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Like , and the , is yet another attempt at mususing the term to describe the software license equivalent of the licenses in the suite:
licensezero.com/

I sympathize with the concern driving these hybrid license experiments. I agree corporations parasitizing the software is a problem. But to me, the deeper problem is the corporation being the dominant model of political-economic governance. The more radical solution is replacing tech corporations (and startups aiming for IPO or acquisition) with networks of co-ops, which can collaborate to make sure all commons contributors can thrive. But these hybrid licenses make that harder.

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When the phrase "" was coined, as a rebranding of "free software", the theory was that explaining the concept in more business-friendly language would make businesses more willing to release the code they fund as . 20 years later, the results are in, and it turns out that theory was wrong. We can debate at length about *why* tech companies extract far more value from free code than they contribute back to it, but that's what happens and there's no sign that's going to change.

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So maybe talking more about was actually the stronger pitch after all? Maybe finding organizations that care about people's freedoms, and the democracies that depend on those freedoms, and talking to them about funding free code development is the way to go? Eg:
zdnet.com/article/eu-to-fund-b

But a big part of this pitch is the software being usable by any member of the global public, for anything, as per the Free Software Definition.

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@strypey I agree with the network of co-ops approach (and am preparing to start a small co-op focused on free software) but at the same time I understand the need for such licences. Just like an artist can choose the non-commercial Creative Commons clause, developers need options to increase their likelihood of making a livelihood (or at least, avoid the frustration of capitalists exploiting their labour for profit). This is especially true for solutions geared at end users (eg. SaaS apps or platforms) compared to infrastructure utilities or libraries/frameworks, which is where I see the biggest gaps (since most open source created within companies focuses on more generic lower level code rather than the functionality their business model depends on).

@mayel people experimenting with 'No Commercial Use' software licenses are well within their right to do so, just like people using other kinds of proprietary licensing. But calling that software "open source" is misleading. It isn't. Like "free software", the phrase "open source" has a widely accepted definition that has been around as long as the phrase itself. Total freedom of commercial use is explicitly required to meet either definition.

@strypey and because they didn't embrace the term #FreeSoftware, it enabled the hi-jacking of it for describing gratis proprietary software. University IT departments have a "Free Software" page and when you go there it's junk like MS Office.

@strypey

Have you heard about Tidelift?
They are comitted to help maintainers get paid and by that keep softwares alive and up-to-date.

I feel it's a great step towards "fixing" the taking-without-giving mindset.

tidelift.com/

@noplanman yup, there are dozens of these projects. and , and , , and many more. Figuring out which one(s) to use and how to get them to work for you is hard. I've written about some of the reasons why:
coactivate.org/projects/disint

The criticism coming from the No Commercial Use crowd is that these aren't bringing in a living wage for most core maintainers, let alone the same 6 figure salaries as working for the and VC-funded startups.

@strypey
I don't think the theory said anything about whether they'll contribute back more than the value they extract. And if as you said, the theory was that businesses will be more willing to release the code they fund, then I think the theory was right. Linux kernel is one example, but I'm sure there are many other projects where most contributors' emails end with a domain of a company who needs that project to run their business.

So I'd say the theory worked, but it missed the point. We didn't forsee the side effects. We didn't predict SaaS.

@Wolf480pl
> I don't think the theory said anything about whether they'll contribute back

The pitch was that the corporate sector would fund most free code development (though there would still be hobbyists/ students making unpaid contributions). The argument was that talking about software freedom would scare them off and prevent that. Turns out that despite "open source" becoming the standard term, not-for-profit entities (including co-ops) still fund far more free code dev than for-profits.

@strypey
>> I don't think the theory said anything about whether they'll contribute back

Don't twist my words.
I said:

> whether they'll contribute back MORE than the value they extract

It obviously said they will contribute back. And they do. Your argument was that they extract more value than they contribute.

Now I have no idea how one'd measure how much value is "extracted", especially that using a piece of code doesn't diminish its value to other users.

Anyway:

You're saying that we hoped that most of the work would be corporate-funded. Well, in some projects, like Linux Kernel, it is[1] - apparently only 16% of the contributions were from unpaid volunteers.

OTOH, there are projects like OpenSSL and GPG which are short on manpower because everybody uses them but nobody wants to maintain them, except for a few volunteers.

So I think there's some nuance there. Some projects succeeded according to the theory. Some ended up in big trouble. Some have proprietary forks offered as SaaS. But what determines how a particular project ends up? What is the reason some of them benefit from corporate interest, and others suffer from it?

