PDA

View Full Version : Open Source Dream Falls Apart?



Mark Norton
2006-10-20, 06:45
Isn't this where the Open Source/GPL community feel-good factor falls apart?

Let's say I'm one of the developers working on some free software. It's open source, lots of people can/have contributed. But then the major user of this software gets sold for lots of money to a company, let's call them "EthicLog", whose reputation is mixed, at best, and pretty awful from my own experience.

Sure, the software is still open source and GPL but other people have benefitted at my expense. I've been sold down the river, I've been had.

Open Source/GPL may be a good idea, but not when some people profiteer on the back of other people's efforts.

That's the way it is, isn't it?

Skunk
2006-10-20, 07:01
I can't believe someone finally said it out loud!

You have to admit it's a great business model- not only getting your customers to contribute software, but perform the bulk of tech support as well!

Kudos Slim Devices :-)

Jacob Potter
2006-10-20, 07:08
Not for me...

I personally write/contribute code because (a) I want whatever feature
I'm adding, scratching my own itch, and (b) I like seeing others use
and enjoy my work. That's the "community feel-good factor." The money
from the devices is going to a different place now, yes, but I don't
see how that's "profiteering"; Slim Devices has always been a
for-profit company, and we all know that.

- Jacob

chiphart
2006-10-20, 07:10
Mark Norton wrote:
> Open Source/GPL may be a good idea, but not when some people profiteer
> on the back of other people's efforts.
>
> That's the way it is, isn't it?

I dunno, because the various game engines (quake, doom, et al)
have made some original developers very rich, secondary
developers mildly rich, and 1000s of others not-rich-at-all and
that business seems to thrive on the model you describe.

Correct me if I've misunderstood your point.
--
Chip Hart - Pediatric Solutions * Physician's Computer Company
chip @ pcc.com * 1 Main St. #7, Winooski, VT 05404
800-722-7708 * http://www.pcc.com/~chip
f.802-846-8178 * Pediatric Software Just Got Smarter.
Your Practice Just Got Healthier.

Mark Norton
2006-10-20, 07:25
Not for me...

I personally write/contribute code because (a) I want whatever feature
I'm adding, scratching my own itch, and (b) I like seeing others use
and enjoy my work. That's the "community feel-good factor." The money
from the devices is going to a different place now, yes, but I don't
see how that's "profiteering"; Slim Devices has always been a
for-profit company, and we all know that.

- Jacob

Yes Jacob, but that doesn't pay the bills and if I had, for example, come up with some of the algorithms built into SS, I'd be ever so slightly annoyed at others benefitting from them to the extent they have. Sure there's the satisfaction element but it would have been nice to feel that $20m was being spread more widely across the people who made it happen.

Mark Norton
2006-10-20, 07:28
Mark Norton wrote:
> Open Source/GPL may be a good idea, but not when some people profiteer
> on the back of other people's efforts.
>
> That's the way it is, isn't it?

I dunno, because the various game engines (quake, doom, et al)
have made some original developers very rich, secondary
developers mildly rich, and 1000s of others not-rich-at-all and
that business seems to thrive on the model you describe.

Correct me if I've misunderstood your point.
--
Chip Hart - Pediatric Solutions * Physician's Computer Company
chip @ pcc.com * 1 Main St. #7, Winooski, VT 05404
800-722-7708 * http://www.pcc.com/~chip
f.802-846-8178 * Pediatric Software Just Got Smarter.
Your Practice Just Got Healthier.

No Chip, you haven't but in the case of SS, those "not rich at all" folks are getting precisely nothing as I understand it. That's one distribution which is heavily skewed.

It will be interesting to see if Logitech can actually cope with the informal structure and slightly anarchic environment of Open Source/GPL.

slimpy
2006-10-20, 07:30
Not for me...

I personally write/contribute code because (a) I want whatever feature
I'm adding, scratching my own itch, and (b) I like seeing others use
and enjoy my work. That's the "community feel-good factor." The money
from the devices is going to a different place now, yes, but I don't
see how that's "profiteering"; Slim Devices has always been a
for-profit company, and we all know that.

- Jacob
I totally agree.
Those who contribute by either writing code or posting in this forum do it because they like the product.
I don't care if I don't get paid by Slimdevices or any other company.

-s.

Jeff Coffler
2006-10-20, 07:30
Mark Norton wrote:
> Isn't this where the Open Source/GPL community feel-good factor falls
> apart?
>
> Let's say I'm one of the developers working on some free software. It's
> open source, lots of people can/have contributed. But then the major
> user of this software gets sold for lots of money to a company, let's
> call them "EthicLog", whose reputation is mixed, at best, and pretty
> awful from my own experience.
>
> Sure, the software is still open source and GPL but other people have
> benefitted at my expense. I've been sold down the river, I've been
> had.

I don't look at it this way. And I've contributed software. Have you?

I used to use a Turtle Beach Audiotron. This device, although more
"closed", had a rather active user community. There was quite a bit of
software written to work with the Audiotron, to make the Audiotron
easier, whatever. The third party software forum (what the Audiotron
folks called it) was *quite* active.

Furthermore, while "closed" (not open source), the company was very
responsive to feature requests and regularly added features that the
user community asked for. This resulted, for example, in an API to the
device so "controllers" (intelligent remotes, computer software,
whatever) could be written. And the third party contributors
contributed plenty.

Why did I move from the Audiotron to the Squeezebox? One reason: The
Audiotron, as a product, was cancelled. I could continue to use it, but
if it broke, I was dead (I couldn't buy a new one), and all new software
for the product died with it.

The Open Source/GPL community writes stuff because they're writing
features THEY WANT (at least that's why I did it). Sure, the "feel
good" factor is nice, too, but ultimately it's a feature or a tool that
the author wants to have, or wants to see in the product. This is why
the software development model for Slim Devices is a "mixed bag": Sure,
they get tons of (very) useful stuff from the community, but then the
community also doesn't work on certain other things that are less
important to them (ease of use factors for new users, etc). Slim
Devices themselves needs to work on that.

If you contributed to the software, and you feel like you were sold down
the river, I feel bad about it. But that said, you still have the
feature or software that you wrote, and you still have the "feel good"
feeling for having contributed and helping out others. What's changed
just because those with a REAL financial stake in the company merged
with a larger company to give them more stability, more distribution
channels, and more resources?

-- Jeff

Ben Sandee
2006-10-20, 07:32
On 10/20/06, Mark Norton <
Mark.Norton.2fzbhb1161352201 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> wrote:
>
>
> Sure, the software is still open source and GPL but other people have
> benefitted at my expense. I've been sold down the river, I've been
> had.


This is total and utter crap. You can still take SlimServer and do whatever
you want with it. You can maintain it yourself if you want and remove the
Logitech logos if that's your goal. That's what open source is about --
freedom to do what you want with the source (and in this case the hardware
powered by the source). Not freedom to prevent others from doing what THEY
want.

radish
2006-10-20, 07:36
Yes Jacob, but that doesn't pay the bills and if I had, for example, come up with some of the algorithms built into SS, I'd be ever so slightly annoyed at others benefitting from them to the extent they have.

