[kwlug-disc] Wordpress themes must be GPL

Andrew Kohlsmith (mailing lists account) aklists at mixdown.ca
Mon Jul 26 13:40:49 EDT 2010

On Monday, July 26, 2010 01:15:02 pm Khalid Baheyeldin wrote:
> Even large venture capital funded companies (e.g. Alfresco) released their
> product under a dual license (proprietary and GPL), then say that if time
> goes back, they would
> have picked another license, and that the GPL is not a good license for
> companies.

Do you have any links to this effect? I don't doubt it, but I'd like to read 
more about it.

> All of that time, the GPL helped make their code base and project popular
> and successful. But then when they take that success for granted, they
> think of what Apple has done with NetBSD, and they want to be able to
> fully commercialize and make proprietary what was open for example, or
> close off sections of their code.

Apple would have had *no* problem with a GPL'd kernel.  Their magic isn't in 
what they've added to the kernel, it's in userspace, under their closed 

I don't really buy into the "developers need a way to make money so they don't 
have to continuously work" because the nature of their industry is the same as 
that of many others; you perform work, you get paid for said work.  The only 
way I really see to getting out of that "hours for dollars" exchange is to 
sell something over and over again.  If you're "only" a developer then the 
only thing you have to sell is your ability to code.

It's difficult to sell something you're giving the code away for, because that's 
"all" the thing is -- the code.  You need to package it into something that 
has greater value than the binary itself; that's of course where the 
maintenance or service contracts come into play, same with training and so on. 
But what kind of developer wants to do that? The developer wants to code.

> Use due diligence and common sense, as well as business acumen and legal
> advice. That is all.

I don't think many businessmen particularly care about the software license; 
they are too busy selling the value.  Even if someone takes the code and runs, 
you're still selling the service, the expertise, etc.  Sure, you will lose 
some sales, but the truly price-conscious were probably never really strong 
customers to begin with.

> And now, let us go back to "how should FOSS developers put food on the
> table".
> The proper answer is long and has been hashed and rehashed before, but let
> me respond with a counter argument: how does a non-FOSS developer who does
> not operate their own business put food on the table"? The rights to what
> he writes has been taken over by the corporation he works for, and he can
> be laid off any time because of market conditions, company faltering, CEO
> embezzling, ...etc. ? What assurance does he have if he gets sick after he
> is laid off?

I believe you hit the nail on the head. You need to sell something worth 
selling, and if you aren't willing to make a business out of it (and hire or 
become a business manager), then you're going to be trading hours for dollars.  
I don't think there's a way around it.

License has almost nothing to do with the dilemma.


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