Armin Ronacher's Thoughts and Writings

free VS free

written on Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Seems like my favourite discussion is back. In the ring two guys: Zed Shaw, the developer of lamson and mongrel, on the other side we have Jacob Kaplan-Moss Django's BDFL.

This time the discussion seems to be entitled "Because the only thing better than an arbitrarily restrictive license is an ambiguously restrictive license" [via twitter]. I won't warm up the discussion with new arguments (promised) but what I found most interesting about the discussion is Zed's blog post why he's using the (A/L)GPL. Basically what he's saying is that he does not want to be burned again like he was with Mongrel and uses the GPL to force people to contribute.

I'm not exactly sure how that supports freedom. I might be idealistic here, but what motivates me the most about the open source libraries I work on is how they are used. I got mails from developers in many companies that are using various Pocoo libraries internally and cannot contribute patches due to restrictions in the company structure. Every once in a while I get patches those developers craft in their free time and very often I don't get any. However the point is, that I can see people using my stuff which motivates.

I'm not making money with my libraries, but that's probably because I'm not a friend of selling code. I love to give the stuff away I'm working on, and get payed for support if one needs it. And so far this worked flawlessly for me.

Forcing people to freedom is not exactly my definition of being free.

So dear users: Use my stuff, have fun with it. And letting me know that you're doing is the best reward I can think of. And if you can contribute patches, that's even better.

This entry was tagged licensing