably exploiting common resources until they collapse.

    In the case of open source, it’s healthy in the sense that money is flowing, we have companies sponsoring projects, tons of code is available for inspection and reuse, etc. Very nice. But if you go back to the original concepts of free software, in many cases we struggle with actually exercising the four freedoms. Red Hat has engineered an EULA that basically lets them ban practices that had been thought protected by the GPL for at least a generation, and so on and so forth. So is the open source community healthy or dying? Doesn’t the answer to that depend on your priorities?

    I think it would make a lot of sense to try to create an economic model that can fund open source software development without relying on corporate injections of cash. It’s not that they don’t pay for it ever, they just pay for it to the bare minimum extent. IE, the heartbleed fiasco – tons of companies were freeloading off one guy and like half the Internet’s security got fucked for it. Imagine if OpenSSL had had some kind of economic support structure in place to allow for, uh, more than one guy to manage the encryption library for like half the Internet before something insanely stupid and predictable like that happened. Well, we can never have that with corporate-controlled open source.

  • BaumGeist
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    7 months ago

    people are always going to be floating ways to save capitalism in the face of communities privileging freedom over greed.

    this completely misses the point of free software, and fails to solve the problems Mr. Perens identifies with Open Source. He claims it fails to serve the “common person” (end users) and then proposes a solution that serves… only devs.

    Open Source has completely failed to serve the common person. For the most part, if they use us at all they do so through a proprietary software company’s systems, like Apple iOS or Google Android, both of which use Open Source for infrastructure but the apps are mostly proprietary… Indeed, Open Source is used today to surveil and even oppress them.

    All these problems are already solved by free software. the rebranding of “open source” was a compromise on the principles of free software to make the movement palatable to profit-seekers. In the end, it predictably failed to improve anything. The solution isn’t to reinvent the wheel, it’s to stop making the wheel square because the square lobby insists they’ll only use it if it’s square. The solution is copyleft, and free software being used more than it’s defanged cousin.

    The common person doesn’t know about Open Source, they don’t know about the freedoms we promote which are increasingly in their interest

    That’s a feature, not a bug. On one hand, if people knew about free software they wouldn’t be as good consumers. On the other hand, internals should be opaque to users; just as devs don’t want to have to know how the logic gates in the CPU are routing their code to write code, end users shouldn’t have to worry about the politics of the communities that developed their code.

  • TootSweet@lemmy.world
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    7 months ago

    So, Open Source was already kindof the capitalistic fork of the Free Software movement. And it feels like Parens’ vision of Post-Open Source is about how to marry it more to “the market.” If it’s not clear from what I’ve said already, I’m not a fan of that specific aspect of it.

    It is a problem that big companies reguarly violate the terms of the GPL. I hope good things come out of SFC v. Visio that give the GPL’s requirements of distributing source code with compiled code more teeth, but we’ll have to see. I do think the courts agreeing to interpret the GPL (at least in some cases) as a contract rather than as a license is a good thing. It was a gutsy move on the SFC’s legal department’s part, but the case shows more promise now that they’d made it than it did previously. Perhaps a GPLv4 that better deals with being interpreted as a contract is in order.

    Though, I worry that what Parens has in mind for new licenses doesn’t address what I’d want to see from the Open Source movement and will ultimately move (Post-)Open Source in the wrong direction.

    Specifically what I want from FOSS licenses is to be able to (and to have assurance that others have the option to) write and distribute software with assurances that no one’s going to use it to restrict users’ rights down the line. The GPL has historically been imperfect at that. The AGPL is better. But the GPL has always been explicit about requiring companies to distribute source code with binaries. What we need is that but with teeth in the form of some combination of court precedent and more effective legalese.

    If current licenses have the problem that big companies just ignore the terms set out in the license, I wouldn’t imagine making a new sort of license with different terms like “big companies have to pay to get the benefit of using Pots-Open Source software” is really going to work.

    All that said, I’m glad to hear discussion about the future of FOSS. I’m worried about where FOSS is now and where it’s going and am glad to see more strategic thinking.

    • mo_ztt ✅@lemmy.world
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      7 months ago

      Generally speaking I agree; I like how Perens is thinking about it.

      I do think it’s pretty well established that the GPL “has teeth” though. The FSF has a list of enforcement cases against fairly large defendants; it looks like their record is 2 for 2 in the US. I think it rarely comes up, just because complying with the terms of the license is so no-brainer-ly easier than trying to make the legal argument that you can use someone else’s stuff for free while thumbing your nose at the terms and conditions they want you to abide by in order to do that.

