The Hacker Approach: Development of Free Licenses

Study the GNU GPL and write a short blog essay about it. You may use the SWOT analysis model


strengths

  • the users have freedom to change the software
  • assures that patents cannot be used to render the program non-free
  • The purpose of the GNU GPL is to give users four basic freedoms:* The freedom to run the program for any purpose (freedom 0)
    * The freedom to study how the program works and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1)
    * The freedom to redistribute unmodified copies (freedom 2)
    * The freedom to improve the program and release your improvements to the public, so maybe the whole community benefits (freedom 3)
  • The GNU GPL provides that in the event of a breach of its terms, any rights acquired by the licensee shall expire. So the person loses the right to promote or modify a covered work. With this case we are dealing as examples, if someone had turned on all or part of our program under the GNU GPL to their own program and then distribute to its program to license other than the GNU GPL. Granting of licenses is not getting rid of copyright and the use of the program without an appropriate license means its violation. It is possible therefore (in accordance with Polish law) to demand from the person who infringes our copyright discontinue such violations, issue received benefits or pay double or triple, when the infringement is willful,  amount of equitable remuneration. You can also ask for reparations if the offending action was culpable. In addition, Article. 79 Law on Copyright and Related Rights Act provides several other claims. Of course, the presence of specific claims is dependent on the sole will of the owner. It may also benefit from exercising his rights under the same license. In this regard, we may refer to paragraph 8 of the GNU GPL v.3.

weaknesses

  • no warranty for the free software
  • Due to the fact that any work based on the work covered by the GPL must also be based on the license, the GPL is a viral license. So the GPL affects any program that uses GPL code. Criticism of that coercion is most often targeted by supporters of a less restrictive license, such as the BSD license.
  • Most free software licenses such as the X11 license, the BSD license and the LGPL is compatible with the GPL. This means that the source code based on them can be integrated seamlessly into the program under the GPL (as a whole will then be covered by the GNU GPL). But there are open source licenses, which are not compatible with the GPL. For this reason, many people are discouraged to use such a license, because based on the code is not difficult to be reused in other projects.
  • Code licensed under the GNU GPL can not be used in programs for other licenses.

opportunities

  • There was a German organization founded  gpl-violations.org, which aims to detect and prosecute, including the courts, cases of infringements of the GNU GPL. Its founder is Harald Welte. Most of the violations detected by the organization ended up with the sentence of an infringe, under which the violator had to pay a specified amount. In several cases, however, German court was in favor of the proprietor, like in the case against D-Link
  • The opportunities connected with Linux:
  • Linux has very good support, often much better than commercial programs. Internet is full of accessible information, and the answer to the question often is provided in a short time. Moreover, this support is free and requires no service contracts. There is also commercial support from companies like Red Hat, Novell, IBM and HP, if necessary. It is also worth noting that the fact that users need less support than in other operating systems is due to the fact that Linux has fewer bugs and much more resistant to viruses and other malicious code.
  • Linux is based on Unix, which was designed in 1969. UNIX and its descendants are considered by many experts as the best (most stable and flexible) operating systems that were ever designed. They survived over 30 years of rigorous testing and continuous improvement through world-class computer scientists, while other systems do not survive more than a couple of years, usually due to a combination of technical inferiority, and the planned service life.
  • The main reason for the rapid growth of Linux in the world is that the TCO is significantly lower TCO than proprietary software. Reasons why it is lower, are: (1) it is free, but also that (2) is more solid and reliable (fewer crashes, reducing the risk of data loss), (3) its support is an affordable (although there are also paid services), (4) can run on older hardware, thereby reducing the need to buy new (5) users are not forced to upgrade equipment, and (6) does not require a tedious and costly licensing control. The results, which show that the TCO of Linux is higher than Windows, is sponsored by Microsoft. The main reason why the TCO of Linux might be higher is that the cost of hiring its administrators is greater than the cost of employing people with experience with Microsoft products. Indeed, it is true, however, it is ignored here that Linux administrators are more productive, because for it there are less viruses and less security patches to install. Do they also have to deal with the system crash or fight with licensing issues.

threats

  • You may charge any price or no price for each copy that you convey,  and you may offer support or warranty protection for a fee. — isn’t that a thread of commercialization?
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