Monday, October 29, 2007

This Is Why I Hate Software Cults.

I’ve said it before, and I’m saying it again. Software and licenses for same are not a religion and SHOULD NOT BE.

Today, when news that Sun has Dual-Licensed Netbeans 6 in their own OSI-approved CDDL license and GLPv2 (not 3) hit Slashdot, there were a few people who slammed them for not being really “committed to Free Software.”

I wanted to strangle people. I know it sounds stupid, but after so long of dealing with people slamming you and people you actually know because you don’t open source *everything* that you write, you’d understand.

First off, no kidding Sun isn’t committed to “Free” software (“Free” software is a subset of Open Source software and it galls Stallman that Open Source has more support than "Free" does because the rest of the world isn't into the moral crusade). They don’t buy into the moral crusade. The fact that both of the licenses are OSI approved, but one of them is not “Free” should tell you that.

Secondly, how dare a company or a person decide to use a license only when it makes sense to do so? The shock and horror. (Pardon me while I roll my eyes).

Not all people who use or advocate Open Source are zealots. I’m not.

Some of us actually realize that tools are meant to be tools and not religions. Sometimes you use a screwdriver, sometimes a hacksaw, sometimes a hammer…

The zealots, on the other hand, view everything as a nail. The great irony is that most of the zealots that I’ve met don’t release *anything* into the community. Heck, probably 90% of them I’ve met don’t even *code*. The other 10% is generally idealistic high school and college students who haven’t been into the world yet.

Most of them just want to bash Microsoft because they can’t get a copy of Visual Studio for free. (Ironically, I only paid about $11 for mine. Legally, from Microsoft. You have to love promotions)

The heck of it is that I’ve known a lot of developers that have stopped releasing *anything* as open source because they were tired of the backlash because, no matter what they did, no matter what they released, they were still evil because they didn’t release *everything* as open.

As a result, the zealots now get nothing from those people and neither does anyone else. How’s that for helping the cause you claim to espouse?

The zealots are a bunch of ingrates, and I would love to add a clause to my license to prevent them from using my software, but that would be childish. Instead, I just grit my teeth and release things under whatever license I bloody well want.

Some of it’s open. Some of it isn’t.

Use it or don’t. That’s your choice. What I do with it is mine unless someone else owns the rights to it after it’s made.

Current mood: annoyed
Current music: Matthew Sweet – Silent City

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