Then you shouldn't have contributed the code. No-one forced anyone to help out. Those who contributed code to slimserver never expected or asked for cash in exchange, we have to assume they had alternate means of paying the bills and knew what they were doing.

An important thing to remember is that Logitech may have bought SlimDevices but they did not (and, practically speaking, cannot) buy Slimserver. The individual developers still own copyright on everything they wrote, that's implicit and automatic, the GPL licensing simply allows others (e.g. SlimDevices) to distribute and modify that code. Look at a company like RedHat - they make money by selling Linux & related services/apps, but they only own copyright on a small fraction of the Linux codebase. Logitech are in the same boat - they now own a significant chunk of Slimserver (that which was written by SD employees), but not all of it, and if they tried to exert control or ownership over the app as a whole they could easily find themselves in hot water. We have to assume they know and understand this, and are either planning to (a) continue to support the existing development model or (b) build a replacement from scratch.

slimpy
2006-10-20, 07:39
Sure there's the satisfaction element but it would have been nice to feel that $20m was being spread more widely across the people who made it happen.
On a "per line of code" or "number of forum posts" basis?
You must be kidding.
If you participate in an open source project you should be aware of the fact that you will not be rewarded with anything but fame and honour. If you're not willing to accept that you better get a paid job or find another hobby.
And doesn't slimdevices reward substantial contributions with free squeezeboxen?

-s.

jonheal
2006-10-20, 07:40
I've never for the life of me been able to see how the act creating open source software could be a "business" in any way shape or form, except one destined to go out of business.

The act of contributing to open source software is a Charitable Act, pure and simple.

Now, the question you have to ask yourself is: Do people that drive Porshces need charity? ;-)

Kyle
2006-10-20, 07:44
If you're not getting paid, does it matter who's not paying you?

Mark Lanctot
2006-10-20, 07:44
Isn't that how open-source works though? You contribute if you have the skills, and you contribute for the following reasons:

1. Selfish, it solves a problem you have or adds a feature you want.

2. You like the ego boost you get from others who benefit from your work.

3. You like solving problems.

4. You want to expand your coding skills.

I don't think the intention ever was to profit from it, and Slim Devices and Logitech have only incidentally profited from it in so far as it powers the device. SlimServer can be downloaded for free, so they don't make money off it per se.

If your intention was to profit from it, work for a software company instead of contributing code for free.

Slim was a very appreciative company and were known for supporting heavy contributors in the form of free/discounted players. This was a kind gesture of them but they were under no obligation to do so. They did so because they were ethical and it was the right thing to do. I hope that attitude continues under Logitech.

Yes, open-source is, to a great extent, what got Slim to where they are today. But every customer profited from it - you have to say that the Transporter and Squeezebox 3 are vastly more capable than the SliMP3, due in large part to SlimServer - as much as there's bickering about 6.5.

Mark Lanctot
2006-10-20, 07:49
Now, the question you have to ask yourself is: Do people that drive Porshces need charity? ;-)

Well, Porches aside, ;-), we did know who the company personnel were and they were extremely active in the forum. It shows a genuine interest and concern for their customers. He didn't just "take the money and run" if you will.

Sean made the first SliMP3s in his garage. I'm sure he wasn't driving a Porche back then. He had the idea, he was the first to put an IPv4 stack on a microcontroller IIRC, so does he not deserve to get rewarded for his efforts? In a capitalistic society, most definitely yes!

Under communism, he'd be driving a tractor. ("She'll do 30 acres on a gallon of kerosene.")

I'd prefer he gets the Porche than some politician who gets it from kickbacks, because Sean has actually done something useful.

Mark Norton
2006-10-20, 07:58
I did not contribute to SlimServer but own 50% of a software company and I don't do anything for free. Nothing, and I charge on the basis of value delivered, not time taken or costs incurred.

I was interested in understanding how the people who did contribute feel about the acquisition of SD by Logitech.

Is Open Source really a philanthropic gesture? Does it matter that you might struggle to pay the bills/fix up the car/put your kid through college as long as somebody really likes your sort algortihm? Isn't there a tinge of envy out there, a feeling that it should have been you?

bklaas
2006-10-20, 08:03
I believe Mark posted in good spirit, and wasn't trying to do this, but this thread is a borderline troll for flame responses from Open Source proponents. You're really missing the point and spirit of Open Source development, and I hope some of the responses have done something to clear that up.

Some key points:
Contributing to an Open Source project is not mandatory.

People that contribute to Open Source projects usually are motivated by things other than money.

Code is GPLed, which means it is not owned by Slimdevices, and can be distributed at will.

Significant contributors to Slimdevices code receive things like free squeezeboxen in the mail. I've got an SB3 in my living room to prove it.

Also, last time I checked, Slimserver is FREE, and it can be used without paying a dime for a squeezebox (or, metaphorically, a dollar for a transporter).

Also consider that Slimdevices has been contributing portions of their profits on Squeezeboxen to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The http://www.eff.org fer cripes sakes! This is not a company that you can fault for greed. It's just unfounded criticism.

#!/ben

AndrueC
2006-10-20, 08:06
Is Open Source really a philanthropic gesture? Does it matter that you might struggle to pay the bills/fix up the car/put your kid through college as long as somebody really likes your sort algortihm? Isn't there a tinge of envy out there, a feeling that it should have been you?I have always felt that it had to be. I've been a developer for over twenty years but I have never understood how distributing my work for free would keep my mortgage lender happy. I just don't see it.

I can understand why you'd do it (and I've done it on a small scale in newsgroups) but surely it has to be philanthropic. That being the case - why are so many people so keen on making everything open source?

CardinalFang
2006-10-20, 08:12
That being the case - why are so many people so keen on making everything open source?

I think at least part of the motivation must be that being open source ensures the longevity of the software. SlimServer will undoubtedly survive, whether contributions will continue in the same volume is up for debate, but it'll still be there.

Whether there are Transporters and Squeezeboxes that hook up to it in the future is another question, that's a strategic corporate decision that someone has to take based on financial performance of the product range.

Mark Lanctot
2006-10-20, 08:14
Code is GPLed, which means it is not owned by Slimdevices, and can be distributed at will.

Yes - Logitech doesn't own SlimServer any more than Slim Devices ever did. Which is why Roku can use it, and there isn't anything anyone can do about it. That's the downside, your competitor can use what you came up with. Why are the code contributors not ranting at Roku? Roku never paid any of the code contributors.

The cat's out of the bag, the source code is out there in the wild. Even if the downloads page is taken down, anyone that has a copy can make it public, legally.

slimpy
2006-10-20, 08:17
Is Open Source really a philanthropic gesture? Does it matter that you might struggle to pay the bills/fix up the car/put your kid through college as long as somebody really likes your sort algortihm? Isn't there a tinge of envy out there, a feeling that it should have been you?
This is pathetic. Ever heard of Maslow's hierarchy of needs?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needs
Do you really think that someone will contribute to open source software while struggling in life?
This is not about your safety needs, this is about status and self-actualization.

