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License Question :?

Good sims require good FDMs (the "thing" that makes an aircraft behave like an aircraft).

Re: License Question :?

Postby Hooray » Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:18 pm

Bomber wrote in Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:56 pm:There's definately something wrong with someone making money from someone elses hard work.


You may think so, i.e. morally or ethically.
But truth be spoken, it's happening every day, not just in open source land.

Once you contribute to an open source project under the terms of the GNU GPL, you explicitly agree to do so - regardless of people charging money for your contributions or not.

If I were to find someone who would be willing to pay 1.000.000 USD for work that you and your team contributed to a GPL'ed project such as FlightGear, I could just take the money without involving you or any other contributors, as long as I also respect all the other legal terms, such as distributing and sharing source code in its preferred form.

It's just a matter of finding the "right" (i.e. uninformed) market and customers.

There is really nothing wrong with people earning money through work provided by others.

There are numerous examples in OSS, i.e. companies that are just creating "additional value" in the form of documentation or support contracts while simply distributing free OSS products. I once worked for a company that specializes in contract work to customize OSS. And there are many such companies, these companies make tens of thousands each week by reselling a slightly modified version of somebody else's work.

If you don't like the idea of this happening to you, don't contribute to a GPL'ed product and don't release your own work under the GPL.

The people who still do so, do it for a number of reasons - usually, because they understand that the viral nature of the GPL and its legal framework is a serious strength for an open source project.

There are even non-GPL examples which are more prominent than FlightGear here, such as gcc or mozilla/firefox, because they ended up getting sizable contributions due to OSS principles.

I don't see anything wrong with people being allowed to rebrand and sell FlightGear if they manage to convince people to pay for a custom FlightGear version/mod (such as T4T), because once you get customers to pay for your product, you are probably creating additional value. Obviously, the potential customers must be aware of the origins of the modified software and its differences in comparison with the original product (i.e. pros & cons).
Please don't send support requests by PM, instead post your questions on the forum so that all users can contribute and benefit
Thanks & all the best,
Hooray
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Re: License Question :?

Postby Groucho » Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:54 pm

Bomber wrote in Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:56 pm:There's definately something wrong with someone making money from someone elses hard work.


Once again, GPL does not prevent someone from charging money for a product. Contributors to a GPL software should be aware of this, if they do not feel comfortable with it, they should choose a different license (with all implications).
Various companies are selling GPL based software- all commercial Linux distributions to this.

HHS wrote:And there was another point some while ago:
1.)They have to provide the source- do they? And if they do- are they usuable?
I once found the location of the source on their homepage- but the package I got was corrupted....And I was not the only one.
Is this correct and compatible with GNU GPL? I doubt it....


It might be an error, technical failure, whatever. Nothing solid to base an allegation on.
Some other source refered to the code being located behind a private area for registered users.
All we have are assumptions, speculations and allegations about possible violations.
If there is a definite evidence for GPL violations put it on the table and hit the guys with a legal hammer. Otherwise there is no solid ground to walk on.
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Re: License Question :?

Postby Hooray » Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:11 pm

Actually, the situation has already improved - some of our suggested enhancements actually made it into FlightGear, such as for example the idea to provide an about dialog and showing the license, URL and such things.

There are obviously more things possible, like adding hard-coded
"FlightGear - free open source simulator http://www.flightgear.org" to the menubar, the GUI dialogs and the splash screen.

(Adding a version number and the year of the release would also make sense, so that people can immediately spot if they are running a recent version or an outdated one)

Many of these ideas were brought up previously: viewtopic.php?f=42&t=8225&p=102531&hilit=#p102505

These are fairly simple additions, and they can be easily modified by any C++ developer - but at least, this ensures a couple of things:
  • the origin of the product is made clear
  • people wanting to change these strings, would need to modify the C++ source and consequently rebuild/repackage FG
  • consequently, they would also need to make the modified source code available, because they are redristributing modified GPL code
Please don't send support requests by PM, instead post your questions on the forum so that all users can contribute and benefit
Thanks & all the best,
Hooray
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Re: License Question :?

Postby 439Tiger » Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:24 pm

If it is acceptable to the core programmers, anything that makes it more difficult for scammers to do their stuff is great and I'm all for it. I think any honest developer wouldn't have an issue with what you are proposing.
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http://www.flightgearcanada.ca/ or: https://sites.google.com/site/flightgearcanada/
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Re: License Question :?

Postby stuart » Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:53 pm

FYI, hardcoding obfuscated "FlightGear" text into the source-code so that it would appear on a splashscreen was discussed on the -devel list a while back and decided against, on the basis that a) it wouldn't work (it appears that the FlightProSim people re-compiled from source) and b) was against the spirit of the GPL which is openness.

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