GPL is basically the software equivalent of Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike.
Those who have a problem with it do so because they don’t want to share alike.
They want to take but not give.
So you decide how you feel about that.
@aral Entities providing services (Google & Co.) can use GPL projects without sharing alike. Why? Because the GPL applies only if you distribute software. If you run a service you just let the user interact with the software. You never distribute it.
What Google really hates is the AGPL.
@loveb @aral AGPL has different 'trigger conditions' than the GPL. While the GPL requires to make the source available under the GPL conditions when the user receives the binary, the AGPL requires the same when the user *interacts* with the software.
Why there are less AGPL projects than GPL projects? Not sure. But
1) The AGPL is younger than the GPL and hence less known in many communities.
2) There is very strong corporate lobbying against the AGPL. Many got scared of it for no good reason.
I think some people slowly start awakening and realize how important the APGL is for an ethical and non-abusive environment.
Especially for such server software the AGPL is the *only practical* way to give strong guarantees of openness to the users.
@loveb @aral @nextcloud @keyoxide The AGPL is also a way to minimize the risk of 'embrace, extend, extinguish' strategies. Some entity can fork an AGPL project like Mastodon, they can implement an incompatible network protocol but at least they have to share this protocol such that the rest of the world can - if needed - fix the incompatibility.
Also an AGPL project is much less in danger to be bought by some abusive entity. But of course only if the copyright owners cannot be corrupted.
That's what they say. But when you read it keep in mind that this text should stop people from using the AGPL.
For them it seems to be a law of nature that code of their services cannot be open.
@aral I've heard open source devs say "big companies won't touch (A)GPL with a ten foot pole", but as an argument *against* using it. They seem to believe it's a badge of honor for a FAANG to appropriate their work, which is just... wild.
@ttiurani @aral This gives me a reason to prefer the AGPL. I did not think it would make much difference in my telephony projects, which are GPL, when the server is also on-premise, but I suppose if someone did offer cloud telephony services without offering source to their changes, the distinction would become important.
@ttiurani @aral Indeed, I heard that argument too. Sad thing is that many people actually get 'scared' by it.
But the argument is provably wrong. Look at @nextcloud : There's many companies running Nextcloud as a service. And they play nice. That's what we need.
So a company which cannot touch AGPL projects is just not ready for ethical business models.
@aral I think that there is a more nuanced discussion there.
The way you frame it leaves no space for licenses such as MIT, which are about sharing as well, but with different constraints and guarantees.
Yes, I know that licenses such as BSD/MIT allows one to close their alterations on derivative work. If that is a concern, then GPL is your friend.
Still, there are cases when the authors are perfectly fine with that, and still want to share their work. In these cases BSD/MIT make sense.
@rakoo MIT license is copyleft, and it is also a political stance. In my opinion, there are software who benefit from GPL and other software benefit from MIT. It is not a binary "GPL or bust" for me.
Also, caring about digital commons does not mean just the GPL. There are many options, unless of course you think that the BSDs are not a part of digital commons...
It is a political action that says "this is what I did with it, do it as you wish, if you want to contribute back, it is ok"
@rakoo also, be aware that I'm not attacking GPL & Friends. I like that license too.
What I find odd is that I often see activists that seem to think that GPL is the only way forward, when it is just yet another tool in the toolbox, and people can care as much as them and yet use a different tool.
It is ok to ship BSD/MIT code. It is OK to put things in the public domain as well.
some people are OK with not forcing terms on derivative work. That is up to each author.
Regarding capitalistic encroaches in FOSS, I think that the license is the least of our worries today. Most large FOSS projects are being maintained by people employed by those same companies. They can dictate de agenda, just like it happened with the web.
@aral And if I'm not mistaken Google do not allow their employees to licence under AGPL.
@oldcoder What Lessig told me a long time ago when I asked him the same thing was because it doesn’t have a limitation of liability clause so you can get sued if your foss app causes damages. As far as I know, that’s the main reason.
The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!