Re: Oracle v. Google jury returns partial verdict, favoring Oracle

From: Snit <>
Date: Wed, 09 May 2012 23:12:54 -0700
Message-ID: <>

On 5/9/12 9:38 PM, in article, "Pól" <P?> wrote:

> On 10/05/12 02:00, Snit wrote:

>>> All of which of course does *_not_* mean that Open Source is "bogus".
>>> FLOSS is what it says it is - it does what it says on the tin - it's
>>> open about what it is, there's no lying - you can see the bugs up-front
>>> - you don't have vendor lock-in.

>> This is not entirely true.  The concept of "open source" is true and honest,
>> but when they use the GPL and demand you follow its restrictions, and thus
>> reduce what you can "freely" do with the code, it is disingenuous to call it
>> "Free" (other than in price).  They pretend it is about freedom when it
>> really is a form of IP protection, albeit a rather open set of protections.
>> Still, one is obligated to follow the restrictions set by the IP license
>> being used (in terms of those who use the term "Free", this generally some
>> flavor of the GPL).

> You are forgetting about the *BSD licences, which are, to all intents
> and purposes, Public Domain.

I did not forget them, I just did not talk about them. :)

Yes, the BSD licenses are far more "free", but the FSF folks are the ones who mostly use the term "Free" and are the ones who bastardize the term.

But I have no problem with the BSD licenses, either. As noted, I am very pro-choice and feel people should be able to use any of a large number of licenses / license-types.

> But it still doesn't answer my question to the OP about FLOSS being "bogus".
> Those who choose to release their software under the GPL know exactly what
> they're getting into, as do those who use it. It's not "bogus" to impose (very
> minor) conditions on those to whom you grant the right to use your software
> for any purpose whatsoever along with the added bonus of your fabulous code.

On that I agree. As noted, I have no problem with people opting to use the GPL - and am very happy it exists and thankful to Stallman for his work on it. I also do not have any reason to think that code protected by the GPL is "bad" or "wrong" or whatever - in fact, much of it is excellent (the Linux kernel itself, for example... not that I know diddly about kernels, but it seems to be excellent based on what runs on it). Webkit is another example of software protected by the GPL which, from what I can tell, is excellent.

> I don't wish to rehash the arguments that I used to read on COLA a
> decade ago - I'm from cdos myself - I would just say that, AFAIC, if
> FLOSS (and in particular the GPL) is "bogus" then you could easily say
> that all software is - Public Domain and *BSD possibly excepted.

I would have to see the reason why someone would say the GPL is bogus.

I will say those who run around screaming that IP does not exist and then claim to back the GPL are being hypocritical... and if those who claim IP licenses in general are bogus often ignore the fact that the GPL is an IP license (see the debate Homer has been having with Carroll... and my comments to it which Homer has no response for).

>> If they really wanted it to be "Free", they would place the work in the
>> public domain and ensure that there are no restrictions on the code they
>> produce.  This is not what they want - they want to limit "freedom".

> The argument that even free societies have to impose restrictions...
> rehash...

Oh, I have no problem with free societies having restrictions. But one can have public domain code in a free society.

>> To be clear, however, I have *no* problem with this... people who create IP
>> should be able to define under what uses and restrictions people can use
>> their product.  For example, I cannot get a best selling novel and change the
>> names of the characters and alter a few other details and then sell it as my
>> own - this would be plagiarism and it would be going against the license that
>> the best seller is sold under.  This would be plagiarism.

> I give money to charity - someone is given that money and spends it on
> themselves - theft?

What was the purpose of the charity? If you gave money to help a student go to college and they use it in that way - spending it "on themselves" - then that is not theft. If you give money to a charity which spends the money in a way other than how they said they would then it may very well be theft (or at least a misuse of funds... I do not want to get into a semantic debate over if the misuse if "theft" or not).

> BTW, just to be clear, I have no problem with IP - I just feel that ultimately
> IT and the planet in general is better served by FLOSS which is why I
> encourage it. Just like in the fields of science (my own being genetics) and
> literature, I encourage the Creative Commons.

You encourage a system you respect. I have no problem with that. Now if you were to try to force people to use the GPL or to use the Creative Commons licenses I would have a problem with that - but I see no reason to think that is your goal.

