[olsr-dev] IPC-Protocol / GUI

Andreas T√łnnesen (spam-protected)
Sun Nov 21 17:49:36 CET 2004


Well - I guess this discussion cannot be avoided(even if I had a naive 
hope it could)... People tend to have _very_ strong feelings about the 
GPL vs. BSD issue so please, before we start, let's leave the 
flamethrowers at home ;-) I really do not want to argue about this stuff 
- but I'll try to explain my views on things.

First of all let me say that I know we owe a _lot_ to the GPL, and my 
point is not that the GPL is inferior to any other BSD-style license.

It is my experience from the few companies I've worked with, that 
they(comercial companies) are actualy doing their best not to break 
licenses. Ofcause there are bad seeds that will not think twice before 
stealing code, but that is not my point here. But please understand that 
I do agree with you that this is a very bad thing and that having the 
GPL gives developers a weapon to fight this. But as more such 
cortrulings appears(as the one you mention) I think companies will 
refrain from violating the GPL in a bigger degree.
The reason I started thinking about a license change was that I 
witnessed how FOSS software was selected in a couple of companies. BSD 
licensed project would _always_ be prioritized over GPLed ones. I 
believe this happens regardless of wether the company is interested in 
modifying the software or not. Now, olsrd is very much software in an 
experimental stage. Nobody would use this software in a comecial product 
at this stage without some serious testing - the kind of testing we'll 
probably never get done. I understand your scepticism to whether a 
company would give back fixes they have done or not. My opinion on this 
is that if they plan to keep using updated versions of olsrd there is 
quite a chance that they will submit bugfixes. But ofcause they will 
not return their proprietary extentions and stuff, but IMO if they want 
to create extentions the plugin interface already opens up for this.

What I would like to see is this software used by as many end users as 
possible. And I belive the license change might make olsrd more popular. 
If companies want to create their own forks of olsrd, hey - let them, I 
don't really care... and that's probably what it comes down to. Many 
people dont like this idea. Now I know this is like lighting a match in 
a gunpowderkeg ;) but it is my opinion that BSD style licenses provides 
the total freedom with barely no restrictions. But let me be quick to 
emphazise that I believe that BSD style licenses is not the best 
solution for many products - which your example with iptable certainly 
proves Elektra. But modular networking components olsrd is IMO better 
off taking the BSD road. In the case of the accesspoints I would like 
companies like Mikrotik and Cisco to be able to use olsrd on their 
products as well. I have no doublt that these companies have resources 
to implement a component such as OLSR in a very limited time, and I 
believe this will be their solution if olsrd is GPLed. Now if olsrd was 
a core component of GNU/Linux systems I would never consider using 
anything but GPL.

But then again - this is not a strong enough believe of mine that I am 
willing to spend a lot of time discussing it. All I want is for olsrd to 
be used since I've invested a very lage amount of time in it(which I am 
aware that lots of others has as well). I hope people realize that at 
this point I am working on olsrd just because I like to see that it is 
beeing used in real life, because I am learning a lot from it and 
because I really enjoy working with Thomas. I do not use olsrd for any 
practical purpose myself.
I discussed the license issue with Thomas, and I got the impression that 
he has much the same attitude towrds this as I do. BUT - if the 
licensing issue turns out to be someting that will turn users away from 
olsrd or that anyone will start forking off 0.4.7, then we will most 
definetly reconsider the license change(and probably my own role in the 
whole project).


onelektra wrote:
> Hello list -
> Thomas wrote me that there is the idea of putting olsrd under 
> BSD-license. I strongly disagree with that. Why? Stealing open source is 
> abso-fucking-lutely common amongst manufacturers. Example: The developer 
> of iptables ran and won a courtcase against sitecom, manufacturer of 
> WLAN-APs. He could prove that sitecom used his GPL'ed software to build 
> there 'protected', illegal to disasemble, closed source software...
> Sitecom wasn't allowed to sell their products anymore. So they made 
> 'their' software publicly available. It was nothing else than Linux...
> Soon after that almost all manufacturers (beside Mikrotik and Cisco 
> witch have their own OS) like Siemens, Linksys, Medion... made their 
> sources available. There is Linux inside every consumer AP...
> This is a real big benefit! Now you can hack every AP and install 
> whatever you want - meshsoftware as far as I m concerned - on every 
> cheap gear if the hardware is powerful enough.
> Can we allow these evildoers to take our work and misuse it as they like 
> (make proprietary extensions so that everybody has to buy their gear to 
> be compatible cause there is no compatibility).
> With BSD-license stealing open source is legal.
> They will help us fixing bugs? I don't believe that. No way. They will 
> misuse it.
> I hope this will not happen. Please don't!
> cu elektra
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Andreas T√łnnesen

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