[PD] expr alternative

Bill Gribble grib at billgribble.com
Mon Oct 24 17:49:35 CEST 2011

On Mon, 2011-10-24 at 15:26 +0100, Andy Farnell wrote:
> The thing about a "nice email", no matter how politely and tactfully
> you pen it, is that such a request can feel quite uncomfortable.
> First it makes the assumption that the programmers choice of licence
> was somehow shallow, maybe even arbitrary. Let's give all programmers
> the benefit of the doubt and assume their intelligence extends to
> proper reflection.

The thing is, a lot of license choices ARE shallow and/or arbitrary.
Some people don't really care that much about license details and just
stick "something free" on there, without really considering if it does
exactly what they want.  I'm sorry that you had trouble handling a
license-exception request, but I have a hard time seeing how a simple
inquiry could be reasonably considered to be imposition on the

Someone who is looking at the alternative of (1) reimplementing
something because of their license needs vs (2) being able to use (and
possibly contribute back to) an existing piece of code is really being
dumb if they DON'T ask.  If you are choosing to use a license that
retains some control over the use of your program, you have to expect to
be called on to say "No" every so often... 

Bill Gribble 

>  The alternative is that they inherited a licence
> which they have no power or choice to amend.
> Secondly, when someone from your own community appeals to you to help
> them with a "cool project", maybe even to help them make a buck or
> two, I expect you are like me and rarely hesitate if its no great
> cost or time commitment. And if your needs and values clearly
> conflict, then its easy to say no and properly communicate why. But
> now familiar tensions between business and morality have come to the
> fore in the last few years, and make demands of bad faith on you.
> You're basically saying, I want to do this, but I am being bullied by
> corporation X to do it this way, and since you are the weaker of two
> conflicting moral opponents I choose to question your values and ask
> you if you will move in order to suit me (and by proxy the
> corporation).
> To put it in plain talk, its like getting a message from an old
> friend who got himself mixed up with with some bad drug dealers and
> needs you to bail him out or something nasty is going to happen. It's
> a dilemma where helping or not helping feels equally wrong. Where was
> that friend last week, before he needed the money so bad? Giving them
> money will just get them more enmeshed with a bad scene.
> I don't mean that to reflect on you personally, it's just something
> that needs to be put out there in the context "change the licence"
> being an option. It should be a last resort after many other options
> have been considered. Perfectly good choices consistent with proper
> moral and free market principles are; if you are a businessmen or
> lawyer for whom it might be an option why not start your own app
> store. Or if you're a coder able to pull off writing a non GPL
> version of the object from scratch, do that. For the rest of the
> artists, choosing another platform for your application would be the
> logical, rational choice. So would not using [expr], which is easily
> replaced by discrete objects and a little thought.

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