>>> As far as I'm concerned, both Linux and the *BSD's are a superior
>>> technical choice for servers - the reason Windows is so popular is
>>> because of the multiplicity of apps available, but FLOSS is now matching
>>> Windows for end-user apps. LibreOffice is an example - I haven't booted
>>> into Windows in over a year.

>> While the options for desktop Linux have grown, there are still many areas
>> where the competition is ahead.  You mention one: Office applications.
>> While LibreOffice is excellent, it simply is behind the competition in many
>> ways - not only in features but in how they are done.

> With respect to LibreOffice, I disagree - the open format allows the
> software to be exploited (positive) in novel and productive ways.

Can you give a couple of examples of how LibreOffice makes getting some task done better than the commercial competition? I show a video, below, where it is clearly well behind the competition. I have older videos of other areas where OpenOffice was really messed up, but in the newest LibreOffice they have resolved those issues (or at least mostly). This is very good in my view and I am happy to see it.

> I would however say that the GIMP is inferior to Photoshop - my question
> would then be a) why fork out loads of dosh for funcitonality that
> 99.999% of people never use - and I certainly won't.

If you like GIMP use it... I have no problem with that. But keep in mind that it is not just about what a program can do, it is *how* it does it. Not that the UI of Photoshop is perfect, but it surely gets a lot less complaints than does the one of GIMP (though the newest GIMP which just came out does improve things... and the splash screens on the last couple versions of Photoshop are some of the most absurd and poorly designed splash screens I have seen on *any* software, no matter the license). I will say with Photoshop I personally use a lot of the features it offers that GIMP does not (layer groups - though GIMP finally has those, smart objects, non-destructive filtering, multiple masks, etc.). Then again, GIMP handles favicons much better than does Photoshop - which is absurd given how Photoshop is sold as a part of a web design bundle. How hard would it be for Adobe to add similar features? Yes, there is a plug-in, but even with it Photoshop is simply behind here. Absurd.

>> This is a video I made showing a fairly common
>> example:<>.  The response by some in COLA was that
>> the task shown, rotating an image in a word processor, is something they
>> essentially never see happen and would never even consider.  This is likely
>> true - they use LibreOffice (or OpenOffice).  In those packages, while the
>> feature is available, it is done so poorly it is all but ignored.  In better
>> packages this feature is easy to use and thus *is* used: in newsletters,
>> fliers, etc.

> So, in some areas FLOSS is behind a couple of years for marginal
> functionality - so what? I would argue that FLOSS is ahead of closed
> source in important areas such as stability and price.

Well, acquisition price is a no brainer. As far as stability, I would love to see the evidence for it. Modern OSs (desktop Linux, OS X, and Windows) are all quite stable these days. As far as the applications, I rarely see crashes in the software I use... but do see them from time to time on all three OSs.

>> Another example is screencasting, which is becoming more and more common.
>> Here is a recent example of how Peter reacted to seeing another environment
>> handle it better than does desktop Linux:

> I've said that there are areas where closed source is superior.

Fair enough. I would love to find examples where open source is as clearly superior... other than the example I gave, above, about favicons.


>> I would not call desktop Linux "bogus".  It is excellent... it is just not a
>> good competitor to OS X and Windows, at least for most users.

> You and I are agreeing to differ - I respect that. It's the blanket
> dismissal of (all varieties AFAICS) of FLOSS that I find unacceptable.,

Fair enough. And to clarify my above comment: while I think *in general* desktop Linux is not a good competitor to the competition, there are places where I think it is - some examples include desktops used largely as web kiosks (and that is becoming a more and more common usage pattern) and in some businesses where the software / tasks needed are limited to a few pieces of software, often including a home-grown database or other internal application. In those cases desktop Linux might not only be less expensive to acquire but also easier to maintain and be just as easy to use (or close enough as to not really matter). I am certainly not against the use of desktop Linux and even have some clients using it based on my suggestion. Recently, though, most of them, of their own choice, dropped desktop Linux and moved to a competitor... not sure why this happened in multiple unrelated cases, but the sample size is small enough as to not be indicative of anything major. Then again, it happened around the time the web stats showed a pretty significant drop in desktop Linux usage. Really not sure what is going on with that... have some ideas but that is far off topic for this conversation.
> Paul...

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Received on Thu May 10 2012 - 01:12:54 CDT

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