-s.

bklaas
2006-10-20, 08:24
That being the case - why are so many people so keen on making everything open source?

here's the manifesto that answers that question in great detail:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cathedral_and_the_Bazaar

embracing the idea that code shouldn't cost money is difficult for many to grasp, I know. My philosophy usually boils down to: pay for physical products, pay for services rendered, do not pay for software.

philanthropy is absolutely part of it, but that's not all of it. It's embracing the concept that "The Bazaar" can organically make better technology than the "The Cathedral".

Firefox (open-source) vs. IE (proprietary)
Wikipedia (open-source) vs. Encylopedia Brittanica/Encarta/Whatever (proprietary)

#!/ben

slimpy
2006-10-20, 08:27
I think at least part of the motivation must be that being open source ensures the longevity of the software. SlimServer will undoubtedly survive, whether contributions will continue in the same volume is up for debate, but it'll still be there.

Whether there are Transporters and Squeezeboxes that hook up to it in the future is another question, that's a strategic corporate decision that someone has to take based on financial performance of the product range.
Exactly. I think financial performance is the key word here. Being part of a large company can be an advantage. There are more funds available to get through a dry period. The downside is that a product line will get dropped more easily. In the end a product has to perform financially or it will be gone sooner or later regardless of the size of the company behind it.

-s.

kdf
2006-10-20, 08:30
On 20-Oct-06, at 6:45 AM, Mark Norton wrote:

>
> Isn't this where the Open Source/GPL community feel-good factor falls
> apart?
>
not for me. I got toys for my efforts, and now I look forward to
different toys.
Same group of people; nothing changed there. Another company made use
of my work as well, never
said thanks, never any credit, asking and even went so far as to be
rude when I suggested adding a few bug fixes
that they'd not updated. It's all about the people involved.
-kdf

mherger
2006-10-20, 08:45
It's incredible how many people can't understand I'm doing anything for
free. Everybody just feels like telling me "why don't you make money of
it" all the time. It's not (only) Mark's remarks. It's my friends or my
family as well.

I'm glad I have a job (again) to pay my bills. And a little spare time to
contribute to a great project. It's fun.

--

Michael

-----------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.herger.net/SlimCD - your SlimServer on a CD
http://www.herger.net/slim - AlbumReview, Biography, MusicInfoSCR

radish
2006-10-20, 08:47
I did not contribute to SlimServer but own 50% of a software company and I don't do anything for free. Nothing, and I charge on the basis of value delivered, not time taken or costs incurred.


You seem to think that all OS contributors are starving, unemployed programmers saving up pennies for the next pizza. We're not. I get paid very well for my day job (thankyou very much) as a software architect. In my (limited) spare time I've contributed code to a number of projects. Why? Because I want to. It's fun, it's a change from what I do at work, it exposes me to new technologies and new ways of solving problems, and it lets me interact with new people and communities. Most important of all by co-operating with others we get the software we actually want - which, as a technically literate consumer, usually just isn't available in the regular market. If kdf & co hadn't written Slimserver it simply wouldn't exist, and I (for one) would be a lot worse off trying to use TVersity or Twonky for our music serving. So my thanks go out to all of them.

jonheal
2006-10-20, 08:51
Well, Porches aside, ;-), we did know who the company personnel were and they were extremely active in the forum. It shows a genuine interest and concern for their customers. He didn't just "take the money and run" if you will.

Sean made the first SliMP3s in his garage. I'm sure he wasn't driving a Porche back then. He had the idea, he was the first to put an IPv4 stack on a microcontroller IIRC, so does he not deserve to get rewarded for his efforts? In a capitalistic society, most definitely yes!

Under communism, he'd be driving a tractor. ("She'll do 30 acres on a gallon of kerosene.")

I'd prefer he gets the Porche than some politician who gets it from kickbacks, because Sean has actually done something useful.

Well, I was being a little silly, hence the smiley face. But anyway, in response to all the gut-wrenching over this issue: Who said life was fair!?! :-)

Mark Lanctot
2006-10-20, 09:13
Well, I was being a little silly, hence the smiley face. But anyway, in response to all the gut-wrenching over this issue: Who said life was fair!?! :-)

Yes, I did realize that, and I didn't mean to pick on it.

But there are some things that deserve to be rewarded with wealth, and I believe Sean and Co. are definitely deserving.

On the contrast, there are a lot of things that do NOT deserve to be rewarded with wealth, but are anyway. Far more, I'd say, than the deserving things. As you state, life isn't fair.

Personally I'd love a Porsche. Who wouldn't? Have I done something as Earth-shattering as Sean has? (Well, not Earth-shattering, but a useful contribution!) No. Do I want wealth? Yes. Do I deserve it? Yes, if only for being a nice guy. :-) But that doesn't quite cut it.

kdf
2006-10-20, 09:28
No. Do I want wealth? Yes. Do I deserve it? Yes, if only for being a nice guy. :-) But that doesn't quite cut it.

Hah! yer in Canada. We're only entitled to 54% wealth at best! :)
-k

Robin Bowes
2006-10-20, 09:33
Mark Norton wrote:
> Isn't this where the Open Source/GPL community feel-good factor falls
> apart?
>
> Let's say I'm one of the developers working on some free software. It's
> open source, lots of people can/have contributed. But then the major
> user of this software gets sold for lots of money to a company, let's
> call them "EthicLog", whose reputation is mixed, at best, and pretty
> awful from my own experience.
>
> Sure, the software is still open source and GPL but other people have
> benefitted at my expense. I've been sold down the river, I've been
> had.
>
> Open Source/GPL may be a good idea, but not when some people profiteer
> on the back of other people's efforts.
>
> That's the way it is, isn't it?

<sigh>

Slim Devices haven't sold the slimserver; they've sold the business that
makes Squeezeboxes and Transporters.

Would you feel the same way if Logitech bought out Roku?

R.

mherger
2006-10-20, 09:37
> Personally I'd love a Porsche. Who wouldn't?

Me.

--

Michael

-----------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.herger.net/SlimCD - your SlimServer on a CD
http://www.herger.net/slim - AlbumReview, Biography, MusicInfoSCR

Skunk
2006-10-20, 09:44
Why would logitech buy the slimserver? They could just take it.

On a similar note, why would they buy two devices they could certainly engineer for less than 20 million?

The biggest part of what they bought was , IMHO , a network of support for such devices.

CardinalFang
2006-10-20, 09:54
Why would logitech buy the slimserver? They could just take it.

On a similar note, why would they buy two devices they could certainly engineer for less than 20 million?

The biggest part of what they bought was , IMHO , a network of support for such devices.

What they bought was forward looking revenues, i.e. a multiple of what Slim expected to earn next year, probably with a 4-5 multiplier in there. There is an earn-out on the deal too, so it's in everyone's interest to make that number, one way or another. What's in the past means nothing to LogiTech from a financial point of view, they can only benefit from future sales.

