[Israel.pm] Are we open source advocates ?

Shlomi Fish shlomif at iglu.org.il
Sun Jan 4 03:36:46 PST 2004


On Sunday 04 January 2004 12:17, David Baird wrote:
> Written by: Gabor Szabo
>
> > Well we are Perl Mongers and not Open Source advocates.
> > Some of us might be both but that's only a coincidence.
>
> I am not an open source advocate. There is a place for open source, and
> we work with open source code when applicable. However, I don't
> encourage anyone to include open source code (especially under the GPL)
> in their projects. 

Just a correction: if you're project is for internal use only, you have a full 
right to incorporate GPLed (or any other free software license) in it and 
even to modify it for your own use. The restrictions of the GPL apply only if 
you wish distribute the modified or linked to source. For more information 
refer to the Free Software Definition by Richard M. Stallman:

http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html

> If someone wants to contribute to an open source 
> project, well hooray! I think it costs just as much (if not more) to
> work with an open source project rather then build a project on
> purchased, licensed, and supported code.
>

In some cases, yes. It vastly depends on the quality of the code and 
implementation. Usually, you are right that the cost of licensing software is 
negligible compared to the total cost of ownership (TCO). If a 
non-open-source software works for you, I will be the last person to tell you 
not to use it. But it was demonstrated that software distributed under an 
open source license has some clear advantages for both users and developers.

> Perl is an exception and exceptional. It is very easily integrated into
> open source and commercial projects without violating the license. I
> think that comparing Perl to an open source project like Linux is like
> apples and oranges.
>

I think Linux is easily integrated into open source and commercial projects 
without violating the license as well. Maybe you can't rip off the source 
code of the O(1) scheduler and use it as is inside the NT kernel. But you can 
still, use Linux as an SMB/Internet server for a large number of Windows' 
workstations. Or alternatively, use the O(1) scheduler algorithm in your own 
software or operating system (including NT).

As for what I meant by "open source advocates": here's an irresponsible 
explanation. Perl is an open-source language and has many open source APIs. 
(or such that are based on otherwise open-source frameworks). Furthermore, it 
is mostly used in UNIX environments, which have a long tradition of open 
source software. (not that I have anything against people using it on 
non-UNIX platforms).

Now, as such, we must understand that many of our users, actively use Linux or 
other UNIXes instead of Windows and programs like OpenOffice instead of 
PowerPoint. It's the decent thing to assume. Add to that to the fact that 
PowerPoint's format is not entirely documented, and you'll get an even graver 
problem. 

Regards,

	Shlomi Fish

-- 

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Shlomi Fish      shlomif at iglu.org.il
Homepage: http://t2.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/

I don't believe in fairies. Oops! A fairy died.
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