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With regard to software licensing ...

Displaying poll results.
I find my opinions growing stronger.
  7269 votes / 35%
I find my opinions growing ambiguous.
  4338 votes / 21%
I only care if it's for software I've written.
  2157 votes / 10%
Don't care, never have.
  6659 votes / 32%
20423 total votes.
[ Voting Booth | Other Polls | Back Home ]
  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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With regard to software licensing ...

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  • by balzi (244602) <matthew@nospAM.awma.au.com> on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @01:40AM (#36090644)

    I find my opinions on Slashdot. I can't make sense of it myself in most circumstances.

    I'm pretty sure I should hate Microsoft, it's ambiguous whether I should hate Apple or not.
    GPL is the bees knees, and LGPL is mostly not very good at been not as good as GPL sometimes.

    • On this faceless internet, it seems like you're supposed to hate everybody and everything.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by michelcolman (1208008)
        No, we all love open source, since it's free as in beer!
        • Open Source is not necessarily the same as Free Software.
          • I know, but do all the Slashdotters know?
          • by Xtifr (1323)

            In theory they may be different, yes (perhaps); in practice, no, not really. So far there has only been one license certified as open source by the OSI that wasn't also classified as a free license by the FSF, and that license was surrounded by people on both sides arguing that it really did/didn't meet the specified criteria. (Fortunately, it was soon withdrawn, and nothing actually uses that license.) Note that the Open Source Definition is basically identical to the Debian Free Software Guidelines, so

            • I don't think there is such a thing as an "open source licence" as distinct from a "free software" licence. Never heard of one, anyway.

              The difference between Free Software is more of a philosophical one these days. The free software guys saying "the important thing about free software is the basic freedoms it grants to those who use it". The open source types tend more toward "The important thing about open source is that it allows a more efficient development model, which can greatly benefit industry an

              • by Rogerborg (306625)
                RMS gonna slap a bitch. "Open Source" is software that other people can just use. "Free" software is deliberately designed to infect and destroy proprietary software and indeed merely "Open" software too. Now, you can spin it in different language, but that's the essence of it. RMS will rape Freedom into you.
        • by tg123 (1409503)

          No, we all love open source, since it's free as in beer!

          You just have to brew the beer !!!

        • by Osgeld (1900440)

          I have never had a free beer...

    • I can't make sense of it myself in most circumstances.

      It's even more depressing (or amusing, once you've stopped caring) when the vendors can't figure out their own licensing.

      We've had this happen on a few occasions. The vendor agreed that we were requesting a valid combination of packages and options, but were unable to figure out a price. Even up-selling to various mega-bundles would not include the combination we needed on compatible terms (annual vs one-time vs subscription). Their sales gurus at head office were also baffled, especially when their deve

    • by syousef (465911)

      I find my opinions on Slashdot. I can't make sense of it myself in most circumstances.

      I'm pretty sure I should hate Microsoft, it's ambiguous whether I should hate Apple or not.
      GPL is the bees knees, and LGPL is mostly not very good at been not as good as GPL sometimes.

      I'm pretty sure I'm not suppose to acknowledge that Richard Stallman showers, nor should I mention Linus in the same sentence as "smoking crack"

      • by Rogerborg (306625)

        I'm pretty sure I'm not suppose to acknowledge that Richard Stallman showers

        I've met RMS, and he was filthy and he did stink. I'm fully aware that this will get modded troll, but it just amuses me that there's such an aggressive assumtion that the stereotype must be incorrect. The truth - and shouldn't we speak it? - is that Stallman is exactly what he looks like: a filthy hippy.

  • by Zedrick (764028)
    I think it's an important issue (answer #1), but on the other hand I've copied / downloaded whatever I wanted since 1985 (answer #4). And yes, I do pay for the stuff I need/use if it's commercial software. However, I will never ever again buy anything before "pirating" it first, not after buying Civ 5 untested.
    • by tedgyz (515156) *

      So what is bad about Civ 5? How does it compare to Civ IV?

      Steam recently had a "fire sale" on Civ IV. I bought it having never played any Civ games, but having heard years and years of rave reviews for all things Civ. My kids and I have really enjoyed it, although the Sid avatar in the tutorial is super-creepy.

      • So what is bad about Civ 5? How does it compare to Civ IV?

        Civ IV (especially if you get BTS expansion) is much better than Civ V. Civ V does a few things nice (hex map & slightly improved graphics), but armies are really crippled since you only , and things like great generals are not nearly as useful. It also does weird things like the embarkment tech that you get which allows your guys to turn into boats, and combats where you do partial damage and it continues on to the next time period.