      I think most of the “big company ignores the GPL” things you hear about are either things like RHEL, where they’re carefully skirting the line in a clearly bad-faith way that has some decent chance in court for some particular reason, or else someone breaking the GPL and then their legal department looking at it for 2 seconds and telling them to stop doing that. The cases where someone with anything to lose actually doubles down and says “fuck you” are rare I think for pretty obvious reasons.

      (Also, I just learned this today: When Best Buy did this in 2009, the judge eventually made them give the plaintiffs the TVs as part of the damages when it was all done. That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard all week.)

      • TootSweet@lemmy.world
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        7 months ago

        I need to look into the Best Buy case you’re referencing.

        But I doubt think you’re right that violation of the terms of the GPL is such a rare thing. Aside from people who just don’t use technology much at all, I’d imagine most folks have multiple devices sold in ways that violated the GPL and with no plans for GPL compliance (and no knowledge that they needed a plan for GPL compliance.)

        At least that’s how most of the content on the Software Freedom Conservancy’s YouTube channel makes it sound.

        • mo_ztt ✅@lemmy.world
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          7 months ago

          On what is your doubt based? Like what devices do you have that you think are violators? Like I say I imagine that careless violations aren’t, like, un-heard of, but correcting them once things are explained is almost always the response. I mean, correcting the violation is usually free and easy. I’m not real familiar with the SFC, but I know they’re actively suing Visio right now, and I know the FSF is happy to bring cases to trial if it comes to that (they kind of like doing it it seems like).

          Link to the Best Buy case

          • TootSweet@lemmy.world
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            7 months ago

            This talk says “[Free Software] is generally everywhere and a lot of these smart devices that you buy off the shelf most likely is running some sort of free software but most people would never know that. Generally it’s not indicated anywhere that it’s running any type of free software. There’s no written offer for sources which is sadly the most popular… the written offer for source code seems to be the most popular way that they go about distributing the software but generally they don’t follow up with it or what they distribute is not really that.”

            This article mentions that “I’ve been on a mission in recent months to establish just how common and mundane GPL violations are. Since 21 August 2009, I’ve been finding one new GPL violating company per day (on average) and I am still on target to find one per day for 365 days straight.”

            I’ve got a robot vacuum cleaner that runs the Linux kernel and Busybox but came with no written offer for source code. (Per the article above, I’ll refrain from naming and shaming the company.) I might go look at the documents that came with my smart phone a little later and see if I can find any written offers for source.

            • mo_ztt ✅@lemmy.world
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              7 months ago

              Hm, interesting stuff. Yeah, maybe it’s more common than I was aware of – that’s still a little weird to me, because there are entities like FSF that are so happy to go to bat for people legally if they do want to make it a legal issue.

              Maybe it’s made a little more complex because a lot of authors don’t want to “punish” the company involved so much as they just want people to comply with the terms of the license, and a lot of companies aren’t violating the license out of maliciousness but just from lack of knowledge or it just being more difficult than it sounds to keep your ducks in a row with source availability.

              FWIW, I know Android phones generally have something buried in the settings where it explains what the licensing is for the code on the phone and with a theoretical offer for the source if you want it. That seems like what the Youtube talk is about; just creating the technical tools so that people can be in compliance without it being a pain in the butt that costs your engineers time and costs you money to do which companies are going to be tempted to avoid. But yeah, maybe people are getting sloppy about it in a way I wasn’t aware of; that’s sad to me if so.

    • Actual@programming.devOP
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      7 months ago

      If current licenses have the problem that big companies just ignore the terms set out in the license, I wouldn’t imagine making a new sort of license with different terms like “big companies have to pay to get the benefit of using Pots-Open Source software” is really going to work.

      It’s more that they avoid the spirit of the licensing, not the terms (except Red Hat of course).

      I suppose you can split this into two separate arguments:

      • Swap from licenses to more enforceable contracts

      • Have companies pay open source devs

    • asret@lemmy.zip
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      7 months ago

      The ability to modify the code is a central tenet of free software. The GPL takes care of making those modifications available to others. That effectively is the payment the original devs get.

        • asret@lemmy.zip
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          7 months ago

          Again, my freedom to use and modify the code as I see fit - including selling it - is the whole point.

