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Slash Open Source Project

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  • by acs (1437) on Monday June 11 2001, @01:07AM (#2820) Homepage Journal
    GPL doesn't limit the possibility for selling the software. You can sell anything under the GPL but you can't limit the freedom of the code: once you have sell it the buyer can take the code and sell it also. So you have to add some values to sell free software because everybody can do it.

    A friend told me that Plastic people have done minor modifications on the code so they know slashcode in some way. This knowledge and the power of customization of slashcode if the kind of things that they can offer as consultants. And the experience as web publishing editors.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 11 2001, @01:16AM (#2821)
    Yeah, they have made a few changes, but they should consider perhaps hosting/consulting as a line of work and perhaps collaberate with the Slash guys.

    Honestly, there are a few changes, but nothing to write home about.

  • by Sandor (138) on Monday June 11 2001, @02:37AM (#2822) Journal
    I mean ok, so they sudtomized the script... big deal. They shouldn't be able to resell the slash engine a) they didn't write it and b) they should open source their mods. This hardly seams fair to do considering that people are working on the original engine and have the rights to it. I dunno squat about the GPL (other than having read it a few times) so I can't say but I wonder what andovers lawyers are going to think.
  • by acs (1437) on Monday June 11 2001, @04:18AM (#2823) Homepage Journal
    The Andovers lawyers can't do anything against Plastic selling slashcode. Maybe they can assure that the Slash mark is not used but the code, Plastic can sell it. Guys, this is the GPL world.

    And Plastic don't have to distribute their changes in slashcode. As a web service, they can modify the code and don't distribute it to anybody. But if they distribute one copy, they have to include the source code and teh recipient of the copy can distribute the copy to anyboby.

    The normal way to work in the free software community is to try to work in the team of developers to add value to the software for all the community and to distribute the modifications that you have done to the software. This is the way free software has reach the actual wave. But the licence doesn't force to distribute.

  • They can (and hopefully will) take action once plastic sells the code without releasing it under the GPL as required. As you noted, the license does force them to release the code IF they distribute, and selling the package constitutes distribution.

    "How about you interface with my ass? By biting it!" --Bender
  • by acs (1437) on Monday June 11 2001, @10:41AM (#2827) Homepage Journal
    Yes, this is true, but someone thinks that the Plastic people are going to do this? I don't know them but I prefer not to critize someone until teh fact to critize is done ;-) Plastic people I think that they have to be similar to us, people which try to innovate in the Internet era. Give them an opportunity. But if they break the GPL, let the layers go to their throat ;-)
  • When Plastic debuted as a Slash site, many reactions that were posted here ranged from yawns to tepid criticism. I guess I shouldn't be surprised to see those sentiments continue. But, let me make a few comments, so that the discussion has a little more balance.

    • Automatic Media has been a friend to this community. If we ever expect Slash to be considered a viable Web Publishing platform by anyone other than us, we have to encourage its use in high profile sites. We need more sites in our community that get talked about on [] and in The Wall Street Journal [].

    • Are you sure you want to dismiss Plastic's modifications as minor? Well, the summary view [] of the Plastic home page seems like an innovative user interface to me. Also they have pagers at the bottom of every index page, their section Slashbox says how many new stories and comments have been posted, they built an internal message passing system at the user level. This says nothing of their backend, which was modified to allow more affiliate partcipation in the authoring process.

    • This is not the point in the economic cycle to get hung up on license issues. The time I might become indignant about abuse of the GPL is if someone took the Slash engine, achieved Vignette's scale, achieved sustained profitability, and then started prosecuting the founders of the project under the DMCA. At the moment, however, everyone with a significant burn rate seems to be going out of business, or close to it. What do you say we call off the dogs for the next few months?
    I don't know all of the people who work for Automatic Media, but I know a few of them. Jon Phelps is a good Slashcode developer [] who would be a welcomed addition to any project I am working on. Joey Anuff, although he is not a Slash developer, had the vision to build based on Slash. Michael Kolbrener, with whom I've met several times, certainly grasps the potential of the platform within large corporations.

    I also think the senior management of Feed [] deserve credit for migrating a good percentage of their site on to Slashcode. They are sharp people who bring a lot to the table. We would be smart to stay friends with them.

    Finally, in speaking to these folks over the past couple of months, the sense I get is that they would like to do some Slash consulting in the media industry to keep their team together until the market improves. I don't know if that will be possible anymore, but it seems like a totally reasonable approach. We ought to be open to business plans that get any version of Slashcode deployed in media companies. The buzz surrounding such a deployment can only help us.



