juridical Question on software and GPL

Alessandro Rubini rubini at ar.linux.it
Fri Mar 26 23:12:45 UTC 2004

> I think this is the the real "mess" of the GPL. It is the
> economical/commercial effect (!!!). Why should people go on and get
> the software from http://www.bemme.de/ when they can download the
> same piece of software from any other website (e.g. Volkers ;-)).

You assume that "any other website" carries the same software package.
But if I pay for a package that helps me in my daily work, I usually
don't put it on my web site.  It's silly to do so:
	- my competitors would have at no cost what I paid for.
	- I'd waste my bandwidth with no direct advantage for me, but
		direct disadvantages (see above, see below, plus requests
		for support I don't want to deal with)
	- I wouldn't support my software provider that sold me something
		that's useful for me. I'd better help them remain in
		business instead.

Free software developers are friendly to users, but users should learn
how to be friendly to free software developers.  There may be reasons
to publish what you paid for, but it's not the general rule.

In any case, our market is a different market than proprietary
software, so no company can base its financial plan on a per-copy fee
as copies will sonner or later leak around; selling free copies for
some time is not bad, though. FWIW I prefer to charge for improvements
which are delivered to the clients by making them public.

> (see: the broad discussed viral affect of the GPL ([1])).

Please don't call it viral. It's just persistent: it's _my_ work and
you can't change the license without my agreement. This is the norm,
not the exception. If you call this behaviour "viral", then everything
but bsd-like is viral.


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