[thelist] GNU / GPL

Shawn K. Quinn skquinn at speakeasy.net
Thu Oct 25 15:24:47 CDT 2007

On Thu, 2007-10-25 at 12:48 -0700, Joel D Canfield wrote:
> > > Please do correct me if I'm wrong -- this topic _does_  
> > > interest me.
> > 
> > Your choice of words here is slightly confusing.
> Shawn, I feel like I'm right at the fringes of understanding your point,
> but I'm not quite there.
> So, to clarify, I hope: in response to Stephen's comment "if the GPL
> makes me share my source code, anyone can use it", you're saying, "yes,
> but your *financial* model should also be about the value-add stuff, not
> just the code."
> Am I even close?

That's one way of looking at it. Another way of looking at it is that
under the GPL, a programmer's paycheck is based more on his merits
rather than the often questionable or outright unscrupulous practices of
his/her company's marketing and sales deparments. Still another is that
the GPL is for people/organizations who either are not afraid to
program, can maintain the software in house, or would prefer the freedom
to hire a programmer of *their* choice, not one decided for them by
their "vendor". In other words, hiring a progammer the way you hire a
plumber, landscaper, maid, or mechanic.

> (One of the points I'm making in my book on entrepreneurship is putting
> money in its place, so all the intellectual property/money issues here
> really interest me.)

The use of the term "intellectual property" is itself an issue that
needs to be resolved. In other words, it is better to refer specifically
to copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret, etc. instead of using a
generic term which lumps together drastically different types of
restrictive laws causing either inadvertent or purposeful confusion.
Surprisingly, even the WIPO is starting to understand this one.

Suggested reading: <http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/not-ipr.xhtml>

Shawn K. Quinn <skquinn at speakeasy.net>

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