Restrictive Licenses and Open Source

puredataDuring a discussion with Jean-Noel Montagné, founder of Art-Sensitif (check the Lab in Main D’Oeuvre @ Saint Ouen) and member of Bricolabs initiative, he gave me his view on restrictive Licenses through the Pure Data debate [1] [2] over a license governing PiDiP by Yves De Goyon. I think this represents the fundamental debate which separate true open source such as GPL from politically-oriented statements such as EGPL.

The question here is not to persuade people that they should use EGPL. In fact, they should not, or rather they should never have to use EGPL. But in case of abuse, the message is here: there is an alternative which can make a whole difference if some end users start to abuse the fundamental right of the author – that his will and intent be respected, or start neglecting his founding role, well, then he may remind these end-users that they live in an eco-system where all abuses cannot always go unanswered.

FOSDEM feedback about EGPL

During FOSDEM, I got to meet several people from the speakers and audience, providing me with insightful questions, remarks and a surprisingly warm welcome, even from people who SHOULD be against EGPL.

bdale-speaker-472-128x128For example, Bdale Garbee from Debian (and HP Open Source & Linux Chief Technologist) said “Well, it’s clear that EGPL is orthogonal to Debian, but I can definitely see where you’re coming from and the clear political message that this License sends to the people using Open Source in questionable way”.

Some Open Source Developers immediately got the idea and explained to me various horor stories on usage of their work: either from publicly-founded projects being misused or discoveries about their code being used for goals clearly against their ethics. One comment related to Open Source Software was particularly acute: “Politics and managers don’t listen nor understand the licenses and ways of Open Source, but what they get is that through EGPL, they may have to buy software that was previously free just based on their own actions and goals, and this, they will clearly understand it.”

Globally, a very interesting take on EGPL with a welcome that I didn’t expect.