[1]: linux.com/tutorials/counting-c

While I do understand your points about terminology @strypey I do think that language changes over time, and if you're worried about confusion, I am not opposed to either:
1. clarify this as dual licensing "free software + conditional license" (like MySQL and other projects already do)
2. call it something else entirely (Commons Code? Peerware? Coop Source?)

IMO it's more important to discuss the actual issues and to experiment with solutions than to get stuck in strictly interpreting old labels and rules, which just leads to going around in circles (like the recent disagreements around Fedilab and F-droid, or about constitutional amendments in the US...)

@mayel @strypey
>clarify this as dual licensing

technically dual licensing is when the user can choose which of the two licenses they wish to accept, which AFAIK is not the case here.

IMO, a new name would be a better idea.

@Wolf480pl @strypey

> technically dual licensing is when the user can choose which of the two licenses they wish to accept, which AFAIK is not the case here

Well the user (project initiator) can choose whether to set up as a individual/not-for-profit/cooperative project vs. as a for-profit/extractive business. (This is meant to be semi-sarcastic, and a mockery of people who claim that freedom exists within wage labour, as you can choose whether to sign a contract or not.)

@mayel @strypey
By "the user" I meant "any person obtaining a copy of this software" eg. a random person who just stumbled upon the project on github. Not project initiator.

Oh, you meant that private comercial license you can buy from the author as an alternative to the public license on the code... well, ok, that is dual licensing. I thought you were referring to "free software license + additional restriction" like with the "Commons Clause" as dual licensing, that's what confused me.

@Wolf480pl @strypey

Right, and actually isn't this specific license (License Zero has two different ones for project creators to choose from) more like a reinforced AGPL, it has no restriction on commercial use, just strong requirements to contribute back: https://licensezero.com/licenses/parity

@mayel @strypey
yeah this one looks interesting, but I'm not sure how effective it would be against "I'm not doing anything that would infringe copyright", eg. SaaS. Patents would probably give it more teeth, but AFAIK only corpos can afford patents...
Would also be interesting to see OSI or FSF's opinion on the license, maybe it would actually qualify as a Free Software or Open Source license.

@Wolf480pl @mayel @strypey I've heard Redis uses the term "Source Available Software" now.

@alcinnz @mayel @strypey
well that AFAIK is a broader term for anything where the source code is available, including every license from "you can read the code but don't use it" to WTFPL. Having such a broad term is good, but a term to refer specifically to those non-commercial-and-similar licenses would probably be helpful too.

@alcinnz if they've stopped misusing "open source" to describe what they're doing, that's progress. "source available" reminds me of McSoft's "" ...
@Wolf480pl @mayel

@Wolf480pl @strypey

There have been growing calls for unionising within software jobs. What if in our world that means (in part) revamping our licensing models to make them care more about the workers and how our work is exploited.

@mayel @strypey
I'm not against that. Just don't hijack existing established terms.
Come up with a new name and use that.

@mayel
the reason I'm being fussy about terminology is that there are *reasons* the were defined as they were. It's not like the Project folks didn't think through the potential consequences of including unrestricted commercial use in the freedoms their licenses protect. But they concluded that the cost of limiting commercial re-use outweighs the benefits and saw as a better solution.
(1/?)
@Wolf480pl

@mayel
Most of the projects complaining about parasitic use and proposing these commercial use limits release their software under non-copyleft licenses. Why? Because they *want* greater uptake by companies that don't want to use copyleft softwarw that obliges them to contribute back. Then when they get exactly that, they complain about it. The solution seems obvious: copyleft. But instead they try to have their cake and eat it too, with these vanity licenses.
(2/?)
@Wolf480pl

@mayel the deeper problem I see with trying to restrict commercial use is that it's the wrong target. There are, as @Wolf480pl points out, plenty of commercial entities, even corporations, that *do* contribute back to the free code projects they use, through hiring contributors, funding community infrastructure. etc There are also plenty of large, non-commercial entities (both govermental and NGO) that parasite off free code when they can afford to contribute. The issue is reciprocity.
(3/?)

@mayel the deeper problem I see with trying to restrict commercial use is that it's the wrong target. There are, as @Wolf480pl points out, plenty of commercial entities, even corporations, that *do* contribute back to the free code projects they use, through hiring contributors, funding community infrastructure. etc There are also plenty of large, non-commercial entities (both govermental and NGO) that parasite off free code when they can afford to contribute. The issue is reciprocity.
(3/?)

