[kwlug-disc] Wordpress themes must be GPL

Ralph Janke txwikinger at ubuntu.com
Tue Jul 27 12:25:27 EDT 2010


On 07/26/2010 04:31 PM, Andrew Kohlsmith (mailing lists account) wrote:
>
> Linus made it blatantly clear that modules (code which links to the kernel) do
> not have to be GPL. It appears that Wordpress and Drupal need to make very
> clear statements as well.  It seems that Wordpress has, and that's what this
> whole thread was about. :-)
>
>    

This is because the what you link into your code is LGPL no GPL. However,
there is an unresolved discussion about something similar. A lot
of people in the python community believe, that code that just calls
a library which is GPL must also be GPL. I somewhat disagree with that.
No code (or derivative) is copied for such, hence copyright is not really
an issue. It is rather an issue of usage, for which the GPL is very liberal.


>> Then don't give it away? And don't write extensions to GPL software then
>> complain
>> about the license ...
>>      
> I agree. Personally I think that if all you want to do is develop or code you
> are probably best suited for working as part of a larger corporation, maybe
> even one that will pay you to write open-source software. If you are looking
> for the ability to make money while relaxing... you need to don a few other
> hats and be prepared to do businessy stuff so that you have a marketable
> product.
>
> Just my $0.02 (+ HST).
>
>    

Well. I think the question at heart here is if it is essential or wanted to
have full-time open source developers. In some way, you could see open 
source as a distributed model in which people with a business model that 
carries
their monetary needs have a way of sharing costs by all contributing to 
something that reduces their costs of the primary business model (Hence
John Nash's theory for which he obtained the Nobel prize).

The idea of open source is primarily reduction of commodity costs, not
making profits. The profit aspect comes from the specialization of our
society. Does it make sense that non-IT professional try to spend their time
on IT, or do they focus on their own personal strengths in their 
business. In such a case, they can still reduce their costs by sharing 
the costs it takes to
create the necessary open source software ( or squish the bugs, train the
users, etc.). Now the accumulated available budget might be enough to 
pay full-time open source developers, testers, trainers etc.

The question of someone else undercutting the price of the original 
developers
is a question of competition. The Canadian Supreme Court has in several
cases clearly stated that competition is to the benefit of consumers and
society in general and must be preserved (unfortunately they always make
undue exceptions in copyright law and patent law). However, I believe 
the argument of undercutting is a red herring. At first, if someone 
invests in an
open source project they gain the advertisement momentum. Having the 
reputation of creating a software is something worth, hence even a higher
price would often be the primary option for a client. In other cases local
reputation comes into the mix. Previous dealings take the precedence over
the reputation from creation of the software.

The difference is now, that both, a creator as well as a local expert 
can both
benefit and further contribute back to the project. I think, the problem 
today about the question of how an open source developer puts food on 
the table, is a question of perception. We all could save a lot of money 
by growing our own
food in the backyard instead of paying the supermarket high margins. 
However,
we do not want to put the work in it. Within IT there are a lot of 
people who are
not IT-expert who are still try to "grow their own IT in their backyard" 
because
they underestimate the work that it takes, or they are not aware of the 
alternatives, or we have not found a way to make the sharing of costs 
looking
like a cost-effective solution. When we get to the point when in 
particular small business owners will priorities their time in how they 
can grow their business over trying to do IT themselves, there will be 
more possibilities in making
money from open source development, in particular if there are 
trickle-down effects by consultants and support taking some of their 
profits and invests them into independent developers.

Society has always re-aligned itself when conditions changed, it is very 
possible that we are in the middle of such a re-alignment, and a lot of 
confusion we have to day will be solved down the road.

Just a thought,

Ralph




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