Saturday, March 27, 2010

elocator-0.1

I've just released elocator-0.1 on SourceForge. The locator should be able to:

  • scan a dir
  • determine the label and type of the media containing the dir
  • support media organizing into subfolders
  • media can be drag'n'dropped around
  • save and load catalogs
Release 0.2 should bring searching based on file's name, while release 0.3 should bring user text info and importing CdCat catalogs.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

elocator

I'm still upset by my revelation about GPL and AGPL and I still believe that more than 90% of people using these licenses really don't understand that somebody can abuse them.

Nevertheless, I'm not for license proliferation and I understand that a new license would simply confuse people. Even though I was thinking on creating something like IPLv3 or something like the VIM license, I've decided to go with something that I was very happy till recently: the AGPLv3.

Now to the real stuff: elocator.

elocator is my latest creation. It is written in C++ and uses QT4 for the most of the fun stuff, but also a bit of GIO from GLIB (until I find a way to get the info provided by GIO using DBUS or the QT4 api).

It started from my frustration with the current CD/DVD archiving tools on Linux. I've been using for some time CdCat, but development on CdCat was stopped quite a long time ago and its limitations are starting to annoy me too much (for example, recently CdCat started reporting DVDs as CDs and is no longer able to get their labels). I've also looked for some alternative to CdCat but found none acceptable (there were some similar programs written in C#, but I don't want to get bad karma by using Mono, so I've stayed away from them :-D ).

I've also started relearning QT4 around 4 months ago and needed something to sharpen my QT4 skills with.

As stated on elocator's page, the program is quite in its early stages. With the current snapshot you should be able to scan a media and save it into a catalog. No search yet. But the labels and media are reported correctly. You can also reorganize the catalog by creating folders and by drag'n'drop (other missing features of CdCat that annoyed me a lot).

elocator was developed and tested only on Ubuntu 9.10.

Friday, March 05, 2010

iplv3 is free software

Before my previous two posts about GPLv3, I have put the same questions to FSF and on a Romanian mailing list where many Romanians discuss such issues. While I still wait for an answer from FSF, some of my fellow Romanians were quick to accuse me:
  • that what I want is shareware or freeware, but not free software
  • that I sound like a communist
  • that what I want is immoral and not sustainable
However:
  • after checking The Free Software Definition I fail to see why IPLv3 wouldn't be a free license
  • calling me names is irrelevant to the issue at hand
  • I fail to see why what I want is immoral
  • I am not interested here in susteinability

A friend (the one that brought all this to my attention) also mentioned that, if I forbid somebody to sell my software, I might be accused of trying to infringe some rights or break some law.

IPLv3 doesn't forbid you to sell my software or its modifications. It simply forces you to distribute the modified sources under IPLv3 to anybody that asks for this, not only to those that buy the software from you. This is the only difference from IPLv3 and AGPLv3 (if the wording of IPLv3 makes you think something else, it is a bad wording, not my intention - I'm a physicist/software developer, after all, not a lawyer - and please let me know so that I can correct it).

I really don't understand why GPLv3 a/o AGPLv3 are not requiring this.

If there is a legal reason to avoid this, it should be clearly stated as a necessary evil and the FSF should explain why they had to do it.

ionutz public license v3

As stated in a previous post, I am deeply troubled by my new understanding of GPL and AGPL licenses.

Because I am not sure Creative Commons is what I really need, I have taken AGPLv3 and modified it to address my concerns. The results is the IPLv3 (from IONUTZ Public License). Stupid name, isn't it? It is version 3 only because it is taken from AGPLv3. I have sent it to FSF for comments, but I don't expect any answer soon, if any (useful). The formating of the IPLv3 was kept to a minimum in order to simplify diff-ing against AGPLv3.

Am I overreacting on the Montavista issue? I don't know. Maybe...

PS: If you have a better name for this, please make your proposal. My goal in all this is not to have a license named after me :-)

Thursday, March 04, 2010

bitter epiphany about gpl

This week I had a bitter epiphany about GPL - it is not what I have believed it to be for 12 years and it doesn't protect my work from company M. that can take it, change it a little and sell it without distributing to everybody the changes.

It would have been ok if GPL forced company M. to distribute those changes to everybody.

Unfortunately, GPL doesn't do this. On the contrary:
  • if company M. chooses to distribute the modified code as source, nothing from section 5 of GPLv3 forces it to distribute the code to anybody else but those who pay for the code. 
  • if company M. chooses to distribute the modified code as binary, they can do so under the terms of 6a from GPLv3. Company M. doesn't have to give the changes to anybody else, because article 6 allows company M. to choose any of the available options.
An example of such a company is Montavista Linux. They have taken the Linux kernel and the GCC and modified it. They distribute the changed binaries only to those that buy Montavista Linux from them. Of course, they also distribute the modified sources to their customers.

When a friend of mine, a third-party, requested the modified sources, their reply was "show me your Montavista license and how did you obtain it".
    Some might say that all this is a false problem. That anybody that buys the sources from Montavista can distribute later the modified sources, without breaking any license agreement or law. That is true, but impractical because:
    • it would require somebody to buy a Montavista product every time they make a new release
    • Montavista could decide that, because you've posted the code in the past, your next license should be much more expencive
    • they might simply decide they don't want to sell to you once you've posted their changes
    I would be more than happy to be in the wrong regarding GPLv3 or Montavista.

    But until somebody can convince me of this, I will stop using GPLv3 and look for something else.

    My software is neither the Linux kernel, nor the GCC. They are small programs that I do in my spare time and that I want to share with other people. And I don't want to have some shameless company profit of my work.

    For the moment, the closest thing to what I want is Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike. I have seen in many places, including on CC and FSF sites, that the above license should not be used for licensing software.

    But what other choice do I have?