        • by tedgyz (515156) *

          That is what made the Steam sale so attractive - I got Civ4 + BTS + Col + War - all for $7.50.

          That's the cost for a 6-pack of quality beer. Combine Civ IV with beer and how can you go wrong? :-)

          • I bought it in the same deal. In fact, I also bought it for a friend of mine who previously only had plain vanilla Civ IV. That reminds me, I need to sell my old hard copies on eBay.
      • > So what is bad about Civ 5? How does it compare to Civ IV?

        For one,
        Religion got completely nerfed, as in removed.

        Second,
        http://www.amazon.com/Sid-Meiers-Civilization-V-Mac/product-reviews/B0048X7P4E [amazon.com]

        Gee, I wonder why the Lead Designer and Principal Programmer of Civ V has _left_ Firaxis ...
        http://flashofsteel.com/index.php/2010/12/21/jon-shafer-leaves-firaxis/ [flashofsteel.com]

        But since I don't want to present a one-sided argument ...
        http://www.gamingreality.com/2010/09/civilization-iv-vs-civilization-v-6.html [gamingreality.com]

      • Curious to everything that's been tweaked/fixed in Civ V since it came out? You should be if you're thinking about getting it. It's also a good reminder that launch day issues people talk about have been largely addressed. Also, Civ V is getting hot seat multiplayer soon if you're interested in that. http://store.steampowered.com/news/?feed=steam_updates&appids=8930 [steampowered.com]
        • by Mashiki (184564)

          Civ5 is a mediocre game that tastes like it was aimed at console kiddies and people without a freaking brain. The best things were removed, the worst items were double-upped. I remember civ1/2/3 being hard on their own merit for what it had. I remember 4 taking the best of those 3 previous games and rounding it all off nicely.

  • LGPL Rules! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jim_kaiser (1696460)
    I just love libraries with LGPL or BSD style licensing! Use it for free, sell your product commercially... release changes you made to the library's source code.. just perfect! Sometimes its hard to go the GPL way... especially when you need to make money out of it.. it raises a lot of doubts.. but yes GPL rules too... just not as much as LGPL!
    • Agreed. The only projects I have ever contributed to are those which allow linking to a commercial product, because normally I end up getting paid to make those contributions.

      • by c0l0 (826165) *

        The opposite of "free" (as in the GPL's definition of free) is not "commercial", but "proprietary". You can very well ask your customers for a licensing fee if you distribute your GPL'd program to them. If your product and especially the support and services around that dump of code and binaries are good enough, they'll probably give you what you ask for anyway.

        • If your product and especially the support and services around that dump of code and binaries are good enough

          I think you've hit the nail on the head, and that's why White Box never stopped Red Hat from being a Wall Street darling. A lot of people don't like that, though, because they want to be able to sell just the license (who would buy a support contract for e.g. a game), and the GPL is not conducive to that. They don't have any right to get upset at folks who are using the GPL, though, since they are offering their users even fewer rights.

        • Yes, but try convincing almost any owner of a software company that they should open-source the software they just spent a couple million dollars developing... yeah, not much luck.

          Therefore, at work, open source projects are divided into

          a) Projects I can't use (GPL)
          b) Projects I can use, and contribute back to to stay within both the spirit and the legal terms of their license.

          People are of course free to do whatever they want with their code, but from a practical side licensing under GPL is essentially shu

          • Yes, but try convincing almost any owner of a software company that they should open-source the software they just spent a couple million dollars developing... yeah, not much luck.

            Therefore, at work, open source projects are divided into

            a) Projects I can't use (GPL) b) Projects I can use, and contribute back to to stay within both the spirit and the legal terms of their license.

            People are of course free to do whatever they want with their code, but from a practical side licensing under GPL is essentially shutting out a bunch of commercial developers from caring about your code. And caring about it is the first step to getting them to contribute something.

            Couldn't agree more. As a software developer for a commercial organisation, I'm tied to writing proprietary code by my company. There's a LOT of great little GPL projects out there that would save me an amazing amount of time if I was allowed to make use of them, but I'm not. I use a fair bit of LGPL code, and ALWAYS make sure I follow it to the letter and beyond (I generally contact the original author with my changes as well as prominently informing the users of the LGPL parts and where to get the sour

    • by user317 (656027)
      i always found the "linking" part arbitrary. I can interface with a gpl program over a browser, and thats considered a service that i am providing to someone, so not a derivative work, even though it could easily be a programmable api over http.

