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FLOSS and licensing Anonymous 07/31/2017 (Mon) 16:22:43 [Preview] No. 10510
Hello /tech/,

I'm not so familiar with software licenses so I started reading about the subject. At one point the question 'How does one profit from floss software?' popped in my head and these are some articles I came upon (quite outdated, but they still have a point). So GPL prevents companies from making proprietary software with your piece of software. BSD, on the other hand, does not (that's the case with Apple's kernel). Turns out the only way a company can profit from GPL license is by donations, offering support, teaching or dual licensing. Dual licensing seems like the most used option.


>But there is a net effect on software development. Who makes money off GPL code? We go back to Novell and Red Hat, who test and package this software. And we see a trend–GPL code helps software testers make money. It helps QA people. It helps the people who answer the support phones. It helps everybody except software developers. Oh, maybe Google will pay them a salary as a goodwill gesture. But it’s really, really hard to make money from developing FOSS. You can make money supporting it. You can make money testing it. But no money developing it.

So my question is - does free software actually benefit the developer?

Anonymous 07/31/2017 (Mon) 19:03:29 [Preview] No. 10511 del
>does free software actually benefit the developer?
It depends on what you mean by benefit. We all know organ harvesting orphan children is considered morally wrong, but relying on donated organs is problematic. If a person wants to make money, there are plenty of ethical options besides developing software. If a person wants to develop software ethically then they may not be able to compete financially against a proprietary system. If a person wishes to make money at the detriment of others then there are far better ways to do that, heroin dealer or exploiting peasants in the third world for example. If a person insists on developing proprietary software for profit, a good option seems to be the latest waves of encryption malware, the russians appear to be making a very large sum of money that way. Alternatively those games on the phone marketplaces with cartoon graphics to entice kids, then collect user data and sell in app purchases without limit.

Anonymous 07/31/2017 (Mon) 19:23:51 [Preview] No. 10513 del
You make it seem like it is impossible to make money from software.

>organ harvesting orphan children
>donated organs
It is not the same thing, because your life depends on it, software cannot be compared with real life.

>If a person wants to develop software ethically then they may not be able to compete financially against a proprietary system.
What if that person develops a better solution than the proprietary one? For example Android and Windows/Apple.

>heroin dealer
>exploiting peasants
>encryption malware
All unethical options. Can't a developer work for an ethical and free software and not die of hunger?

>games on the phone marketplaces
In that business model the user is the product, his data is being selled to ad networks, which is unethical, but it's offtopic.

I don't know, anon, I don't like proprietary software, but I feel like free software is not compatible with the current state of the world/human kind/economics.

Anonymous 07/31/2017 (Mon) 19:29:21 [Preview] No. 10514 del
It's not a benefit for the developer it's a benefit for everybody online.

Anonymous 07/31/2017 (Mon) 19:40:43 [Preview] No. 10515 del
<I don't know, anon, I don't like SLAVERY, but I feel like FREEDOM FOR SLAVES is not compatible with the current state of the world/human kind/economics.

Anonymous 07/31/2017 (Mon) 19:47:00 [Preview] No. 10516 del
good point, yet you haven't answered can one make a living by developing floss software in current year

Anonymous 08/01/2017 (Tue) 09:12:42 [Preview] No. 10522 del
Some people manage with donations.
Some people (a lot of people, actually) get employed to write free software, by companies that need to use the software, not for the software to be sold.
Stallman used to make money by extending his own software. He got permission to release the extensions as free software, and because nobody knew the code better than him he could work fast and charge a lot.

Anonymous 08/02/2017 (Wed) 02:06:36 [Preview] No. 10531 del
Echoing >>10522's second sentence.

About half of my career income has been from proprietary software development and the rest from coding at companies that were using open source software to save money on tailored internal systems that were never sold or redistributed.

Regarding companies that profit from GPLed code, it may be just as important to ask "who saves money" as it is to ask "who makes money."

Anonymous 08/02/2017 (Wed) 14:59:10 [Preview] No. 10536 del
Those are actualy fair points which answer my question. Thanks, anons

Anonymous 08/07/2017 (Mon) 03:39:38 [Preview] No. 10576 del
Stop spreading lies. You can sell GPL software, you just have to also provide source code. https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#DoesTheGPLAllowMoney

Anonymous 08/07/2017 (Mon) 10:04:44 [Preview] No. 10577 del
Much more importantly, you also have to grant the right to redistribute it all. The GPL makes it harder to make money. That shouldn't be controversial.
He never said it doesn't allow selling software.

Anonymous 08/07/2017 (Mon) 16:17:27 [Preview] No. 10578 del
>The GPL makes it harder to make money.

That seems a little like saying that you're going to be hungrier because mom added a side of broccoli to dinner. The existence of GPL software adds to the options that you have if you are developing software and want to make money. I don't think it makes anything harder.

Perhaps the core idea there is that the GPL doesn't make it as easy to make money as a license that allows you to take someone's code and resell it as your own does. I agree with that. For example, the zlib license is easier to make money with than the GPL license because you can use it in a commercial product and not release the source. That doesn't seem like a reason for me to complain about GPL software that benefits me and sometimes does what I want in other ways though.

What's the bottom line beef here anyway? If you are opposed to GPL licensed code and, like me, don't include in your development projects when you don't want to release under GPL, then don't use it. Problem solved. I use it when it makes sense and I want to give code that keeps on giving away and I don't use it when it doesn't.

Anonymous 08/16/2017 (Wed) 01:29:12 [Preview] No. 10731 del
If making FLOSS software meant helping actual competent and interesting programmers and computer engineers/scientists, then I would disregard money for the most part. I don't believe individuals/groups make FLOSS software for profits in the first place, if they wanted profits, it would be more efficient to write proprietary closed-source software for large companies or massive groups of computer users.

There are plenty of benefits of being a FLOSS software developer:
>You are more likely to be recognized by FLOSS communities which tend to be populated with highly intelligent and competent individuals.
>You are helping fight proprietary, non-free, and closed-source software by distributing and creating FLOSS software.
>You can very easily use your own software to your advantage and have an extra highly strong layer of security by using your own software that wrote.
>Your software has a higher chance of being used in OS distributions and software bundles (Look at Chrome OS). If you don't like your software being used against your will, maybe it shouldn't be free and open-source in the first place.
>You are seen as a trustworthy person and will be useful in the fight against surveillance and unwanted data-collection.

It also seems to be a misconception that once can only program either FLOSS or proprietary software and not both. You can make some of your software FLOSS and other software proprietary.

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