Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-edu (139 mails)

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RE: [suse-linux-uk-schools] Take up?
  • From: Ben Higginbottom <ben@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 13 May 2004 11:37:38 +0000 (UTC)
  • Message-id: <04May13.124519bst.332162@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

>What is the general feeling about non-gpl software for Linux?

It vary's greatly, there are GPL purists such as Stallman who want
everything to be free and pragmatists who belive a person should be able to
use any license they want and rate the program in accordance with what it
provides rather than the licence it is under, the perfect example would be
the bitkeeper cvs system used for kernel development.

>Our software is written in C++ and as I understand it, not being a
programmer, it
>could be re-compiled (with some effort) but we're never going to be giving
it
>away.

Depends very much on the compiler that was used and whether or not it
supports cross compilation. Unsurprisingly visual C++ is rather poor in this
regard whereas gcc excells. And then you have the issues of the licences of
any libraries that were used. If the code followed the C99 standards pretty
closely and the coders wrote for flexibility, then there shouldnt be too
much of a problem in porting it.

>Our business model is we sell software (and CNC machines) then
>provide free tech support, sometimes for decades. Changing to free
>software and expensive support would seriously upset our established
customers.
>School budgets being the strange things they are you could almost
>guarantee that when something goes wrong, or new, in-experienced staff
arrive and
>need help, there is nothing in the 'support' budget. Our way means that
once
>the budget has been approved and the software and kit bought, that's it.
It
>may be old-fashioned but it works for us, and seems to suit our customers.

The GPL is essentially a defensive license designed to make people play
fair, but there are many other open or at least free licenses such as
alladin that restrict the use of the software in certain enviroments. What
you should be asking is what benefits would you gain from opening up the
software, do you make money from CNC machines and the Software or CNC
machines as well as software; does the software have any use outside of
driving your machines; do you think that its release will develop into an
active community that will add value to your primary product of CNC machines
and so on.

As for takeup in education, universities have been using unicies from the
year dot, for example the Bill Gates building at cambridge dual boots with
red hat and every computer science department will be using it to teach
operating systems, most CS freshers dual boot their machines and by second
year will ahve likely migrated. Polytechnics are likely to be a different
story, as are the non technical university departments.

Regards,

Ben

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