    Dave Aiello
    Chatham Township Data Corporation []

  • by Krow (986) on Monday June 11 2001, @02:07PM (#2832) Homepage Journal
    First thing, I posted this because it had 8 submissions so I didn't want to see it submitted again. (Like I have a couple a week pointing out that sites.shtml is not up to date. The reason for this is that I have to do it by hand, and this just not happen that often. I need to automate this (and just about have, I just need a script that generate the page from story titles and dept (I use the department field to store URL's for slash sites))).

    Personally I think it would be cool if they gave out their changes, but I don't really care if they do or not. In part this is because it is 1.0 and in part I understand that giving out source means answering questions, which takes time. I have scripts for slash that I have yet to give out, and this is in part just because of lack of time on my part.

    I have no opinion on the site (I have looked over it, read articles from it). Personally I am happy to see the press that they have gotten since I believe that the "All Boats Rise in the Sea" principle. So for me, whenever I see someone doing something cool with the site, I am all for it.

    As far as them selling it, as some of you know I already encourage people to do consulting on slash, and I see this as nothing different. If you can make a buck, power to you! At some point I want to put up a set of links to people who do consulting on slash like we do for hosting companies. There is a market out there for slash and I am happy to see it take off.
    BTW, it would be nice that if someday we ever put up a tip jar for slash I would hope that people who make money off of it would contribute some.
    And for the record I am speaking as me, Brian, not an employee of OSDN. I have no idea of their opinion on this, and I am not representing anyone other then myself.
    I would even bet some of my teamates have different opinions.
    Final note, the one thing I would like to see is people give back plugins whenever possible (and a spare theme or two would be nice!). I am working on a plugin, to track plguins. My goal was to get it done before the weekend was out, but I got bogged down. Hopefully I can restart this later in the week since this is something I really want to see happen.

    You can't grep a dead tree.
  • Absolutely - this whole thread is contengent on this whole thing actually being more than just a rumor. :-)

    "How about you interface with my ass? By biting it!" --Bender
  • by pudge (6) on Monday June 11 2001, @04:44PM (#2836) Homepage
    As another person speaking not as an OSDN employee, note that Automatic Media has no obligation to give back the source to the community if they don't distribute it. It is nonsensical to criticize them for doing something OSDN gives them permission to do.

    If they distribute it in changed form, they are required to do so for free. Section 2b of the GPL (conditions for modification and distribution): "You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in whole or part is derived from the Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this license."

    For them to sell their version of Slash -- without also making it available for free -- seems illegal to me. However, transfer of ownership of the modifications is not the same as distribution, is it? If they sell it to a single party, that might be allowable. But IANAL. OSDN's lawyers would likely be notified, and it would be up to them whether or not to care.

  • by DaveHowe (860) <DaveHowe@Hawkswing> on Wednesday June 13 2001, @11:57AM (#2844)
    There are plenty of firms out there trying to make a profit by selling and supporting Open Source Software - some of which even wrote it. Any commerical Linux distro (suse, redhat) would be an example, and Eric describes a company in his famous OSS essays that open sourced its main development product, and still made money being the most experienced developer with it.

    Assume they sold unmodified Slash, with a support contract. what have we lost? people have paid for something that is available free, but taxes on the stupid are hardly new - look at lotteries; once a single copy of the modified code has been sold, that purchaser is free to fold those changes back into the main source tree if he wishes to - or not, as there is no duty on him to do so. the distinction is, Plastic couldn't stop them from doing so
    As I read it, they would be trying to sell consultancy (setting up new plastic-community style sites) and support; the fact that this would involve slashcode may not matter - any suitable base code would do.

    Thorfy compliant Sig :+)
  • by BlackIce (2632) on Monday August 27 2001, @03:07AM (#3253)
    We are in a downturn cycle...

    If we start persecuting each other, who will win? The big guys! AOL-Time Warner, MSN, ZDNet, etc... and the net will become nothing more than an extension of T.V. and other established media and businesses.

    Look at it, last year they blew the whistle on how BAD the internet is for business... anyone ever considered where that whistleblow came from? Granted there were some totally moronic business models out there, but as a result no one would invest a dime in anything related to the internet.

    Now, if the internet is so bad for business and worldwide brokers and VC's have withdrawn their support from anything remotely related to the net, how come that now more than ever you see "traditional Businesses" advertising their websites on TV? latest I have seen: Ralph Lauren "Polo". Who do you think a broker who has been in business for about 100 years has his loyalty too? The new kid on the block? Or the guys with whom they have done business for 50 years? So far I have not seen many SEC investigations regarding DotCom IPO's.

    One may argue, that "we" with our technological headstart and superiority (technological) and radically different view on how things should be done might pose a threat to the establishment. Never before in human history had individuals so much power to change things.

    There were times that people who wanted to promote change were tortured and killed in a variety of ways, today we are more civilized, we just set them up for failure and make money in the process, gooble up the leftovers and give them to our "old friends".

    Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is that the other poster is right, lets call off the dogs, lets help each other instead we will benefit more in the long term!