Commercialised programs

Dave Love d.love at dl.ac.uk
Thu Feb 10 14:38:38 EST 1994


>>>>> "hoa" ==   <hoa at cwxtl> writes:

 hoa> 	The only truly viable option I can see is to go the rought of the
 hoa> free software foundation and the copyleft restrictions.  ie to way for
 hoa> people to write free software that can be easily distributed and 
 hoa> protected so that nobody else can use that code to make money off of it.

The FSF distinguishes `free' as in `price' and `free' as in `freedom'.
People do make money from FSF software -- you pay for support,
distribution etc.  The condition is that you get the source and can
give it away.

 hoa> (I think CCP4 has much of tyeh same goals).

The CCP4 suite isn't free in the FSF sense (although the library is --
at least I think that is the intent of the licensing conditions).
This is in both senses of `free' if you are a commercial organisation,
but revenue is ploughed back into the subject.  We do want you to have
the source and help us improve it, though.  (It's a *collaborative*
computational project in principle, if not sufficiently so in practice
IMHO.)

I understood that software produced with US government funding (or is
it government employees?) is required to be public domain.  This is
definitely not the case in the UK.

A big threat to free software lies in legal monopolies (software
patents and interface copyrights) which may prevent free distribution
of software.  The US patent office is soliciting comments on its
software patents policy.  The League for Programming Freedom
(lpf at uunet.uu.net) will be happy to send you information.  The `patent
harmonisation' part of GATT may mean the rest of the world has to
follow the US lead, if it can be called that.

--Dave (not speaking for CCP4)





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