Mark Lanctot
2006-10-20, 10:19
Hah! yer in Canada. We're only entitled to 54% wealth at best! :)
-k

HA! True!

My Transporter was just delivered. The government got a nice big chunk of it too. I love paying TWO taxes on something that wasn't even made in this country.

chiphart
2006-10-20, 10:30
Mark Norton wrote:
> No Chip, you haven't but in the case of SS, those "not rich at all"
> folks are getting precisely nothing as I understand it. That's one
> distribution which is heavily skewed.

Actually, you got PLENTY and it was spelled out in black and
white. You, and everyone else, has had unfettered access to the
code that drives SB *and that will never go away*. That's what
we all got. Spend 2 minutes (or 2 months, like I did) with a
closed box, like the MP101 and see what it's like.

What it means is that if LT really screws up, coordinated
individuals can *take it elsewhere*. Cripes, there are PLENTY
of OS projects (like Mambo, for instance) where some of the
original developers don't like the direction of the New Bosses
and set up camp in a different place. I presume that LT would
prefer to avoid this.

> It will be interesting to see if Logitech can actually cope with the
> informal structure and slightly anarchic environment of Open
> Source/GPL.

I agree. But dumber companies have done it. I can't imagine
that LT'd throw $20m (and far, far more in time/resources in
the future) just cut the golden egg out of the goose.

Even withOUT Sean, Dan, et al, there are plenty of coders among
us (us...har, like I'm one) to keep our SBs hopping through
circus rings until they physically break.

I'm not worried, frankly.

--
Chip Hart - Pediatric Solutions * Physician's Computer Company
chip @ pcc.com * 1 Main St. #7, Winooski, VT 05404
800-722-7708 * http://www.pcc.com/~chip
f.802-846-8178 * Pediatric Software Just Got Smarter.
Your Practice Just Got Healthier.

chiphart
2006-10-20, 10:32
> I'm glad I have a job (again) to pay my bills. And a little spare time to
> contribute to a great project. It's fun.

I'm glad you have that time, too, because I use a handful of
your plugins all the time.

So, thanks.

--
Chip Hart - Pediatric Solutions * Physician's Computer Company
chip @ pcc.com * 1 Main St. #7, Winooski, VT 05404
800-722-7708 * http://www.pcc.com/~chip
f.802-846-8178 * Pediatric Software Just Got Smarter.
Your Practice Just Got Healthier.

chiphart
2006-10-20, 10:37
jonheal wrote:
> I've never for the life of me been able to see how the act creating open
> source software could be a "business" in any way shape or form, except
> one destined to go out of business.

All the evidence otherwise hasn't convinced you, eh? I guess
I should call RedHat and tell them to fold up quickly!
[http://www.redhat.com/promo/vendor/]

My company uses OSS every day and we contribute well and often.

OSS isn't just about the software. It's also about products
(like the little box we (nearly) all own) and service.


--
Chip Hart - Pediatric Solutions * Physician's Computer Company
chip @ pcc.com * 1 Main St. #7, Winooski, VT 05404
800-722-7708 * http://www.pcc.com/~chip
f.802-846-8178 * Pediatric Software Just Got Smarter.
Your Practice Just Got Healthier.

chiphart
2006-10-20, 10:59
Mark Lanctot wrote:
> My Transporter was just delivered.

...and you're responding to email?

--
Chip Hart - Pediatric Solutions * Physician's Computer Company
chip @ pcc.com * 1 Main St. #7, Winooski, VT 05404
800-722-7708 * http://www.pcc.com/~chip
f.802-846-8178 * Pediatric Software Just Got Smarter.
Your Practice Just Got Healthier.

Mark Lanctot
2006-10-20, 11:10
Mark Lanctot wrote:
> My Transporter was just delivered.

...and you're responding to email?

Err <blush>

I will have to do some significant re-arranging of my equipment to accommodate it.

Plus, well, that aircraft aluminum really takes on the cold! It's chilly today, 6 C, and there's no way I'm putting power on something that cold until it warms up.

But I have all weekend to play with it, and "forever" after that.

funkstar
2006-10-20, 11:18
But I have all weekend to play with it, and "forever" after that.
Only until you die.

(god i'm in a cheery mood tonight...)

Mark Lanctot
2006-10-20, 11:24
Only until you die.

(god i'm in a cheery mood tonight...)

That's why I put "forever" in quotes. ;-)

Also, for me, half the fun is setting it up. It's like Christmas morning. I want to savour it and go at it slowly. I'm also taking photos every step of the way.

Mark Norton
2006-10-20, 11:28
Enjoy your new toy...

Marshall Clow
2006-10-20, 11:37
At 11:24 AM -0700 10/20/06, Mark Lanctot wrote:
>funkstar;148313 Wrote:
>> Only until you die.
>>
>> (god i'm in a cheery mood tonight...)
>
>That's why I put "forever" in quotes. ;-)
>
>Also, for me, half the fun is setting it up. It's like Christmas
>morning. I want to savour it and go at it slowly. I'm also taking
>photos every step of the way.

<http://www.unboxing.com>
--
-- Marshall

Marshall Clow Idio Software <mailto:marshall (AT) idio (DOT) com>

It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.
It is by the beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed,
the hands acquire shaking, the shaking becomes a warning.
It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.

JSonnabend
2006-10-20, 11:51
Open Source/GPL may be a good idea, but not when some people profiteer on the back of other people's efforts.
I think the biggest point has yet to be made.

What's to stop you from doing the same? It's open source. Someone wants to buy it off you, then sell it to them. They could just as easily get it for free themselves, so if they're willing to pay you, they're either stupid or perceive some added value you provide.

Oh, and you could design your own hardware that uses SlimServer and sell that, too.

Who'd be riding whose back then?

- Jeff

wotuzu17
2006-10-20, 12:25
Logitech- keep it open source or I'll be angry !

Mark Norton
2006-10-20, 12:26
Well, actually, I believe in rewarding people who work for me based on their contribution and as far back as 1981 I was co-founder of a company which placed its entire share capital into a trust so that all employees, me included, could be rewarded based on their contribution without interference from shareholders. That company is now one of the leading suppliers of software in its field and has an enviably high employee retention rate.

The whole point of this thread is to point out to people working with Open Source that you are being taken for a ride if you do not receive commercial recompense for your efforts. If you do not own your home, why not? If you still have a mortgage, why? If you need to borrow money for anything, why?

It's more than worked for me. Since some seem to regard car ownership as some sort of yardstick, Sean has a Porsche. So do I. And a Ferrari. And a Mercedes SL.

mzpro5
2006-10-20, 12:27
People that are acting like they were "sold out" and won't reap any benefits from the SD/Logitech deal have got to be kidding.

Did you put up any real capital to get the company off the ground? Did you pay any of Slim Devices bills when there was a cash flow problem (every company runs into those times)? Did you risk anything other than time you scheduled when you wanted?

