[Haifux] Why open source

Tzafrir Cohen tzafrir at cohens.org.il
Sat Nov 29 14:51:58 MSK 2008

On Sat, Nov 29, 2008 at 10:58:17AM +0200, Tal Abir wrote:
> I guess that small utilities are hard to make money from.
> That might explain the recurring answer of "don't be greedy".

Having more money is generally a good thing. Having unrealistic
expectations about how to make it is probably not a good thing. I'd hate
to see you both greedy and poor ;-)

I can't and don't intend to offer you a money making machine. 

> Why code isn't like poetry?

In the eyes of the copyright laws, it is.

> If someone makes money from some code he should pay whoever written that
> code.

The mere fact that you wrote a work of art (if we stick with the terms 
of the copyright law) does not in itself implies someone should pay 
you. Someone should actually to distribute that work of art (and you're
the only one that can allow that).

> The same as shironet pays Akum, Sourceforge should pay the projects it's
> hosting.

This model has grave practical difficulties. It results in stupid
limitations such as you have to pay Akum for having the radio open and
playing songs in your shop, even though the radio station has already
payed Akum.

In fact, the creative commons licenses include a clause to explicitly
override Akum and its ilk from collecting royalties of various CC

Sourceforge (and other code hosting services: BerliOS.de, GNU Savana,
Google Code, Microsoft's CodePlex, and lesser ones such as various
-forge sites) provide a valueble service to me as a developer: I don't
have to worry about anything but coding. I can just code. I can also
easily let others join in.

Such an infrastructure costs money. It takes bandwidth. It takes
servers. It takes sysadmins to set it up, maintain it and provide

The fact that Sourceforge exists has helped many people get their free
software projects in the air. I'm sure most of those are thankful to
SourceForge. I am personally (and I only used it for a few projects).

> The developer should be allowed to concentrate on what he is doing best -
> developping.

SourceForge's hosting already does most of that.

BTW: there's also an option in SF to request donations. That said, ad
money or donations from a small project won't really pay for your time
as a programmer. I expect that to be roughly 10-100NIS a month (I'm just
making up numbers). It will encourge spamming projects, and it will
create a conflict between the vaqrious developers for who gets how much
("that's not fair. He's getting 5c and I get nothing!").

> Messing around with licences and selling software seems like a waste of
> time.
> Tal.

Tzafrir Cohen         | tzafrir at jabber.org | VIM is
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