Thoughts on Licensing

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FourthWorld
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Thoughts on Licensing

Post by FourthWorld » Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:25 pm

For the various educational outreach project's we're undertaking here, I feel it's useful to assume educators and students will be using the Community Edition, for two reasons:

Cost: While the GPL that governs distribution of the Community Edition has no limitations on fees for distributing software, LiveCode Ltd. is generously providing it at no cost so everyone in the world can use and enjoy LiveCode. This is especially valuable for educational use, since any teacher or administrator can tell you how slim EDU budgets are these days. With a purchase price of zero, considering LiveCode becomes a possibility that wouldn't be there in many cases at any price point.

Freedom: The GPL is an excellent choice when the goal of a software is proliferation and enhancement, as it's in the subset of open source licenses that carry a requirement to recipients of a software that they use the same license when distributing their own works derived from it. The GPL explicitly grants many freedoms, including the freedom to use the work for any purpose, to study the source code, to modify it however they like, and to distribute their modifications to anyone. This prevents any form of discrimination, and ensures that features and enhancements added to a software are openly shared back with the community, so a software only grows over time with enhancements available to all.

These are strong features of LiveCode Community Edition, and in my view they serve the goals of the projects we're exploring here well.

That said, given LiveCode's long history under exclusively proprietary license, I recognize that some may have concerns about distributing works under GPL, esp. those for which the developer has business intereststs based around a model of per-user licensing fees for which a proprietary license may be a better fit.

Personally, I have no problem with proprietary licensing of software. Indeed, like many members of Linux Foundation, I derive a significant percentage of my own revenue from licensing of proprietary software, which helps to subsidize my work on open source projects.

But I do believe that to best fulfill the opportunity with using LiveCode in education, we should plan that our community projects here will be distributed under the GPLv3, or if necessary at least a GPL-compatible license such as MIT/X11.

If we need to consider exceptions to this, let's discuss them here or offline as you see fit, though preferably here so everyone can benefit from the discussion and we maintain a transparency about our process.
Richard Gaskin
Community volunteer LiveCode Community Liaison

LiveCode development, training, and consulting services: Fourth World Systems: http://FourthWorld.com
LiveCode User Group on Facebook : http://FaceBook.com/groups/LiveCodeUsers/

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