      I think open software licenses should be more fine grained, and specify what "interfaces" to the work are ok to leverage without your work being considered derivative. so a library can specify the api's that it exports, a program can specify its inputs and output

      • i always found the "linking" part arbitrary. I can interface with a gpl program over a browser, and thats considered a service that i am providing to someone, so not a derivative work, even though it could easily be a programmable api over http.

        I've come across the same issue myself. I make use of a couple of GPL products in one of my proprietary apps by asking the user to download and install them, then getting my app to run the other one and grab the output from it. I admit that I feel a little "dirty" doing this since it does feel like it's outside the spirit of the GPL but our corporate lawyer insists that there's no problem to do so (Google search results show plenty of arguments about whether this is okay or not, and it seems pretty divide

  • 'my opinion growing stronger/weaker towards software licensing' WHAT ?

    'my opinion growing stronger towards jupiter' -> there is no difference in between the preceding sentence and the shitty poll options.

    kudos to whomever wrote them. cut back on coffee.
    • by rwa2 (4391) *

      I don't know, I guess licensing has something to do with lawyers presiding over your life choices.

      I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that most of us became engineers because we wanted to be able to exert some power and control over nature. Then there are some people who like to exert power and control over other people. So I guess these days those people mostly become lawyers, and write pieces of paper telling you what you can and cannot do. Most of us try to avoid these people like the plague, bu

    • Actually, I like the wording of this poll- very open-ended, and obviously meant to spark discussion.

      I've certainly found my *awareness* of licensing growing stronger over the years. Recently I've been making an effort to read all the EULAs that I'm supposed to when installing/upgrading software. An ITunes update (for example) becomes a MAJOR pain in the ass when confronted with 15-20 minutes of re-reading the EULA, while trying to detect what minute changes have occurred, etc. (Couldn't they just list the c

      • ... a "free" software license is simply astounding in its simplicity ...

        Clearly you have not heard of the GPL. Version 3 is causing great headaches across the scene of developers that simply wish to develop "free" (as in beer) software and not get tangled in a web of political asshattery in the process.

        • ... a "free" software license is simply astounding in its simplicity ...

          You cut off "In comparison, " at the start and quoted him out of context. In comparison with the software licences that ship with proprietary software, the GPL (any version), BSD and Apache licences are simple.

          Clearly you have not heard of the GPL. Version 3 is causing great headaches across the scene of developers that simply wish to develop "free" (as in beer) software and not get tangled in a web of political asshattery in the process.

          What? If a developer is really having a headache because they "simply wish to develop free* (as in beer) software" then they can replace their current, non-functional brain with the brain of a dead rat and use it for 2 picoseconds. If they did that, they would realise that they don't need a GPL v3, v

  • by jbengt (874751) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @09:12AM (#36092794)
    though the directions say not to complain about lack of choices.
    Without an option for my opinion not changing, and none for my opinion getting weaker either, there's no where for me to vote.
    • by Xtifr (1323)

      I think "growing ambiguous" is supposed to be synonymous with "getting weaker", but yes, there's no option for "not changing", and moreover, none for "growing stronger with respect to some licenses and weaker with respect to others", as, for example, with a BSD advocate who finds himself mellowing towards the GPL and becoming less tolerant of commercial EULAs, or vice versa.

  • More ambiguous (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jellomizer (103300) on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @09:31AM (#36093004)

    Back in the 90's My Late teens and early 20's I use to be an avid supporter of Open Source (GNU) in particular. I worked on making sure my computer was as pure as possible, and I was willing to debate and argue against anyone (technical) who is using Windows as their primary OS without wanting to install Linux on their computer.

    Then as time went on I started to see real holes in the GNU and other Open Source Licenses as a process. While some some software really thrived on Open Source other projects I was interested in was really languishing, and many didn't come out of the design phase or became usable. Open Source is strong at projects that can grow organically. Closed source are for products that needs real project management and design work.

    It isn't that Open Source is Bad it has its place but its place isn't everywhere. Close Source isn't pure evil, while it does have its problems it has its place too, and fills gaps that Open Source cannot fill.

    RMS Vision is much too Utopian for real life. Microsoft all closed source vision is bad too. We need a good balance.

    • Re:More ambiguous (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mlts (1038732) * on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @02:29PM (#36097088)

      There is a balance, but RMS and his ego has done some good.

      Any old salts remember the UNIX days before Linux and 386BSD?

      Want source code? Plunk $1000 to Mt. Xinu for BSD/OS.

      Want a compiler? That's at least 5 C notes, to a grand. Oh, you want libraries too, that's extra.

      I think had neither Linux or Jolitz's BSD taken off, the world would be a different place. We would see a lot of commercial flavors of UNIX, almost all of them incompatible, and we would be paying through the nose and out the rectum for things we take for granted these days.