Until you really put up everything including financial stability and livelihood and accept the inherant risk in starting a new company you just have to be kidding or doing drugs to even remotely think you would be "due" something.

To all the guys at SD, I may be concerned about the future of SD, SB and everything else but applaud the fact you were able to get a big gain off your investments. Kudos to free enterprise.

mherger
2006-10-20, 12:44
> The whole point of this thread is to point out to people working with
> Open Source that you are being taken for a ride if you do not receive
> commercial recompense for your efforts.

So what? I'm having fun in my free time. Something money can hardly buy.

> It's more than worked for me. Since some seem to regard car ownership
> as some sort of yardstick, Sean has a Porsche. So do I. And a Ferrari.
> And a Mercedes SL.

Ok, you got me: I have no car. But a bicycle. And a tandem. Poor open
source contributor :-)

--

Michael

-----------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.herger.net/SlimCD - your SlimServer on a CD
http://www.herger.net/slim - AlbumReview, Biography, MusicInfoSCR

Michaelwagner
2006-10-20, 12:47
Firefox (open-source) vs. IE (proprietary)
Wikipedia (open-source) vs. Encylopedia Brittanica/Encarta/Whatever (proprietary)

I know that's the canonical comparison, but it has a bit of a problem (IMHO).

Firefox, I believe, still goes through testing cycles. And the number of people who can actually update the code is somewhat limited, and the people are vetted. Same was true for Slimserver.

Wikipedia, OTOH, seems to be freely postable by (almost) anyone, with negligable screening. Which is why they've had some problems with data defacement - people who muck with the biographies of others, etc.

This isn't an open source argument, exactly, but just pointing out a flaw at the edges of open-ness.

Michaelwagner
2006-10-20, 12:54
I love paying TWO taxes on something that wasn't even made in this country.

Why 2? There should have been no US tax.

Mark Lanctot
2006-10-20, 12:58
Why 2? There should have been no US tax.

PST + GST.

Michaelwagner
2006-10-20, 13:04
ah, sorry, misunderstood. Yes, PST on goods imported from the US.

Jacob Potter
2006-10-20, 13:06
On 10/20/06, Mark Norton
<Mark.Norton.2fzr7z1161372602 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> wrote:
> The whole point of this thread is to point out to people working with
> Open Source that you are being taken for a ride if you do not receive
> commercial recompense for your efforts.

No, the point of this thread is for you to point out that you would
feel you had been taken for a ride if you did not recieve money for
your programming. The rest of us, some who have contributed code and
some who have not, are demonstrating that that's not the case for most
people.

- Jacob

Michaelwagner
2006-10-20, 13:07
I have no car. But a bicycle.

Ah, yes, but is it a Porche bicycle?

bklaas
2006-10-20, 13:17
The whole point of this thread is to point out to people working with Open Source that you are being taken for a ride if you do not receive commercial recompense for your efforts.

Poppycock. Complete and utter poppycock. You're implying OS developers don't get anything out of their efforts if there isn't money attached to it. That's a bogus claim. But if you don't get it, you don't get it.


Sean has a Porsche. So do I. And a Ferrari. And a Mercedes SL.

Well, that speaks volumes.

radish
2006-10-20, 13:24
The whole point of this thread is to point out to people working with Open Source that you are being taken for a ride if you do not receive commercial recompense for your efforts.

Crap. Utter crap. I am being taken for a ride if I WANT recompense and don't get it. If I DON'T WANT IT then what's the problem?



Since some seem to regard car ownership as some sort of yardstick, Sean has a Porsche. So do I. And a Ferrari. And a Mercedes SL.

I regard comments like that as a yardstick of something that's for sure. And it's not "success" ;)

There's really no point continuing this debate with you if you can't understand that anyone could be motivated by something other than money. I'm happy that you're happy, really I am. Now be so kind as to accept that OS developers also have the right to do as they please with their time and talents without being denegrated for it, particularly by those who (presumably) use and benefit from the very product they worked so hard to create.

I call troll.

Michaelwagner
2006-10-20, 13:25
The whole point of this thread is to point out to people working with Open Source that you are being taken for a ride if you do not receive commercial recompense for your efforts.
That was your point in starting the thread.

You're welcome to make your point.

And you're welcome to your feelings.

Not everyone shares the viewpoint, or the feelings.

I share the sentiment of others. This is feeling more and more like a troll. I've just unsubscribed.

mherger
2006-10-20, 13:30
> Ah, yes, but is it a Porche bicycle?

I'm afraid, no. It's a simpel.ch - rather the Skoda aforementioned :-)

--

Michael

-----------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.herger.net/SlimCD - your SlimServer on a CD
http://www.herger.net/slim - AlbumReview, Biography, MusicInfoSCR

Mitch Harding
2006-10-20, 13:30
You are not being taken for a ride. You contribute with your eyes open as
to the situation. You know you are not going to be compensated monetarily,
and choose to do so anyway. Thus, you presumably do it for other reasons.
Numerous people have explained their motivations.

Everything I do in life is not about money. Should I only read books if
someone pays me to do it? No -- by reading the book, I get enjoyment and
better myself. The same things I can achieve by contributing to an open
source project. And in both cases, someone else benefits monetarily,
assuming I paid for the book.

Anyone who feels the way you do is free to charge for all of their software.

I don't understand why contributors would complain about this.. But then,
it seems like the contributors aren't the ones complaining...

On 10/20/06, Mark Norton <
Mark.Norton.2fzr7z1161372602 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> wrote:
>
>
> The whole point of this thread is to point out to people working with
> Open Source that you are being taken for a ride if you do not receive
> commercial recompense for your efforts. If you do not own your home,
> why not? If you still have a mortgage, why? If you need to borrow money
> for anything, why?
>
>

bill fumerola
2006-10-20, 14:12
On Fri, Oct 20, 2006 at 07:28:03AM -0700, Mark Norton wrote:
> It will be interesting to see if Logitech can actually cope with the
> informal structure and slightly anarchic environment of Open
> Source/GPL.

ever heard of a little company called Apple Computer?


-- bill

Mark Norton
2006-10-20, 14:19
I derive huge satisfaction from the programming work I do, in a market leading product, but I do it on a strictly commercial basis.

OS may be fine when all is going well but there's a lack of accountability when the quality nose-dives. Anybody think 6.5 is worth installing? Whoever thinks they have random track play sorted is dreaming. MySQL? Oh, please...!

So, for all the sanctimonious whining, you're not actually sorting out the problems. OS working? I don't think so.

Mitch Harding
2006-10-20, 14:25
Now you're no longer on your original subject. In your original post you
said that the Logitech acquisition somehow betrayed the feel-good motivation
for contributing to OS, which is not a sentiment shared by very many,
apparently.

The effectiveness of OS is a separate discussion.

