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Re: Perl Commercial Entities?

by Petruchio (Vicar)
on Mar 19, 2001 at 23:16 UTC ( #65507=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Perl Commercial Entities?

There is a much remarked-upon ambiguity concerning the word "free"; it seems you mean that perhaps Perl should cost money. It can cost money, and I am more than willing to sell you a copy. I cannot, however, prevent others from either selling or giving you a copy as well.

When you ask whether it should have been shareware to begin with, I take you to be asking whether, from a practical standpoint, it should have been released under a more restictive license which allowed some people to sell it more profitably. It seems highly unlikely that Perl would have proliferated so far if this had been the case... and the modules which presently worry you might well not exist.

In order to now change the license, making it more restrictive, it would be necessary to obtain the consent of what I would guess to be quite an enormous number of authors. A centralized administrative structure would need to be formed, which would impose a considerable overhead in terms of both effort and expense.

Assuming all this occured, we would get to the real crux of the question. Would a more commercial model actually improve things? Of course we all know that in companies, despite that people are being paid for their labor, schedules have been known to slip and bugs to linger. On the whole, even leaving aside the monumental task of changing the nature of the development model, the end result would be a net gain in the reliability of Perl's development?

I doubt it.

Is asking for free things beyond free software asking too much? In my opinion, asking for free software is asking too much. You cannot ask of someone that they write software for you at no cost. Despite having no obligation to do so, many people do write software and give you the right to copy and change it. Some of them are paid to do so, some are not. In either case, such people deserve our thanks.

Support is much the same as software; I can sell you support, but I cannot stop other people from selling or giving you support. The key difference is that support is a more finite quantity than copies of a piece of software.

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