    • Back when I was in my late teens and early twenties I was a keen supporter of Open Source and contributed thousands of hours into maintaining a LGPL project which is now installed by default in all serious distros. Then during my first job developed the Linux kernel itself and continued to develop what was free and publicly available. I believe that what I did then was right and good and I am glad about what I accomplished during this time since I know the work I did is still used by tens of millions of peo

      • by Altrag (195300)

        IP has no inherent connection with China's failure to provide basic human rights. IP just happens to be valuable these days and greedy bastards like valuable things (almost by definition!)

        People have been horrible to each other since long before any concept of IP existed, and will continue to be horrible to each other regardless of whether IP rules the roost or gets abolished and forgotten.

        Creating and enforcing human rights laws is the correct solution to these problems.

        For that matter, if anyone on the

    • by devent (1627873)

      You comment makes no sense. There are a lot, lot and lot closed source projects that never came out of the design phase or became usable. The only difference with open source projects is that the failed closed source projects you will never see. Microsoft Vista to name one with never became usable, but how many in-house projects (with are closed source) do you think have failed for any given company?

      I think, what you mean are commercial software vs. community driven projects. But it has nothing to do with t

  • Or assume humans are nice (or as nice as the society they grow up in) and promote sharing.

    Not sure you can force anything, though.

    So the best thing is to be nice and hope others are nice back. They often are.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      You can also assume some humans are nice and some are dicks, and be nice, promote sharing but use the power of the law to make sure that the dicks can't steal what you've just shared. That's exactly what GPL, Creative Commons, and similar copyleft ideas are for.

      You can also assume that some humans are nice and some are dicks, and be a dick and steal things that others have shared. That's exactly what Walt Disney, Apple, Facebook, etc have built their businesses around.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        Exactly. The GPL is what happens to the BSDL when some dick tries to take advantage of everyone else and the "guy in charge" of the relevant project actually bothers to do something about it.

        This is something that GPL/RMS/FSF detractors like to gloss over.

        The options are stupid. There should have been a steady state option.

  • How about those of us who have a consistent informed opinion that neither grows stronger nor weaker. Namely, software creators should be able to license their software however they like. Personally, I use only free software for anything I "have" to use. I'm happy to buy commercial software for entertainment. And while I use open source licenses for software I personally control, I certainly write a lot of software professionally that is not open source, because it isn't my decision to make in a corporate en
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 11, 2011 @11:52AM (#36094736)

    I chose "don't care", but I should have chosen the first option. Some of my old favorite games have bugs where they crash on multi-core systems unless you use a bunch of community-made work-arounds to get them running. The publisher has the source code, but they won't release it to the fans so we can fix the bugs properly. I regret ever giving these people a dime and I never will again.

    Then I have other games that include malware requiring a disk to be in the drive to play the game, even though more modern systems don't have CD drives. This means the game from 1999 is unusable on my netbook. Again, I regret paying the devs.

    I will never purchase another boxed commercial piece of software new again because the only thing the publishers and developers care about is taking my money and leaving me with a broken product. I'll just buy all my games used and run Linux from now on.

  • Would not a lot of coders consider their talent to the same level as art?

    Your code defines you and you create a product. It should have the same licensing rights as those who have copyright. It's your work. When you code for a company, you're agreeing to sell your work, for a paycheck to a company that once again owns licensing rights.

    Open source code, is open source for anyone to modify and no one to own or license similarly to graffiti on random wall. The art constantly changes, and the best stuff is

    • Would not a lot of coders consider their talent to the same level as art?

      Your code defines you and you create a product. It should have the same licensing rights as those who have copyright. It's your work. When you code for a company, you're agreeing to sell your work, for a paycheck to a company that once again owns licensing rights.

      Open source code, is open source for anyone to modify and no one to own or license similarly to graffiti on random wall. The art constantly changes, and the best stuff is respected and kept.

      I personally feel that licensing is a bit expensive, and needs to be defined more fairly, but if you equate a copy to that of art, then to place the same art in multiple rooms you need to purchase multiple copies.

      You have confused Open Source with Free Software. I have come across plenty of Open Source software that did not allow anyone to modify -- In this case there is definitely an entity attempting to assert ownership via leveraging the copyright system.

      Free Software allows anyone to modify and distribute it as long as the distributor grants these same freedoms to the recipients. For a good example, look at iOS (containing BSD licensed (open source) code), and GNU/Linux, containing GPL'd Free Software. In t

    • by Draek (916851)

      Would not a lot of coders consider their talent to the same level as art?

