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Author Topic: GPL?  (Read 2126 times)
Terminator
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GPL?
« on: March 09, 2004, 04:43:01 am »

I'm curious what is the real difference between GPL, Freeware and Shareware? Sorry little old-fashioned remember when licenses were non-existent or fit on one screen NOT 30 pages worth on text.
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Re: GPL?
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2004, 05:19:11 am »

GPL= I have no clue.
Freeware=Well, free software Grin
Shareware=Something like a "demo" that you need to register to unleash the full version. Costs money.
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Re: GPL?
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2004, 06:28:35 am »

http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/categories.html
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Re: GPL?
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2004, 06:46:31 am »

with GPL basically you get the source code, you can play with it, modify it even include in a new application, as long as you leave the GPL intact and distribute your software with the source code.

of course, there are zillions of other clauses, there is GPL2 now...   :-/
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Re: GPL?
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2004, 07:16:42 am »

Quote
there is GPL2 now...   :-/

...only since 1991...
If someone says GPL he means version 2.0 of the GNU General Public License nowadays.
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Re: GPL?
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2004, 06:43:31 pm »

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...only since 1991...
If someone says GPL he means version 2.0 of the GNU General Public License nowadays.


damn, you're right!  Embarrassed

how long have I been asleep??  
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Re: GPL?
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2004, 07:06:09 pm »

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damn, you're right!  Embarrassed

how long have I been asleep??  

Only since 1991? Wink
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Re: GPL?
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2004, 03:37:16 am »

The GPL is not really comparable with freeware and shareware, as they have different functions.

Freeware/Shareware distributions:

Freeware is software that is provided at no charge. Thus, it can be binary distributions of proprietary software, or it can include the source code under a particular license.

Shareware is software that is usually crippled in some way (eg. a limited time trial). The user then must purchase a license to receive the unlimited version of the software. Shareware is normally distributed as binaries.

Software licenses:

The GPL is a software license agreement. Software under this license must be distributed with the source code, including any derived works.

The LGPL is like the GPL but it allows for proprietary software. IE, derived software does not have to be distributed as source code.

The BSD license basically just requires people to include the original notes of copyright/ownership in redistributions.
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Re: GPL?
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2004, 03:22:26 pm »

If all you want to do is play it, any "open source" license (GPL and BSD are the most common) is indistinguishable from freeware.  

The tricky bits have to do with distribution.

Most freeware by that name has a "non-commercial" restriction on it -- if you distribute it, you can't charge for it without written permission from the authors.

This is not true for GPL/BSD.  If somebody wanted to, they could try to package it on a CD and sell it for money, royalty free, provided they followed the rules about distribution (to wit: credit the authors, include a copy of the license, and, in the case of the GPL, include the source code.)  They also can't stop other people from mirroring it for free afterwards, so it wouldn't work on its own as a business plan.

That's not usually what happens though (and it sounds like an abuse, put like that!) -- what usually happens is somebody's assembling a collection of otherwise-free software and wants to sell that collection.  With freeware, doing this is a breach of copyright unless you get the permission of all the authors.  That gets unwieldy if not impossible fast for large projects.  UQM already has many, many people with chunks of code copyrighted to them (sift through the ChangeLog to see the full list of contributors).  The various Linux Distros can bundle UQM with their CDs if they want because the license we got the code from TFB with demands that we license our changes identically, and this license also permits it to be incorporated into collections that are then sold commercially.  (With noncommercial-use-only freeware licenses, Linux Distros could have UQM available for download from their website, but couldn't stick it on the CDs in their boxed sets.  Sort of a pain for everyone concerned, and it doesn't make anyone any money except for ISPs that charge by the megabyte.)

So.  Let's play with the word 'free' for the three different licenses.

The BSD license grants you the most freedom; you can do just about anything with BSD code except falsely claim you wrote it.

The GPL makes the program as an entity the most free.  Code distributed under GPL and only under GPL is effectively immune to any vendor/distributor lock-in tactics.  (lightman, this is the rationale behind the otherwise bizarre claim that BSD-licensed code is 'less free' than GPL-licensed code because the BSD license has fewer restrictions.)  The Creative Commons site has a version of the GPL that's in English instead of in legalese.

Freeware programs are guaranteed to be available for zero cost, all the time.  Since you can usually find the first two free somewhere, and because programmer types are much happier when they can hack on the programs themselves, freeware in the classic sense is becoming rarer and rarer.  You usually only see it in small games with a single author.
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