[MonoDevelop] Licensing concerns.

Bernhard Spuida bernhard@icsharpcode.net
Wed, 14 Jul 2004 19:00:56 +0200

Hello all,
> > >What is a shame is that MonoDevelop will *never* be able to run
> > >proprietary plugins, or use plugins that are incompatible with the GPL,
> > >since it would require every author from the original SharpDevelop and
> > >MonoDevelop to relicense their contributions.
> > >
> > >I know that you are interested in licensing the SharpDevelop core and
> > >you own the copyright to all the code, but MonoDevelop is no longer
> > >owned by you, so without every contributor in MonoDevelop agreeing to
> > >this change we are screwed.
> > >
> > >Hence why MonoDevelop is at disadvantage with Eclipse.
> > 
> > MD is a fork of SharpDevelop which is a GPL application, so the MD 
> > developers *had* to know what they were doing.
> You are absolutely right.
> Am presenting my analysis here, remember, I have to support Eclipse ;-)
> And may this serve as a lesson in the future as a practical problems of
> the GPL in community-based development.

I would rather generalise: Open Source is not a carefree happy 
coder's paradise, however tempting this idealistic point of view may 
be. Same as in commercial code development, licensing, correct 
attribution of copyright and related issues do matter, whether we 
like it or not.
Lessons learned:

1) Choose carefully which license you want to use for your project. 
Do so before making your code public. (In Mike's case, going GPL was 
a deliberate choice and he stands by it.) Consider what this might 
mean in the future - will it limit popular adoption? Do I care about 
popularity - and possible commercial success?

2) If you plan to reuse code from other projects, fork a project or 
depend on previous work, familiarize yourself with the implications 
of the licenses and legal issues involved. Just skimming the preamble 
of a legal text is not enough.

3) For your project, set up a proper process for assignment and 
attribution of copyrights. Painful as this may look at first sight, 
it will save a lot of trouble later on. Recent legal developments 
have proven this. And we may assume this to get more of an issue in 
the future.

I am also less than happy about the turn things took, but time cannot 
be turned back and decisions cannot be unmade.

                     Bernhard Spuida
                     #develop senior word wrangler

I'm sure a mathematician would claim that 0 and 1 are both very 
numbers. :-) -- Larry Wall in <199707300650.XAA05515@wall.org>