On 10/20/06, Mark Norton <
Mark.Norton.2fzwbb1161379201 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> wrote:
>
>
> I derive huge satisfaction from the programming work I do, in a market
> leading product, but I do it on a strictly commercial basis.
>
> OS may be fine when all is going well but there's a lack of
> accountability when the quality nose-dives. Anybody think 6.5 is worth
> installing? Whoever thinks they have random track play sorted is
> dreaming. MySQL? Oh, please...!
>
> So, for all the sanctimonious whining, you're not actually sorting out
> the problems. OS working? I don't think so.
>
>
> --
> Mark Norton
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Mark Norton's Profile:
> http://forums.slimdevices.com/member.php?userid=4722
> View this thread: http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=28873
>
>

Jacob Potter
2006-10-20, 14:28
On 10/20/06, Mark Norton
<Mark.Norton.2fzwbb1161379201 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> wrote:
> MySQL? Oh, please...!

The MySQL decision and implementation were both done by Slim Devices
employees, not outside contributors, and would likely have been the
same whether SlimServer was open-source or not.

I think this is a troll thread.

- Jacob

bklaas
2006-10-20, 14:28
Anybody think 6.5 is worth installing?

Whoever thinks they have random track play sorted is dreaming.

MySQL? Oh, please...!

OS working? I don't think so.

TROLL.

<runs away>

mherger
2006-10-20, 14:31
> OS working? I don't think so.

If it wasn't, neither MS nor Apple would be where they are today: Windows
2003 wouldn't be as stable as it is thanks to the increased pressure from
those OS systems, and Apple OS X would not come with such product as
Apache, Samba, Konqueror (just to name a few) integrated.

--

Michael

-----------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.herger.net/SlimCD - your SlimServer on a CD
http://www.herger.net/slim - AlbumReview, Biography, MusicInfoSCR

CatBus
2006-10-20, 16:53
In your original post you
said that the Logitech acquisition somehow betrayed the feel-good motivation
for contributing to OS, which is not a sentiment shared by very many,
apparently.

In fact this whole thread could be said to be founded on a misconception. You are allowed to sell GPL software for money. You are allowed to make a profit from your sales of GPL software. You are allowed to resell software that someone else has licensed to you under the GPL for money. You are not obligated to make your source code available for free to the general public. Etc, etc. Just because people frequently choose to behave a certain way with GPL software does not mean that they are legally obligated to do so.

The motivations for licensing software under the GPL can be varied, but it's pretty wild speculation to claim that those motivations have been betrayed when the licensing terms have not been violated--unless you're talking about your own personal motivations and your own personal software. And if you feel violated by acts that don't violate the license, then you should have chosen a better license.

Pale Blue Ego
2006-10-20, 21:11
Anybody think 6.5 is worth installing?

On my system, it's vastly superior to what I was using (6.2.2). Much faster in all regards, and has exhibited no strange behavior in my heavily-used network of 5 players.

Mitch Harding
2006-10-20, 21:25
Likewise. I had an install issue when I first tried it, but when I did a
full uninstall of the previous version, that cleared up. I'm running
6.5right now with no issues.

On 10/20/06, Pale Blue Ego <
Pale.Blue.Ego.2g0fiz1161404101 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> wrote:
>
>
> Mark Norton;148380 Wrote:
> > Anybody think 6.5 is worth installing?
>
> On my system, it's vastly superior to what I was using (6.2.2). Much
> faster in all regards, and has exhibited no strange behavior in my
> heavily-used network of 5 players.
>
>
> --
> Pale Blue Ego
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Pale Blue Ego's Profile:
> http://forums.slimdevices.com/member.php?userid=110
> View this thread: http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=28873
>
>

Mark Lanctot
2006-10-21, 08:13
6.5.0 has been the best SlimServer by far for me. No install issues, no tag issues, fast, reliable.

AndrueC
2006-10-21, 12:45
here's the manifesto that answers that question in great detail:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cathedral_and_the_Bazaar

embracing the idea that code shouldn't cost money is difficult for many to grasp, I know. My philosophy usually boils down to: pay for physical products, pay for services rendered, do not pay for software.

philanthropy is absolutely part of it, but that's not all of it. It's embracing the concept that "The Bazaar" can organically make better technology than the "The Cathedral".

Firefox (open-source) vs. IE (proprietary)
Wikipedia (open-source) vs. Encylopedia Brittanica/Encarta/Whatever (proprietary)

#!/benOkay I can accept the arguments about quality (don't neccessarily agree but I can accept them). What I still don't see is:
If I worked on FireFox or Open Office who would be putting money into my bank account? Fine if some people don't want money then good for them but 95% of society does want it and it's naive to suggest they are all living life the wrong way.

I need to have money to eat and keep a roof over my head. If all software was developed for free I'd be bankrupt.

bill fumerola
2006-10-21, 13:17
On Sat, Oct 21, 2006 at 12:45:36PM -0700, AndrueC wrote:
> Okay I can accept the arguments about quality (don't neccessarily agree
> but I can accept them). WhatI stil don't see is:
> If I worked on FireFox or Open Office who would be putting several
> thousand pounds a month into my bank account?

- often times companies have a vested interest in the success of a
particular open source project and allow employees to work on them
during company time either part-time or as their entire role.

- sometimes people just enjoy hacking on stuff at night for personal
gain and the project turns into something you can make money from (e.g.
software that interfaces with a physical widget you can bundle it
with).

- sometimes you can take a existing project and make a commercial
product out of it (less flexibility with the GPL but still possible).
people are bundling PCs linux w/ open source routing software to make
non-traditional routers.

if you have to ask, you're probably not currently in a position to
monetize your contributions to open source. that's ok. programming in
the open source world and making rent are not conflicting goals. however,
people who start writing code for the world and just expect the Equity
Fairy to knock at their door may be in for a rude awakening.

-- bill

bill fumerola
2006-10-21, 13:24
On Fri, Oct 20, 2006 at 04:53:38PM -0700, CatBus wrote:
> In fact this whole thread could be said to be founded on a
> misconception. You are allowed to sell GPL software for money. You
> are allowed to make a profit from your sales of GPL software. You are
> allowed to resell software that someone else has licensed to you under
> the GPL for money. You are not obligated to make your source code
> available for free to the general public. Etc, etc. Just because
> people frequently choose to behave a certain way with GPL software does
> not mean that they are legally obligated to do so.

if you release the software in binary format, you are obligated to make
the change(s) you made to the GPL software available to the public. even
linking to GPL libraries has a viral quality to it (e.g. you can't just
make it a kernel module). there wouldn't be a LGPL otherwise.

firmware and such can be made into a blob format. you can try and obscure
the code, but you're still required to release the code IFF you release
the binary.

> The motivations for licensing software under the GPL can be varied, but
> it's pretty wild speculation to claim that those motivations have been
> betrayed when the licensing terms have not been violated--unless you're
> talking about your own personal motivations and your own personal
> software. And if you feel violated by acts that don't violate the
> license, then you should have chosen a better license.

unfortunately, if someone larger (IBM, Apple, MSFT, etc) chose to violate
the GPL'd software of some tiny project i doubt that project would be
able to get enough traction to do anything. the GPL's enforcability is
a topic for another mailing list, though.