@mayel
I agree with @strypey here, but I also think a major part of why terminology matters here is that some of those new licenses and the people behind them seem like they're trying to hijack the "Free Software" or "Open Source" terms for their new ideas which are different than and incompatible with FOSS. It feels like they're trying to hijack our community.

I have nothing against someone trying to form a new community around a new type of licensing, and even invite some dissatisfied members of our community to their side. Try it, see if it works, let the experiment decide which is a better idea.

But don't try to pretend to be us.

Come up with your own name, write your own manifesto, and build your own reputation, instead of trying to hijack ours.

@Wolf480pl

So we're clear, I am not involved in any of those project, nor am I lobbying for them. I do think they've got some points though, and I'm kinda surprised at how strongly you are reacting against them. For one, I haven't seen any of them trying to hijack FOSS (do you have links?)

I need to finish some work, but will come back to the thread when I can...

@strypey

@mayel @strypey
The "Commons Clause" did try IIRC,
and I'm speaking mainly of this one, as I'm most familiar with it.

Then I kind of stopped caring and started putting them all in the same bin, which is ofc lazy as fuck and not very objective.

Maybe I was too aggressive in my last post. Just want to draw the line really hard in hopes that nobody will try the hijacking part ever again.

@mayel
> I haven't seen any of them trying to hijack FOSS

What's meant by that is most of the people pushing these shareware licenses have claimed the projects are still "open source" (they're not), thus hijacking the goodwill associated with that term. The Licence0 blog is full of references to "open source" and claims that relicensing code (so it's no longer open source although they obfuscate that) solves the open source funding crisis. It can't.
@Wolf480pl

@mayel shareware isn't a new model. It didn't work in the 90s when they tried to get money out of enterprise users and it's unlikely to work now. I don't mind them trying as long as they're honest that it means giving up on open source, not finding a novel way to fund it.
@Wolf480pl

@strypey @mayel @Wolf480pl Is there a GPL version that excludes commercial use of a project? Its upsetting to me that the corporate world largely runs on FOSS software that nobody was paid fair wages for creating and they use that infrastructure to line their CEO's pockets. I think its time for tech workers to organize, and stronger licensing to protect against corporate misuse should be at the center of that fight.

@curufuin
> Is there a GPL version that excludes commercial use of a project?

No. That would be a proprietary license.

> Its upsetting to me that the corporate world largely runs on FOSS software that nobody was paid fair wages for creating and they use that infrastructure to line their CEO's pockets.

Despite all the recent magical thinking about what copyright licensing can make people do, pseudo-open licenses cannot solve this problem. See:
mastodon.nzoss.nz/@strypey/102

@strypey @curufuin

I get paid fair wages to work on foss though 🤔

its a problem, but not totally intractable

@strypey I think your mis-understanding my intentions, its not to create proprietary code, but as with non-commercial licenses for music I want to limit the ability for capitalist exploiters to use code to make themselves rich and not pay the developers, not close it for normal non-commercial or non-commercial derivatives. If commercial interests want to use code, they should pay the developers some fair share of what they made using it. I am in no way talking about walling off source code.

@curufuin I understand and sympathize with your goals, but ..

> non-commercial licenses for music

... are proprietary licenses. Also, there is no clear consensus about the boundary lines between commercial use and non-commercial use, despite doing a massive consultation on this a few years ago.

> I am in no way talking about walling off source code.

That may not be your intention, but that's what no-commerial-use licenses do. See:
mastodon.nzoss.nz/@strypey/103

@strypey i've had some serious thoughts about using license zero for something.

i've spent a lot of hours having to teach myself how to code (no mentors, virtually never any help to speak of), giving most of what i've coded away for free, and the sum total i've gotten in return is not any of those things you speak of (jobs, grants, invitations to anything.) several years of dealing with open source and the total amount of money i've gotten was enough to buy one meal at a pancake shop.

i've been told i won't get paid because the person "just doesn't do crowdfunding, or microtransactions" and other shit like this.

i kind of see L0 as more the last ditch effort of people who still kind of believe in the mission of being able to customize your own hardware, but they are not the 0.1% of FOSS developers who get any real amount of support from anyone.

literally making shit quality porn games in twine has a higher likelihood of getting subsistence income than FOSS is to get you anything.
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