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Re: [tlug] GPL vs. paid version and ethics

Shmuel Fomberg writes:

 > > > So, does a hobbyist need multi-threaded query execution? Or he
 > > > can do with the simple mechanism?

By definition, a hobbyist doesn't *need* anything.  That's not a fair
question.  The questions are, is it cool enough that the hobbyist
wants it, and will a hobbyist follow up to make it a "product" that
Just Works?  The answer to the first question is often enough "yes",
and that should be all we need to know (unless we're a business trying
to create a community to support our products).

The answer to the second question is also sometimes "yes," sometimes

 > Lets separate between "available code", and "open source".

You should define what you mean by "available code."  Does "available"
mean you have a copy (which might have a "look but don't touch"
condition attached), or does it mean you have all the necessary
licenses to actually use that knowledge?  If the latter, "available
code" is just open source.

I suppose you could mean "a limited license providing the source and
only the use rights I actually need", but then you'd be wrong about
"available code" always being a good thing -- there'd be no guarantee
it was actually useful until you know the particulars of the case.
That's why the OSD and free software definition enumerate several

 > while open source forces code availability, it is just one property
 > of it.

If you mean what I think you mean by "force", you're confusing open
source with copyleft.  Open source by definition provides code
availability, but it doesn't force downstream to offer code.

 > In the company that I work for now (Six Apart) we have a GPL'd CMS
 > (Movable Type) and for Es we sell user groups support, Oracle
 > support and LDAP.  All these are completely useless to anyone else.

You lack imagination.  While Oracle support is indeed a requirement
restricted to enterprise (or perhaps hobbyists with enterprise-class
personal financial resources ;-), user groups and LDAP are very useful
to various kinds of NPOs such as consumer groups whose general
membership may be large but whose staffs are small, often part-time,
often volunteer.

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