-- bill

Mark Norton
2006-10-21, 14:48
What's interesting about all of this is that there seems to be general agreement that Sean deserves his $20m but that the team of developers who have played a huge role in getting SD where they are deserve nothing at all - aside perhaps from a free SB and continued rights to software which may or may not have a continuing life in the Logitech world.

Sure, there's the element of developing your skills and doing what you enjoy, but I strongly believe that people who deliver value should be paid for it.

bill fumerola
2006-10-21, 15:00
On Sat, Oct 21, 2006 at 02:48:07PM -0700, Mark Norton wrote:
> What's interesting about all of this is that there seems to be general
> agreement that Sean deserves his $20m but that the team of developers
> who have played a huge role in getting SD where they are deserve
> nothing at all - aside perhaps from a free SB and continued rights to
> software which may or may not have a continuing life in the Logitech
> world.
>
> Sure, there's the element of developing your skills and doing what you
> enjoy, but I strongly believe that people who deliver value should be
> paid for it.

you either have precious little understanding of how equity works within
a privately held company or are a very effective troll.

-- bill

Mark Norton
2006-10-21, 15:20
I do actually Bill. I own half of a privately held software company and know all the issues.

Mitch Harding
2006-10-21, 15:22
I disagree. No monetary payment was expected or promised. Slim Devices has
been a for-profit company from the beginning. If contributors did not want
to write code that could drive sales for a company, then they should not
have done it. Nobody was misled or cheated.

On 10/21/06, Mark Norton <
Mark.Norton.2g1sdb1161467401 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> wrote:
>
>
> What's interesting about all of this is that there seems to be general
> agreement that Sean deserves his $20m but that the team of developers
> who have played a huge role in getting SD where they are deserve
> nothing at all - aside perhaps from a free SB and continued rights to
> software which may or may not have a continuing life in the Logitech
> world.
>
> Sure, there's the element of developing your skills and doing what you
> enjoy, but I strongly believe that people who deliver value should be
> paid for it.
>
>
> --
> Mark Norton
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Mark Norton's Profile:
> http://forums.slimdevices.com/member.php?userid=4722
> View this thread: http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=28873
>
>

Mark Lanctot
2006-10-21, 15:36
Sheesh Mark, is everything about money with you? There are other things in life too.

Did you ever notice a very relevant quote on Slim Devices' Community page?


He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property. Society may give an exclusive right to the profits arising from them, as an encouragement to men to pursue ideas which may produce utility, but this may or may not be done, according to the will and convenience of the society, without claim or complaint from any body.

—Thomas Jefferson, letter to Isaac McPherson, 1813

It would be a pretty bleak world if everyone's motivation was always "what's in it for me?"

bill fumerola
2006-10-21, 15:47
On Sat, Oct 21, 2006 at 03:20:15PM -0700, Mark Norton wrote:
> I do actually Bill. I own half of a privately held software company and
> know all the issues.

why did you say that Sean is getting $20M? surely he is not the only
shareholder. there are developers who work for Slim Devices. there are
investors. you're exaggerating to make your point or missing the boat
altogether.

it's not like Sean is lighting cigars with $100 bills while the underage
children of the open source sweat shops of the world churn out code for
their new evil Swiss masters.

- the shareholders are getting a return on their investment
- the community still have a resource that can't be taken away
- whatever logitech does: it can't imapct the product sitting in my house`
- slimdevices is getting economies of scale in production, marketing,
and retail lines that would otherwise take many years to build.

so like i said you don't understand the open source development model,
don't understand what value M&A can add to niche companies (e.g. flickr
acquired by yahoo), or are just being intentionally obtuse to prove
whatever point it is you're trying to make.

whatever it may be: shouldn't you be adding value to your 50% equity
instead of working for free (something you claim never to do) lecturing
this community with your vast wisdom and business knowledge.

over & out,
-- bill

CatBus
2006-10-21, 17:34
if you release the software in binary format, you are obligated to make
the change(s) you made to the GPL software available to the public.

That's not correct. When you sell software under the GPL, you only need to make the source code available, upon request, to your customers for a fee. That fee may only cover the costs of distributing the source (i.e. postage and blank CDs).

Many interpret this as "make available to the public for free", due to the fact that your customer has the right to redistribute the code you gave them under the GPL, but it isn't the same thing at all.

The GPL is quite business-friendly if you read it carefully.

dwc
2006-10-24, 13:45
Okay I can accept the arguments about quality (don't neccessarily agree but I can accept them). What I still don't see is:
If I worked on FireFox or Open Office who would be putting money into my bank account? Fine if some people don't want money then good for them but 95% of society does want it and it's naive to suggest they are all living life the wrong way.

I need to have money to eat and keep a roof over my head. If all software was developed for free I'd be bankrupt.

Contributing to an open-source project pays off in other ways. Experience and recognition are two key benefits (of many). I have a friend who put some time into contributing to an extension of Apache, and he has _never_ had to submit a resume for a job since. The code he contributed to that project speaks for itself, and people come to him offering jobs.

So the actual contribution you make to a project may not pay off in immediate cash, but it is certainly a way to make a name for yourself and to participate in a community of like-minded contributors. That network and the reputation you build inside it can frequently lead to very high-paying gigs.

-Dan

JSonnabend
2006-10-24, 14:26
even linking to GPL libraries has a viral quality to it (e.g. you can't just make it a kernel module)
To my knowledge, this has never been tested in court. In my understanding, the whole "you link to it you're infected" position is based on a twisted definition of "derivative work" under copyright law.

I'd gladly take a case from an accused "linker" pro bono on this point.

- Jeff

EFP
2006-10-26, 11:33
from an interview with Dean

http://www.redhat.com/magazine/024oct06/features/squeezebox/

CatBus
2006-10-26, 15:05
To my knowledge, this has never been tested in court. In my understanding, the whole "you link to it you're infected" position is based on a twisted definition of "derivative work" under copyright law.

I'd gladly take a case from an accused "linker" pro bono on this point.

- Jeff

There are multiple type of links, which muddies this issue.

If I use GPL header files and libraries in code I wrote, and then compile it, the resulting binary must be distributed under a GPL compatible license. That's pretty sensible, though: the resulting binary is not entirely your own work--it is work that partially includes/is derived from the libraries. If you want to distribute only the source code you wrote, you can do this under any license you like. But you can't take someone else's work (the library bits) and distribute it or your derivative under your choice of licenses. Jeff, if you took this case pro bono, I'd recommend settling out of court. You will lose.

If you have a program that is either entirely your own work or is based on more permissive licenses for the libraries, you can also "link" it to GPL software through sockets and pipes, etc. Of course you can distribute that binary however you see fit (assuming your libraries allow it).

