[Israel.pm] Business support institutions (was: Re: What hurts you most in Perl? )

Shlomi Fish shlomif at iglu.org.il
Wed Nov 24 11:21:43 PST 2010


Hi Omer,

for once, one of your "weird" ideas sounds promising.

On Wednesday 24 November 2010 12:44:47 Omer Zak wrote:
> Looks like the Community (Perl, Python, whatever) needs the following
> institutions:
> 
> 1. Legal liability shield: a lawyer (or a partnership of lawyers) which
> agrees, in exchange for a fee, to guarantee that the company won't be
> exposed to legal liabilities as long as they comply with the lawyer's
> instructions concerning the practical issues of complying with GPLv2 (or
> in the case of Perl/CPAN - Artistic License).
> 

Well, there are some obstacles to solve with that. For example, the original 
Artistic licence is a bit controversial:

http://www.shlomifish.org/philosophy/computers/open-source/foss-licences-
wars/#uncertainty

(short URL - http://xrl.us/bh82cn ).

Most code on CPAN is also dual-licensed with the GPLv1-and-above, but that may 
not be good enough for many issues.

Moreover, there are some other licences used on CPAN. I tend to prefer using 
the MIT/X11 licence, which explicitly permits any party to convert derived 
versions of the code to any other licence (so-called "sub-licensing").

Finally, one should note that if you have a problem with GPLv1+/Artistic-1.0-
only code from CPAN modules, then you would have the same issue with perl-5 
itself because it too is licensed like that, and under many contributors and 
copyright owners. So if you are using Perl, you might as well use all 
similarly licensed CPAN code, at least legally.

> 2. Module guardians - each important CPAN module is "adopted" by one or
> more businesses, which advertise their availability to maintain it and
> fix bugs with guaranteed response time, in exchange for a fee payable by
> those companies, for which correct functioning of the module is
> critical.

That's also a good idea. I believe there are companies selling such support 
for open-source projects. Hasn't it been the business model of Cygnus before 
and after they got bought by Red Hat? Naturally, you can offer to some of the 
companies supporting Perl to provide similar support.

Whether all that will be enough to reduce the unwillingness of software shops 
to use CPAN modules will remain to be seen, but it could be a step in the 
right direction.

Regards,

	Shlomi Fish

> 
> --- Omer
> 
> On Wed, 2010-11-24 at 12:31 +0200, Ronen Angluster wrote:
> > well, there 2 main issues:
> > 1. legal
> > big corporates have difficulty handling the open-source type of
> > licenses.
> > and since any legal issue can end up costing millions in fees or court
> > issued
> > penalties. the company tend to frown upon using such tools.
> > 2. stability
> > some common CPAN modules are not very reliable.
> > for example: threads. although it is great and i love using it, there
> > is almost
> > no support, and we encountered bugs that due to schedule issues forced
> > us to
> > abandon threads all together and develop solutions using other
> > mechanism (fork for example)
> > 
> > 
> > as an open source developer, i use perl and CPAN modules as much as
> > possible. i love it.
> > it gives me great flexibility and saves me a lot of coding time.
> > however, from the corporate
> > point of view. this is horrible.

-- 
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Shlomi Fish       http://www.shlomifish.org/
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<go|dfish> She can smoke as long as she's smokin'.

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