Subject Re: [IBDI] Re: GPL
Author Paul Schmidt
On 16 Feb 2002, at 10:15, dtrudgett wrote:

> Paul Schmidt wrote:
> > It depends on the software,
> Yes. And the purposes of the author. E.g., not everyone writes
> software in order to make money from it.
> > for software that is ubiquitous, then a
> > licence like the GPL can make a lot of sense, for other things, it
> > makes less sense, and for other things no sense. For example for a
> > database engine it makes sense,
> I don't know if it's as simple as that. Oracle, for instance, would
> have a bone or two to pick with it! :-)

Not entirely, let me put something radical here, realise that Oracle
could in fact GPL their engine, but keep closed some shared
libraries used by the client to access it, and charge the same fees
to use the clients.

> > for the libraries that client that
> > engine, it makes less sense, because companies that would
> > consider using that engine, will pick another one, because of
> > licencing issues, which is one of the reasons why I don't like
> > MySQL, it's too much bother to figure out the licencing.
> Precisely. Although I know I could, in theory, use MySQL for a
> commercial application without paying them anything, it is also plain
> that that is not their wish, so I would refrain from doing so.
> This is an advantage that Firebird has over MySQL. The licensing is
> not muddied.

Exactly, the ability to tell the client that the database licence is
free of per-station and per-user access fees, is a big advantage,
especially when compared to an Oracle, where they need to pay
$20,000 in access fees. In fact on some jobs, the $20,000 goes
into a server (powered by Linux or FreeBSD) which gets treated as
a database appliance. Especially if the Client runs a Netware or
M/F shop.

> > Not really, it's not the idea of theft, it's the idea of keeping
> > your options open why do you think Apple picked FreeBSD for basing
> > OS-X on, rather then Linux? Most likely because the BSL that
> FreeBSD is better? Also the fact that Apple is heavily into
> proprietary systems, as every turn of their convoluted history has
> clearly shown. It is virtually certain that Apple wants to turn BSD
> into their own proprietary system in order to lock in their users.
> This is just the way Apple has always done business. They wouldn't be
> able to do that with Linux because of the GPL. Hence, they did not
> choose Linux.

I never said that FreeBSD was better (never used it, so I have no
opinion on it), I said that for Apple the fact that it isn't tied to the
GPL, made it more suitable. Apple sank a ton of money into OS-
X and if they had to GPL it, then someone would "borrow" that
research, and probably sink Apple in the process. As is, Microsoft
will probably steal it, and use it for the next Windows generation.
Just as with the original Mac (Apple stole the idea from Xerox
PARC, Microsoft then stole it from them for the original Windows).

> That is the strength of the GPL. It doesn't allow a middle person to
> step in and replace a free system with an unfree one through sheer
> marketing muscle, for instance.
> > FreeBSD uses isn't as restrictive. Some "free" projects have fully
> > shot themselves in the foot, when a great piece of software was
> > abandoned because it would cost too much to fix the problems with
> > it, because the fixing could not be done commercially.
> Licensing software under the GPL is not something you do without
> thought. If you aren't committed to the future freedom of the
> software, then the GPL is not the choice. For the person who is
> committed to freedom of choice in software, a program cannot be fixed
> if it can't remain free in the process. This person would not view
> being unable to fix a program "commercially" as being "shot in the
> foot".

However a large number of "free" projects, died, because nobody
wanted to invest the $100,000 into a project where the only
guaranteed return was "thanks".

> > > As a matter of interest, why do you want people to use IB or FB?
> > > I'm not being clever, it's a serious, straight-forward question.
> >
> > Several reasons, one is that the more people use IB and FB, then the
> > more likely the people who work so hard putting it together, will
> > keep doing so.
> You bring up an Achilles Heel of Firebird: doubt about its continued
> future. I can see people choosing PostgresQL over Firebird for that
> very reason. I've thought about it myself.
> It's not as if any average programmer off the street could pick up the
> Firebird source and run with it if the current champions slip off the
> edge of the world. It's possible, playing devil's advocate, that
> Firebird could meet an untimely end if only a relatively few number of
> people lose interest in it for whatever reason.

Hopefully the new C++ tree fixes a lot of this, because in order to
guarantee it's future, we have to make either make the code easier
to understand, or guarantee that Claudio has a very happy, long,
healthy life....

> Against that, there is that fact that Firebird is a great product with
> great potential, with clear strengths that could see it being used in
> many cases where MySQL, PostgreSQL, MSSQL and Oracle are currently
> being used. This could well mean that Firebird has a chance to gain
> some serious momentum.

This is very true, and it's also why I am here...

Paul Schmidt
Tricat Technologies