[Ardour-Users] Could this solve Ardour's financial headache?

John Emmas johne53 at tiscali.co.uk
Thu Jan 8 02:17:27 PST 2009

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Thomas Vecchione"
Subject: Re: [Ardour-Users] Could this solve Ardour's financial headache?
> On Thu, Jan 8, 2009 at 1:19 AM, moron wrote:
>> Howdy.  If Ardour did something like this you would be guaranteed to fork
>> the codebase.  It goes against FOSS concepts for one not to mention that
>> it would be be trivial to de-spam that portion of the code
> You know, for a list dedicated to a piece of GPL'd software, there is a
> LOT of confusion about what the GPL does and does not enforce on the
> software licensed with it.
> The above statement is not correct.  You CAN have such a function in GPL'd
> software, so long as the source code for it is availiable.  How effective
> it can be is entirely up for debate since, as was mentioned, it would be
> trivial to comment it out and recompile for many people.
Very well said, Thomas.  In fact, people often forget that the "free" in
free software was originally intended to mean free as in "free speech", not
as in "free beer".  The GPL only states that you must make the source code
available along with the binaries.  It doesn't impose restrictions on what
you can or can't enable in the software and it DOESN'T stipulate that you
can't charge a fee for the provision of binaries, or source code, or both.
The main weakness in the GPL is that it provides no mechanism to protect an
original developer from an unscrupulous recipient.  Recipients are free to
do whatever they like with the source code - and that includes using it to
deprive the originator of their ability to earn a living from it.

My proposal is not to charge for the source code - but rather, to charge for
the convenience of being able to update the source code regularly.  It's an
imperfect proposal and it would need to be structured such that it wouldn't
penalise (or discourage) developers, testers and other contributors.  But
AFAICT it wouldn't breach the GPL licencing agreement.


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