      We would. It's just we also put art to the same level as educational materials: it's best when it's available to everyone rather than a select few rich enough to afford it, who are in turn prohibited from sharing it themselves. It's no coincidence F/OSS supporters are among the greatest proponents of Creative Commons and initiatives like MIT's OpenCourseWare.

  • I'm not complaining, but merely mentioning that I can't vote in this poll because my opinion isn't changing, and I do care, to some extent. My opinions did change a bit back during the late eighties & early nineties, but once I finally settled on what seemed to me to be a set of reasonable positions, I haven't seen much need to change. The last time my opinions noticeably changed was when the GPLv3 came out, and I had to add an opinion to my set, but my opinions didn't "grow stronger" or become more a

    • Funny that I have the oposite interpretation of yours :)

      I think I can't vote because my opinions have changed, so I couldn't compare certainty of my older opinions with the certainty of the newer ones. If you kept the same opinions, you'd be able to.

      And by the way, I'm now less certain about a more extreme opinion than just recently.

  • I use whatever tool is best for the job. I prefer to use FOSS software but if a closed source piece of software does the best job, I'll use it. These days there aren't too many closed source software programs I use. The last was FrameMaker but OpenOffice has matured to the point where I use that now instead.
  • I've felt pretty strongly about this issue for many years. I haven't noticed these feelings getting stronger or weaker, but I do care. There's no poll option that fits my situation, and I reckon I'm not alone here.

  • Simple solution (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @05:01PM (#36112106) Homepage Journal

    I don't acknowledge the concept of IP, so licenses are irrelevant to me.

    • I don't acknowledge the concept of IP, so licenses are irrelevant to me.

      How do you post here without using the Internet Protocol? :-)

    • Re:Simple solution (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Trogre (513942) on Friday May 13, 2011 @05:14AM (#36116058) Homepage

      Do you mean IP as in Copyright, Patents and Trademarks? Do you think for example that any car maker (to keep up the analogy cliches) should be able to slap a Ford badge onto what they build?

      • Re:Simple solution (Score:4, Insightful)

        by devent (1627873) on Saturday May 14, 2011 @03:25AM (#36125292) Homepage

        Mod parent up please. You should never put the terms copyright, patents and trademarks in to the same term "IP" because all 3 of them are so different as anything can be.

        Trademarks laws are doing what they are suppose to be doing, to protect from imitations. That is very important for the pharmacy, for machines, for electronic ware, etc, and for small businesses and big firms.

        Patents are somewhat more difficult to decide if they are good or bad. We need patents for real goods like machines. In the pharmacy and agricultural industry patents do more harm then good and should be more restricted. For software there should be no patents.

        Copyright is just too long to have any moral at all. 95 years copyright is just so ridiculous and it makes a lot of harm to our culture.

        • Trademarks laws are doing what they are suppose to be doing, to protect from imitations. That is very important for the pharmacy...

          While I agree in general that Trademarks are good, pharmacy is actually a bad example. Generic prescription drugs are identical to their trademarked counterparts - they have to be otherwise they would not be approved for use under the strict rules on drugs in most countries. So this is one case where actually trademarks have no value at all - they just persuade people to purchase more expensive brands of drugs for which the patent has expired.

      • Curiously, before all the "IP" crap happened, there was in common law a tort called "passing off", which basically covers the same thing as Trademarks, but on the basis of "fraud damaging the goodwill of my products", without all the "i own the name" kind of entitlement attitude.

  • At work, I'm paid to care. At home, not so much.
  • by dave562 (969951) on Saturday May 14, 2011 @08:42PM (#36130232) Journal

    I think my opinions have matured with the aging process, and the realization that we are all only given a short period of time here on this earth. Although I might not exactly respect some of the sales games that get played, or respect some of the ways that corporations corner their respective markets, I do respect the people who write the software and those who build businesses that employ software developers. I was fortunate enough to turn a hobby with computers into a real career, and I did so using the tools developed by others.

    With regards to open source versus closed source, and free verses for cost, it comes down to this for me. If you use a piece of software and someone wants to be paid for it, pay them. You do not have any right to tell them what their software is worth. If their software is so worthless, then do without it. If you want the functionality, pay for the functionality or convince someone else to develop that functionality for you and give it to you for free.

    World class software developers are one of the few things that America has left. We're already slipping behind the rest of the world due to our messed up education system. I hate to get all patriot about this, but I'm serious when I say this. Either support the industries that we have here, or GTFO. Our country and our economy have enough problems already without stealing from each other on top of it.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." - Bert Lantz

 



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