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|[copypasta] Why Doesn't Kermit Have a Standard Open Source License?||Syber Shock|
|Re: [copypasta] Why Doesn't Kermit Have a Standard Open Source||Anonymous|
I found an interesting, old article while reading through the kermit
protocol website. The article exposes 'license purity' evangelism as
short-sighted and dim-witted. This excerpt shows some of the bad ideas
of the modern 'free software' movement. Most of the current generation
have no idea what free software was actually about. Free software is a
good thing, if, and only if, the programmers making and sharing it
already have good-paying jobs. Otherwise free software mentality
destroys jobs, outsources them, and reduces the overall quality of
software in general.
The most relevant line to me is:
"The very foundation of the free software movement no longer
I agree this has been the situation for years. So what are many free
software advocates doing today? Rent seeking! It seems that free
software evangelism today is often an exercise in rent-seeking. It does
nothing to create market conditions for better paying programming jobs.
It just shouts about 'evils' of proprietry software and demands
donations to spread its evangel and begging for more cash to spread
more gospel of mandatory freebies. The evangelists do all the talking
and get paid. The programmers providing free software get the shaft.
Why Doesn't Kermit Have a Standard Open Source License?
First, note that there is a GNU Public License (GPL) version of Kermit,
called G-Kermit, and you can find it in many operating system
distributions. However, it is strictly a remote-end file transfer
program and does not include the communication, scripting, security,
and other features of C-Kermit, Kermit 95, and MS-DOS Kermit.
About the larger licensing question, here's a discussion from a 2001
On 25-Feb-2001 in one of the Linux newsgroups, somebody wrote,
explaining why they did not use C-Kermit: :
: But it still isn't free software.
: (Meaning: it does not have an Open-Source license such as GPL or BSD,
permitting anybody to do whatever they want with it, including sell it.)
So what? Lots of software isn't free. Everybody is happy to pay money
for retail software and in return receive bugs, headaches, no
documentation, no upgrades, and no technical support.
C-Kermit is free to you if you want to use it. If you ask for technical
support, you get it. C-Kermit is free to Linux packagers if they want
to include it. But it's not free to people or companies who want to
make money directly from it. Seems fair to me.
The Kermit Project was giving software away before there was a GNU
project or FSF, before there was a Linux or FreeBSD. We all grew out of
the same environment — university computer centers and CS departments
in the early days of the ARPANET, where we were paid to develop
software. We had secure jobs, so free software made sense. We all
shared everything and it was fun. But those days are gone. Virtually
nobody is paid to develop publicly available software in universities
any more. The very foundation of the free software movement no longer
exists. Now free software is developed by:
Students who will soon get real jobs.
People stealing time from their real jobs.
A very few individuals who are actually paid to do it.
Companies that hope it will destroy their competition.
Companies that believe it will somehow turn a profit.
This is all fine with me — everybody should do what they please if it
doesn't hurt anyone else. But it's not exactly a sound and stable
system. Unpaid developers have little incentive to care about what
their users want. And, with very few exceptions, the unpaid development
model does not provide a career path except in the sense that if you
become famous for some free creation, then you can get a high-paying
job at an investment bank and disappear from the scene (except that as
programming jobs go offshore, you're not likely to get ANY job).
The Kermit Project is one of the last surviving university-based
nonprofit software development projects. We're here full-time to serve
and help our users, year after year, decade after decade. The money has
to come from somewhere, and believe me, we've tried every funding
model. Sure, Kermit would be more popular if it was "free in the sense
of freedom", but that would also kill it.
In the end, I think doctrinaire insistence on license purity is kind of
silly, if not disingenuous. If the software is free to you, then what
do you care if it's not free to somebody else who wants to sell it? If
you yourself want to sell it, why do you think you have the right to
expropriate somebody else's labor for your own enrichment? If everybody
thought that way, nobody would do any useful work and we'd all starve.
(More and more people are waking up to the necessary connection between
labor and compensation. Free software is a fine idea when everybody has
a job and time to work on software too. Now that programming jobs are
increasingly scarce, the true meaning of the free software movement
begins to emerge.)
Suppose your company had a commercial product of which Kermit was a
critical component (as many do). Doesn't it make good sense to pay for
it, thus assuring its survival and continued development, as well as
giving you a voice in its future directions? Lots of companies think
so. If they don't mind, why should you?
The fact is, C-Kermit is highly functional, useful, modern,
well-documented, aggressively developed and supported software that can
be in Linux if you want it to be. As of C-Kermit 7.0, 1 January 2000,
nothing is stopping Linux packagers from including it. They'll do it if
their customers ask them to.
Sure... Because Kermit wants to live forever from copy-writes.
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