[App_rpt-users] Allstar Node

Mike Besemer mwbesemer at cox.net
Wed Dec 26 17:52:12 EST 2018

The point is, Bryan loves to call people criminals but never does anything
to deal with those individuals.  Put up or shut up.

-----Original Message-----
From: App_rpt-users [mailto:app_rpt-users-bounces at lists.allstarlink.org] On
Behalf Of Willem Schreuder
Sent: Wednesday, December 26, 2018 12:45 PM
To: Users of Asterisk app_rpt
Subject: Re: [App_rpt-users] Allstar Node

On Wed, 26 Dec 2018, Mike Besemer wrote:

> So you've file a lawsuit?

I am always surpized how many hams embrace the self-policing for amateur 
radio, but fail to see the similarities with the GNU Public License (GPL) 
for software.

We as hams have the public trust for billions of dollars worth of 
spectrum.  However, this comes with strings attached, in that we must 
promote and expand radio technology, and abide by certain rules.  So when 
there are people who jam some nets, or use the spectrum inappropriately, 
WE take action to address it.  Only in the most eggregious of cases does 
the FCC actually have to take an enforcement action.

Just so with the GPL.  I as a software developer have the benefit of 
billions of dollars worth of free software - a free compiler, a free 
operating system, and yes Jim Dixon's amazing work on Asterisk, all of 
which is covered by the GPL.  Generally the software community 
self-enforces the GPL, and in the vast majority of cases, it is as simple 
as releasing the code.  I do this because it is my obligation under the 
GPL, but I also license new work under the GPL because other people help 
improve what I started, and I still largely get the credit for it.

Had the authors of Asterisk said:  "We will not release the source code, 
but we will do a fantastic job in making sure Asterisk does all the things 
you want it to do", then Asterisk would have remain a telephone system. 
Only because they released the source code were hams able to extend it to 
do repeater linking.

Only in rare cases where people continue to flaunt the GPL does it take a 
lawsuit to compel compliance, and these rarely go to trial because the 
cost of compliance is so trivial - just release the source code and you 
are in compliance!  However, just like it sometimes takes the FCC to make 
sure that people comply with the conditions of their ham license, 
sometimes it takes legal action to force compliance with the GPL.

In the end the GPL (just like our ham priviliges) is a social contract. 
We are granted an enormously valuable resource on the understanding that 
we will abide by a simple rule:  you have to make your contribution freely 
available to others.

So I sure hope that this doesn't turn into a lawsuit.  That only serves to 
make lawyers rich.  But in the end, it seems to me that the open source 
model has proven to be much more successful in the long run.  I and many 
others have been able to make a decent living despite making our software 
available not just free of charge but free to improve.  And in the process 
I have benefitted both in terms of getting credit for my contributions as 
well as well as from the clever things others have contributed to software 
I wrote.

We don't have to be ugly about it and call people names.  But the GPL is 
pretty black and white about the issue of releasing the source code.  I 
don't know of a single case where somebody has eventually prevailed in 
arguing that you can start with GPL code and then refuse to release the 
source for the improvements.  The GPL always wins out in the end.


Dr. Willem A. Schreuder,  President,  Principia Mathematica
Address:  445 Union Blvd, Suite 230,  Lakewood, CO  80228, USA
Tel: (303) 716-3573   Fax: (303) 716-3575
WWW: www.prinmath.com   Email: Willem.Schreuder at prinmath.com
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