juridical Question on software and GPL

Frank Heckenbach frank at g-n-u.de
Sat Mar 27 01:08:19 UTC 2004

Moritz Sinn wrote:

> Frank Heckenbach <frank at g-n-u.de> writes:
> > Moritz Sinn wrote:
> >
> >> yes, that's what the part of gpl that i quoted in my last mailing
> >> says. and that's why you cannot earn money with programming free software.
> >
> > As others have explained, paying for programming doesn't have to
> > mean royalties per copy. Quite a few who make money with programming
> > free software are probably in this list, so making such a broad
> > statement in public, telling us that it's impossible to do what we
> > just do, seems a bit silly ...
> ok, what you can do is: ask money before publishing it or ask money for
> publishing it. but you'll always earn more money with proprietary
> software.

Currently perhaps, but if customers learn to demand freedom and will
only pay for it, this might change. (It might already be so in
special areas, perhaps high paying, high security or similar
customers who demand full access, perhaps even full rights to the
code they order. But of course, they won't usually redistribute it
publicly, even if they could ...)

> i think we should be honest with that. free software is about the
> software and when it comes to business it has many disadvantages. that
> doesn't mean that we have to write closed software, it means that there
> is something wrong with business, because free software is better, which
> doesn't mean that closed software can also be very good out of the
> technical point of view.

This may be true. However, most software development is customer
specific software. In those cases, the license often does not matter
much regarding business. The customer might not appreciate the
freedoms, but they don't "harm" the developer either.

> >> afaik it is not allowed to publish gpl software under a second
> >> license. i don't know how mysql does that.
> >
> > There are many cases of GPL-dual-licensing. One of the most
> > prominent ones is Perl. As I saw your directory on CPAN, I thought
> > you might have known that ... ;-)
> ok, i thought perl would have its own license but i would be allowed to
> publish my perl modules under which ever license i want.

AFAIK, that's true, and Perl's license is dual GPL-Artistic. It
doesn't mean you have to use this for your modules, but since you
use Perl a lot I suppose, you might want to know about its


Frank Heckenbach, frank at g-n-u.de
GnuPG and PGP keys: http://fjf.gnu.de/plan (7977168E)

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