In a strange turn of fate, my post of a couple of days ago on software licenses (‘What Rights do software developers have‘) appears to coincide with a Jeff Atwood post about licensing. As they are both dated the same, the casual observer would assume that (as I make no secret of reading his blog) that I had echoed his sentiments in my own way, without reference to him.
I am pleased to report that I tend to see his blogs around two days behind the apparent creation date… I don’t know why, perhaps some issues with caching of web pages or simply a delayed publishing schedule. Anyway, the result is that I certainly wrote before him or at around the same time 🙂
Just the kind of thing to make certain people talk about ‘deeper connections’ and spirituality, when logical people will take a wild guess and estimate that there were several hundred blog entries about licenses written on the 3rd of April, all written independently.
Anyway, Jeff’s post is worth a read; though he concentrates on the ‘free’ licensing side of things.
More on Licensing
Just as Jeff talks about ‘free’ licenses, with different levels of requirements, my post the other day made me wish for an independent commercial licensing scheme for businesses. They’d be written in plain-English (French, German, whatever) not legalese, and be tolerably fair to both parties. I guess my assumption is that they would be targeted towards small businesses (of any kind – e-commerce, software creation, etc)… but if it all worked out well and people appreciated the clarity, they could even be used by bigger companies in a drive to appear more human!
Now that probably is hoping for a bit much… especially as I guess a major complicating factor is that the legal obligations in different countries can be so different.
A Final Word
I’m aware that some of my comments from the other day probably sounded a bit mercenary. Here I am talking about protecting the rights of software producers, and in contrast there are thousands of people across the globe contributing to open-source projects every day. To put it bluntly, I believe in paid-for software… not every aspect of it, but I believe that in most cases, a supplier has a reasonable right to choose how to do business. If that ‘supplier’ happens to choose to give their time free-of-charge, well done them. If they choose to charge for their time or product, that’s fair enough too.
As for me, I’d like to be making my living from software again. I very much want to get back into a business environment where someone pays me to code (or even to support code)… and in that circumstance, maybe I’d be willing to contribute some free time to software (careful, of course, that my contract allowed me to work on ‘my own thing’ outside of work hours)… or maybe to other voluntary work. But, without the security of a pay-packet right now, I simply have to look at software I’m writing and ask the question; “Is this worth something to someone… and will they pay for it?”