17 votes

Developer nukes his extensively used JS libraries to protest corporate use without compensation

17 comments

  1. [6]
    xstresedg
    Link
    I'm not upset that he did this (and I find it extremely entertaining), but I'm also not surprised at GitHub's response, or the response of those against this. It was his choice to utilize the...

    I'm not upset that he did this (and I find it extremely entertaining), but I'm also not surprised at GitHub's response, or the response of those against this. It was his choice to utilize the particular licensing he used that allowed his work to be used by for-profit devs. You can't give out something for free for everyone and then be mad that someone used it for free and made money, while you made nothing. Reminds me of the meme "throw pls. no take, only throw"

    10 votes
    1. [4]
      inwardpath
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Agreed, I don't understand the expectation that corporations owe him anything for his freely-given work. Doesn't that violate the spirit of FOSS anyway? I get that not all FOSS advocates...

      Agreed, I don't understand the expectation that corporations owe him anything for his freely-given work. Doesn't that violate the spirit of FOSS anyway? I get that not all FOSS advocates necessarily feel positively about corporations- but if it's built with the spirit of can be used by anyone freely, surely the developer has to understand that any doesn't exclude commercial use...

      Only if the work was licensed with different requirements that were somehow violated by a corporate entity (regarding commercial use, compensation, contribution, etc), would his frustration make sense logically. I get that it makes sense emotionally- tough to be putting time and effort into something and then watching it benefit people or organizations with lots of money without that making it back to the dev, but that frustration should be tempered by understanding the context/license/environment of his own work, enough not to recklessly take it out on others

      10 votes
      1. [3]
        Apos
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        The way I see FOSS, it's a business model where you produce value for more than just yourself. Even if the license doesn't say so, it makes sense for those that profit to share some of that back...

        The way I see FOSS, it's a business model where you produce value for more than just yourself. Even if the license doesn't say so, it makes sense for those that profit to share some of that back with you or the community.

        I read some of the book Debt: The First 5000 Years (didn't finish it yet). There's a part where the author talks about dept between neighbors. You do something nice for them and there's an expectation that they'll return the favor. This is the scenario:

        Henry walks up to Joshua and says, "Nice shoes!"
        Or, perhaps-let's make this a bit more realistic-Henry's wife is chatting with Joshua's and strategically lets slip that the state of Henry's shoes is getting so bad he's complaining about corns.
        The message is conveyed, and Joshua comes by the next day to offer his extra pair to Henry as a present, insisting that this is just a neighborly gesture. He would certainly never want anything in return.
        It doesn't matter whether Joshua is sincere in saying this. By do­ing so, Joshua thereby registers a credit. Henry owes him one.
        How might Henry pay Joshua back? There are endless possi­bilities. Perhaps Joshua really does want potatoes. Henry waits a discrete interval and drops them off, insisting that this too is just a gift. Or Joshua doesn't need potatoes now but Henry waits until he does. Or maybe a year later, Joshua is planning a banquet, so he comes strolling by Henry's barnyard and says "Nice pig . . ."

        I could see this dynamic being applied to FOSS regardless of the license.

        If that's the case, then that would explain why:

        I get that not all FOSS advocates necessarily feel positively about corporations

        They break the neighborly dept.

        6 votes
        1. skybrian
          Link Parent
          Sure, there are cultures like this but there is no single Internet culture, much as some people would like to pretend. I think we should resist the spread of a tradition where people put one deal...

          Sure, there are cultures like this but there is no single Internet culture, much as some people would like to pretend. I think we should resist the spread of a tradition where people put one deal in writing and have an implicit different deal, because it leads to misunderstandings when people of different cultures meet. Some misunderstandings are going to happen anyway but it helps if everyone at least tries to write down what they actually mean. If they're not cool with the terms of any open source licenses, they should use some other license that better expresses what they want.

          Also, part of the point of open source is that you don't have any relationship with most people who use your software. You don't even know who they are most of the time. Whatever you put in writing is often the only thing they know about your intent. It's like a message in a bottle, something that will still be useful to others even if you disappear off the Internet. This isn't like being a neighbor.

          This isn't the only way to do things, though. If you want there to be a relationship then you can release software under some kind of evaluation license and ask them to contact you if they want other terms.

          4 votes
        2. inwardpath
          Link Parent
          I suppose, but honestly it needs to be explicit then, not just some hidden understood tradition or expectation. I also think it is fine for some FOSS to exist where the project does not expect...

          I suppose, but honestly it needs to be explicit then, not just some hidden understood tradition or expectation. I also think it is fine for some FOSS to exist where the project does not expect something in return out of those that use the project. In either case, I would prefer the expectation be explicitly stated.

          Though this is at a micro/personal level- when it comes to gifting, if I give someone a gift, I expect nothing in return and I actively and quite strongly do not like the idea that regardless of my active desire for there to be no string attached to my gift, that the receiver still places this obligation on themselves to return the favor because of some cultural or psychological phenomenon we've forced upon our collective psyche. That feels toxic to me.

          2 votes
    2. anakaine
      Link Parent
      Theres also the matter of how how to actually pay when part of a big corporation or government entity. In most cases there are policies and procedures that dictate things like: paying with...

      Theres also the matter of how how to actually pay when part of a big corporation or government entity. In most cases there are policies and procedures that dictate things like: paying with corporate card, purchase orders, licensing reviews which have their own policies which imply a level of support must be given by the vendor for paid products, etc. In the end you are either for profit with catering all these things in place, or you are not. There isn't much middle ground when it comes to big corporation or government accounting. I can get a million dollar contract across the line as the procuring director/manager/officer, I can also make the case for internal support of FOSS where it is used, what i cannot do is make a compelling case within expenditure guidelines to pay an amount via patreon, etc.