The GPL simply does not jump out of one program and enter another all on its own. It's not any more viral than any other license. The author of the "infected" code must intentionally inject GPL code into their program (i.e. agree to the license, and then violate it). It's worth mentioning that you'd also get sued into oblivion if you redistributed Microsoft's software as part of your own software without a license. The only difference is that it's logistically easier to improperly create a derivative work from GPL software than it is to "accidentally" release an operating system that looks a lot like Windows XP except with a few tweaks here and there. "But the source code was a free download" is no excuse for violating a license, whatever the license.

Victor
2006-10-26, 17:31
If I use GPL header files and libraries in code I wrote, and then compile it, the resulting binary must be distributed under a GPL compatible license.

I am curious as to how you derived this conclusion that linking against GPL shared libraries makes your application GPL as well?

If that's the case, shouldn't TiVo's entire application suite be GPL'ed since they link against the GPL licensed stdlib?
Or what about the NVidia binary kernel modules? Since they link against the GPL kernel libraries to create a binary, shouldn't that binary be GPL?

I think the issue of using and distributing GPL'ed code (i.e., making the Linux kernel part of your app) versus linking to a GPL'ed library is not nearly as clear cut as you described.

Ben Sandee
2006-10-26, 17:43
On 10/26/06, Victor <Victor.2gb9cb1161909301 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com>
wrote:
>
>
> CatBus;150056 Wrote:
> >
> > If I use GPL header files and libraries in code I wrote, and then
> > compile it, the resulting binary must be distributed under a GPL
> > compatible license.
>
> I am curious as to how you derived this conclusion that linking against
> GPL shared libraries makes your application GPL as well?


Be careful to distinguish between shared libraries and static libraries.
Apparently there is a significant distinction.

Ben

snarlydwarf
2006-10-26, 17:48
I am curious as to how you derived this conclusion that linking against GPL shared libraries makes your application GPL as well?


Libraries are typically under the LGPL for this reason.

Jacob Potter
2006-10-26, 17:53
On 10/26/06, Victor
<Victor.2gb9cb1161909301 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> wrote:
> I am curious as to how you derived this conclusion that linking against
> GPL shared libraries makes your application GPL as well?
>
> If that's the case, shouldn't TiVo's entire application suite be GPL'ed
> since they link against the GPL licensed stdlib?
> Or what about the NVidia binary kernel modules? Since they link against
> the GPL kernel libraries to create a binary, shouldn't that binary be
> GPL?

The GNU C library is licensed under the LGPL (Lesser / Library GNU
Public License), not the GPL. The LGPL does allow linking by
non-GPL/LGPL programs.

I'm not sure how the nVidia kernel modules work license-wise, though.
There's still debate as to whether binary modules should be allowed.

- Jacob

MeridianMan
2006-10-26, 19:35
What's interesting about all of this is that there seems to be general agreement that Sean deserves his $20m but that the team of developers who have played a huge role in getting SD where they are deserve nothing at all - aside perhaps from a free SB and continued rights to software which may or may not have a continuing life in the Logitech world.

Sure, there's the element of developing your skills and doing what you enjoy, but I strongly believe that people who deliver value should be paid for it.

SD's revenues come from the sale of hardware devices. Altho s/w is obviously a component in making the h/w function, the sales price of the SB1/2/3/TP includes development costs of _both_ h/w & s/w. If SD had indeed developed their product with closed source code, then they would have shouldered the employee costs of s/w development, which would have been passed along to the buyer by virtue of a higher sales price. I think the benefit, in this instance, of open source code has been provided to all of its customers here to date - clearly, the price for their product is VERY reasonable, especially in comparison to the high end audio market (my $249 wired SB3 replaced a $4K Meridian CDP).

Of course, the branding and name recognition has accrued to SD, allowing them to sell more product, increase the market value of the company to LT, etc. However, this is not to suggest that they should not reap the benefits of a sale to LT. Additionally, those who choose to participate in open source code development are under no obligation to do so, are fully informed as to what their compensation is to be and should have no expectation of benefit from the sale of the company. Much the same that the Good Samaritan provides services irrespective of any promise of payment.

CatBus
2006-10-26, 21:48
I am curious as to how you derived this conclusion that linking against GPL shared libraries makes your application GPL as well?

Depends on what you call your "application". Your source code, which is 100% written by you, may be distributed under whatever license you see fit. A compiled binary, however, contains code derived from your code and the library code. It is a derivitave work of both the library code and your own.

This is why most libraries are not distributed under the GPL (as others have pointed out). Most libraries are licensed such that they allow essentially unhindered redistribution of derivitave works (LGPL, BSD, etc). It's extremely cut-and-dry, and I suppose the reason there's never been a court challenge on this aspect is because it's so very clear.

More info here: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#MereAggregation

Marc Sherman
2006-10-27, 06:57
Victor wrote:
>
> I am curious as to how you derived this conclusion that linking against
> GPL shared libraries makes your application GPL as well?

From the GPL faqs:

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#LinkingWithGPL

> If that's the case, shouldn't TiVo's entire application suite be GPL'ed
> since they link against the GPL licensed stdlib?

As others have mentioned, your premise is flawed; glibc is available
under the LGPL, which allows the covered code to be linked to non-GPL'd
code:

http://sources.redhat.com/cgi-bin/cvsweb.cgi/libc/COPYING.LIB?rev=1.3&content-type=text/x-cvsweb-markup&cvsroot=glibc

> Or what about the NVidia binary kernel modules? Since they link against
> the GPL kernel libraries to create a binary, shouldn't that binary be
> GPL?

The general consensus seems to be that the NVidia binary drivers are, in
fact, distributed in violation of the GPL, but the kernel hackers are by
and large a pragmatic lot who realize that aggressively pursuing that
particular violation would do the community more harm than good.

http://kerneltrap.org/node/1735

> I think the issue of using and distributing GPL'ed code (i.e., making
> the Linux kernel part of your app) versus linking to a GPL'ed library
> is not nearly as clear cut as you described.

Your thoughts are incorrect.

- Marc

P Floding
2006-10-27, 07:29
I can't believe someone finally said it out loud!

You have to admit it's a great business model- not only getting your customers to contribute software, but perform the bulk of tech support as well!

Kudos Slim Devices :-)

User self-help is pretty much standard nowdays in the industry.
I can understand the feelings of "betrayal", especially if one is a major contributor, but there was never any guarantee of longevity. SB could have gone bust tomorrow.

Mike White
2006-10-27, 17:58
I am an open source developer, and have been for ten years or more. Not on SlimServer, but on Info-Zip.org.

I do this because:

1) I like seeing my ideas out there, and people enjoying what product I put out.

2) I truly enjoy coding - when I have the time - and it makes a good hobby that doesn't require a lot of money to maintain.

3) Most importantly, I am giving back to the community - not just the open source community, but the computer users community. I have worked with computers for close to 40 years, and every single time I have sought help from others, I have not only been given the help I requested, but far more. In my opinion it is time I give some of that back. If someone makes money off it, more power to them. I know for a fact that some companies have incorporated my dll's and libraries into their commercial products. All I have ever asked is that credit be given to me for the code I have provided. It always has been to the best of my knowledge.