Can we please agree not to call apples "oranges" just because we like how "oranges" sound, and we also happen to like apples?
These are different kinds of fruit, and calling one using the name for the other is simply misleading.
Same with "anti-capitalist licenses" being called "open-source licenses".
They're not. They're different. The difference matters - if it didn't, there would be no reason not to use open-source licenses!
@bookwyrm is not "open source" (doesn't mean bad!):
Finally, all "anti-capitalist licenses" I've seen so far use very broad terms that can easily be interpreted in a lot of different ways. They likely do not offer the protection they claim to offer.
In the end it might turn out that by creating a myriad of "anti-capitalist licenses" that are incompatible with each other and with the larger body of FLOSS code, we handicap ourselves - by making it effectively impossible for different projects to be used together to build more complex and more useful systems.
To @bookwyrm 's credit, they do not seem to be using the term "open-source" anywhere on their site, as far as I can see. So, kudos!
@rysiek The anti-capitalist licenses are interesting. I think someone should make a similar license, call it "the coop license" and get it vetted by a copyright lawyer. If such a thing existed and carried real legal clout (i.e. could be used in a court case without getting laughed out) then this would be a more favorable tool against the status quo.
We definitely do need to be finding better ways so that BigTech doesn't keep stealing from the commons and grifting on our collective labor, and so that we can build up counter-organizations which are focused on real needs.
Or he might say, oh no, not him again, so maybe mentioning me is a bad idea. I don't know. But we never got into any disagreements...
Yeah, actually I like this better than kosher free software and open source licenses. Free software can't do nothing to avoid the big tech monopolies world we live in. Rather, it was an enabler. If you want to change that, you can't use the same set of tools. I hope it gets legally standardized, as Bob says.
It really feels like playing the "wack-a-corporate-ownership" game is a losing strategy (I'm skewed, worked too long for people investigating byzantine corporate ownership structures...).
At the same time, AGPL seems plenty effective against both Big Tech and techbro startups, is well-understood, vetted by lawyers, and has a huge body of code already licensed under its terms.
I also note that all "anti-capitalist licenses" I've seen so far curiously miss the single most anti-capitalist measure possible and available: a requirement to share back any modifications made.
Which is something I don't get. Clearly people who write them are opposed to capitalism. Can there be a better way to combat rampant capitalism than, well, sharing broadly?
Turns out knowledge is not the power source in capitalism. Of course, without knowledge free distribution, it gets worse. But in capitalism, capitalists have a huge advantage given the uneven distribution of material resources.
How does AGPL or any free software license prevent that?
Software is not knowledge. Software is a tool. By creating useful tools that are unusable by capitalists we build our common toolset and expand our abilities, without providing these tools to the capitalists to use against us.
Anti-capitalist licenses are trying to do the same, of course, but in a way that undermines this community-building.
@tagomago @aral @bob think about it: an "anti-capitalist license" would not have given us Linksys WRT-54GL OS's code, and thus would not have jump-started the ecosystem of projects focused on embedded devices, like OpenWRT and the like.
If Linksys had used code under an anti-capitalist license, the lawsuit (if any) would result in Linksys being forced to stop using the code and pay compensation to the original developers, that's it. No code would have been published. No common toolset made available.
Tools and tools' improvement are the product of knowledge, it's the same thing to me. Anyway, let's not turn this into a logomachy.
From what I know, I don't think AGPL is not usable by capitalists, it's just that they can't exploit any labor invested in the tool to sell it as an end, as a capitalist product by itself, but it can be used freely as a, well, tool, for their capitalist goals. Correct me if I'm wrong...
@tagomago @aral @bob technically it can. Practically it is so toxic to their business models that Google outright bans not just including AGPLed software in their own projects, but also bans their employees and contractors from even *having any AGPLed code on their machines*!
Straight from the horse's mouth:
> Do not install AGPL-licensed programs on your workstation, Google-issued laptop, or Google-issued phone without explicit authorization from the Open Source Programs Office.
@rysiek @tagomago @aral Which is pure fear-mongering on their part. I’ve worked with the legal department of a FAANG-level corporation on determining what different licenses actually mean because they tried to forbid the use of GPLed software, which would’ve meant a lot of workstations and all our servers 😋 Bottom line, which should surprise no one: None of the *GPLs places any burden whatsoever on any user of the software (which is why it’s bullshit to put them in the license-agreement popups, you don’t have to agree to anything to use the software). They only come into action once you distribute (or SaaS, in case of AGPL) it to third parties (no, your employees are not a third party), and even then it’s only really relevant if you modified it, because for unmodified software you can just point people upstream. The whole concept of the *GPLs boils down to “If you make a change and let others use it, you have to also give them the source (under the same conditions)”. No change? Nothing to do. No “others”? Nothing to do either.
That said, I don't see it as fear-mongering, I see this as risk-avoidance. If an employee/contractor has AGPLed code on their workstation it might accidentally be used in a project that then goes live and (from Google's perspective) "taints" a lot of code.
That would expose Google to lawsuits from users demanding they release all of the "tainted" code, which is a huge risk if you're a Big Tech surveillance capitalist.
So, they play it very, very safe.
@rysiek @aral @tagomago Fair, it may be actual fear, instead of deliberate fear-mongering. In our case it indeed was some lawyers getting beFUDdled themselves. Took a while to show them the intentions behind the licenses. I think they got it when I showed them the WTFPL, Beerware, and Unlicense on actual useful code 😉
I always loved the JSON PL. JSON PL is/was very similar to the whole "anti-capitalist license" scene in that:
1. it wanted to do some good
2. it did it in a way that made it a non-free license
But it did say "The Software shall be used for Good, not Evil." and that made IBM's lawyers queasy.
So they asked for an exception, and the author of JSON gave it to them: "IBM and it's customers are also allowed to do evil with the Software".
That's some awesome legal trolling!
The answer: When you put GPL-code in your own webservice, it acts like the weakest of BSD licenses, because you never propagate your code, only results.
The antidote is AGPL which fixes that hole.
Decentralization prevents the other part of of the problem. But there the regular GPL is effective, so big corps can’t take this route as effectively as the webservice-route where they can profit off free labor without giving back by circumventing the terms set by idealistic volunteers.
@rysiek Most licenses in this category that I have seen seem to have been written by people who understand neither licences nor capitalism.
I mean, who really thinks that “An individual person, laboring for themselves” does not “operate by capitalist principles”!?
@__h2__ exactly this.
An "individual person, labouring for themselves" is the pinnacle of capitalism. That person is very likely to be a member of the precariat, pushed out even from proper employment with benefits, now working as a contractor for Big Tech...
@__h2__ @rysiek 💯 And educational institutions‽ I graduated from RIT and they are most enthusiastically capitalist (of course, the professors certainly were usually not). The license even mentions the evaluation of price. I don't care who makes the evaluation; putting a price on something enables cancelation of debt, which supports capitalism.
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