          There’s no doubt the developers deserve support for their work, but there’s no requirement imposed by Free Software for this.

          All criminals get away with their crimes for a time. How many companies want to be sitting on a time bomb like that though?

    • jaeme
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      7 months ago

      If companies are required to pay, then the software is not libre. I understand your intent, but this isn’t a solution (even if it was, it would just mean that it would just be a tax for small companies, Meta and Alphabet aren’t worrying about a tax), building a stronger community is.

      Commercial software is not mutually exclusive with libre software, and things like copyleft exist to prevent companies from using libre software to create proprietary software.

    • Bondrewd@lemmy.world
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      7 months ago

      The overwhelming majority of the kernel development is heavily company financed. Are you saying that despite that, the very developer should get the stipend?

      Lets make one thing clear, exponentially increasing wealth/power the higher you are in society is a pretty heavy general rule of thumb to beat, whicever way you try moving the seats.

      Making such a system for devs will make a pretty wealthy class of people even more privileged with de facto rules that wont apply for the rest of society more in need of money and freedom, meaning actually owning the share of income from their work even over the pay the receive from the company.

      Making this a general rule for everyone will more like reshuffle thungs but the exponentiality will in some form persist. If you inevitably fuck it up the implementation phase, it wont get better any bit. You will have the same miserable pay except you own your work. So what.

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    7 months ago

    Doesn’t make sense at all.

    I keep seeing Redhat used an example, but they contribute a HUGE amount a source code and projects… Pipewire, systemd, rpm, DBUS and even the main XML addon for VSCode, etc.

    I don’t think people realise how much poop linux would be swimming in if they went bankrupt…

    Redhat are literally one of the big reasons why Linux is so seamless these days, and they’re solving a lot of the big problems. And from my understanding, they still contribute the code seperately anyway.

    That being said, I agree money needs to go towards developers. However, a lot of them end up hired at major companies. And I don’t think this is the way to approach it

  • grue@lemmy.world
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    7 months ago

    Well, well, well, if it isn’t the consequences of his own actions (inviting corporations to exploit Free Software by trying to re-brand it).

  • Zerush
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    7 months ago

    These are my thoughts regarding FOSS for a long time. The sense of facilitating the development and freedom of the project has been distorted years ago, when large corporations put their hands on this project, controlling it. Just look at the amount of “OpenSource” soft and services controlled by Google, M$, Amazon, FB … Yes, they are free to distribute and modifiable by devs, but mostly full of APIs from these corporations, not controllable by the user, subtracting their sovereignty and only modifiable with effort by people capable of understanding the scripts and redirects they contain. For a normal user it is increasingly irrelevant whether the project is FOSS or proprietary, while these products and the internet in general are in the hands of these companies.

    A simple question is enough, which one do you prefer to use? FOSS projects from large corporations, or Freeware from small independent startups, if you don’t have the knowledge to review the script anyway, almost impossible in millions of lines, with external references from large apps and services? It becomes decisions of mere trust, perhaps with the help of external services, such as WebKoll, Blacklight, Unfurl and similar, where in the end the license that the product has is irrelevant, with respect to security and privacy, often in question or not, in some like others. In the end only the intentions and ethics of the developer matter.

    Yes, of course, the concept of OSS, FOSS and FLOSS requires a profound review and update, so that it does not become a destroyer of what it aims to protect and promote, a free internet.

  • onlinepersona@programming.dev
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    7 months ago

    I agree. Either use a business source license like Elastic and others, or fight for the installation of a third party that audits proprietary code for license use and sues if the rules haven’t been followed. It’s why I like the creative commons. They are quite realistic. Most of their licenses say: if you use this commercially, you have to pay. If not, then it’s free.

    People who claim business source licenses are “not opensource” sound like such capitalist shills to me. It’s as if they’re shouting from the rooftops “it’s OK to fuck over opensource developers because principles matter more than reality”.

    CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

    • jaeme
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      7 months ago

      business source license

      This is nonsense, Business source is not a free license. It is useless to try to invent new and clever licenses if they don’t even follow the basic standards for Free software. The solution to helping hackers/devs in their work is not to suddenly reinvent proprietary licenses.

      You might be discouraged to know that CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 is a non-free/proprietary license since it restricts commercial use.

      There is no crude “fucking over.” Creating software is a difficult task, and creating software that respects the user’s freedom means giving up the temptation to use your abilities for harm and personal benefit.