[Fwd: FW: For Approval: Generic Attribution Provision]

Craig Muth craig.mu at gmail.com
Fri Dec 15 15:57:45 UTC 2006

Michael Tiemann wrote:
> I disagree with this idea.  I disagree that distribution and profit is,
> in and of itself, bad for open source.  There are many, many cases where

I disagree with that idea as well.  As I said...

> > to the extent that others do.  I do think that such support companies
> > play an important role and are beneficial to the open source movement,
> > sometimes contributing back to the projects.  However, I don't think

What I proposed was bad for open source was specifically when
companies rebrand and charge money without contributing back.

Since you mentioned Redhat specifically, I'll say that I think Redhat
has been quite good for open source.  I'm not among those who scorn
Redhat for the rebranding of bits.  I've used Redhat quite a bit and
don't grudge the big red hat logo in the least.

Redhat is an example of a company that took a large general-purpose
project with many talented contributors (Linux) and itself became a
contributor, at the same time as making a healthy profit from it
(regarding which I repeat that I applaud).

Not all projects are like this though.  Not all projects have a huge
group of contributors to leverage.  Many projects deal with a very
specific application or component, and can't reasonably expect help
from contributors.  This is why the OSI has approved more than just
the GPL - because not all projects are alike.

> I've already addressed this, but can you imagine "Powered by
> Shakespeare" at the bottom of every movie that has a plot that can be
> related to one of his works?

I'm not sure the Shakespeare analogy is easily applicable to software.
 To offer another analogy, I would suggest Redhat wouldn't have
begrudged Torvalds requesting a modest link to his home page show up
in the UI's of Linux forks, even though he of course did not request
this.  I would also suggest that after Linux became an entity unto
itself, with thousands of contributors, he likely would have have
relinquished any attribution demand, had he made any.  The obvious
retort is "what about a giant 'powered by Linus' logo on the X
desktop?"  To this I would reply that I agree that a compromise should
be found.

--Craig Muth

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