      7 votes
  2. [2]
    AugustusFerdinand
    Link

    It appears that an open-source developer has intentionally fried two widely used javascript libraries. The commits to faker.js and colors.js caused programs using them to get stuck in an infinite loop.

    Developers use the faker library to generate fake contextual data for testing or demos, while colors adds color to javascript consoles. Thousands of programs use these public packages, with faker seeing around 2.5 million weekly downloads and another 22.4 million per week for colors.

    6 votes
    1. suspended
      Link Parent
      A colleague of mine wrote some very powerful software while working at his bank. The bank told him that since he wrote it on their computers he could not have the rights to it and the bank kept it...

      A colleague of mine wrote some very powerful software while working at his bank. The bank told him that since he wrote it on their computers he could not have the rights to it and the bank kept it for themselves. So, my colleague placed a 'time bomb' in the software and one week later the software was useless.

      The bank was incredibly upset at first. But then one of the higher-ups promoted him and made him the head of software packaging for the entire company. He's loaded! LOL

      4 votes
  3. [6]
    Toric
    Link
    This is the problem with all permissive licences. Should have made it GPL or another copyleft licence.

    This is the problem with all permissive licences.

    Should have made it GPL or another copyleft licence.

    6 votes
    1. [5]
      petrichor
      Link Parent
      Out of curiosity - is there a "standard" license that is GPL-like for individuals, but where corporations must pay you to use your work?

      Out of curiosity - is there a "standard" license that is GPL-like for individuals, but where corporations must pay you to use your work?

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        Toric
        Link Parent
        if the GPL is unpalatable for a corporation, they will simply either not use it, or reach out to the copyright owner for an individual license. (The GPL does not ind the author in any way,...

        if the GPL is unpalatable for a corporation, they will simply either not use it, or reach out to the copyright owner for an individual license. (The GPL does not ind the author in any way, excepting that the license is perpetual. The author is free to license the work to individuals under terms of their choosing.)

        Alternatively, if your project is art, not code, you could use creative commons share-alike noncommercial, but keep in mind that that keeps it from being used in any commercial context, including things like one-person home businesses and the like. Businesses would have to get their own license the same way as I described above. For code, i'm unaware of a copyleft license that is easy to modify to include a non-commercial clause, as code based copyleft licenses have quite a few edge cases to cover.

        Regardless, restricting the usage of your software in your license violates both criteria 6 of the definition of open source software as well as freedom 0 of free software.

        IMHO, I license all my code under GPLv3 (or AGPL if its a server-side product), as while I don't care if a company uses it, I do very much care if someone (an individual or a company) uses it to create a proprietary product. That's the fundamental issue here, is a company using a piece of software without giving any changes they make back to the community. Its what separates Linux from BSD, for example. BSD was yoinked by apple, and while BSD is still developed by its own developers, apple has never (and likely will never) give back the numerous changes they have made. Linux, on the other hand, cannot really be 'yoinked' in the same way. (that is, as long copyright holders are willing to litigate GPL violations, which is why said litigation is important.) Any company that tries to add their own modifications without releasing said modifications can be sued with penalties up to and including an injunction preventing the company from distributing the product in question.

        I guess this post is long enough I should reiterate my final point... While there are ways to do what you want to, the point of open source is not to restrict who can use the software, or what they can use it for. Its a way of keeping the software open, no matter who takes up the torch of the developer.

        7 votes
        1. hook
          Link Parent
          If you are looking for Creative Commons Like software licenses, there are the Polyform project licenses. I have not looked into them enough yet to form a proper opinion on them, but am in general...

          If you are looking for Creative Commons Like software licenses, there are the Polyform project licenses.

          I have not looked into them enough yet to form a proper opinion on them, but am in general wary of non-commercial (and similar) clauses, as they tend to have a much broader impact than people may think.

          E.g. does commercial use also prevent you from having ads or donations support your development?

          3 votes
      2. Apos
        Link Parent
        Some projects have dual licenses. Doing a quick search, it looks like MongoDB is one. Their decision was announced here it seems.

        Some projects have dual licenses. Doing a quick search, it looks like MongoDB is one. Their decision was announced here it seems.

        6 votes
      3. hook
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        There are a few custom ones, none of them are FOSS. Limiting the license to a certain group is against the very definition of Free Software (see Freedom 0 and its further explanation)and Open...

        There are a few custom ones, none of them are FOSS.

        Limiting the license to a certain group is against the very definition of Free Software (see Freedom 0 and its further explanation)and Open Source (see §5 and §6 of Open Source Definition).

        As @Apos said, you can offer the same piece of code under different licenses (as long as you have all the rights to do so!), but the risk there is that if the group you wanted to limit to a non-FOSS license is able to get their hands on the FOSS version and is OK with complying with that license, you need other incentives for them to pay you instead.

        All that being said, FOSS is not a business model. You can fit FOSS into your business model, you can leverage FOSS to benefit your business model, you can create a business model to support your FOSS development and distribution … but ultimately you need to think about both separately and in conjuncture. Both affect each other. And both are affected by the (type of) technology you use and are providing (SaaS, server backend, server frontend, end-user program/app, library, implementation of a standard, hardware with embedded software, etc. etc.).

        If you are interested in these topics, I recommend checking out Principles for Industrial Open Source

        4 votes
  4. [2]
    skybrian
    Link
    It seems this author is having other problems: Hospitalized Queens man charged with reckless endangerment after cops find bomb-making materials in his home
    5 votes
    1. Wes
      Link Parent
      Note this is dated Sept. 16, 2020. Definitely seems to be some "anti-establishment" threads in this fellow.

      Note this is dated Sept. 16, 2020.

      Definitely seems to be some "anti-establishment" threads in this fellow.

      2 votes