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  • RevFE Licensing. What is it, and what does it mean?

    So, I feel that I should post this up here before anyone starts writing plugins. CarPal is licensed GPLv2. What does that mean? http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/gpl-2.0.html

    If you don't feel like reading all the legal mumbo jumbo I'll try to explain it best I can here. As a note, when I say free in the below post, I mean free like freedom, not like beer. It is an important distinction when it comes to open source software.

    The GPL protects the code, not the developers. GPL ensures that the code released under its license, and all code derived thereof will be free. While I, as the copyright holder at any time retain the right to change the licensing of the code in my possession and under my copyright for future releases, I can NOT change the licensing of code already released. This means that code released is, and always will be free. This also means that binaries for CarPal may NOT be distributed without access to the source code. While sometimes the sourceforge repository falls a day or two behind, if anyone at any time wants the code for the released binaries and I do not have it in sourceforge by law I am required to let you know that you can contact me to get it.

    This license DOES allow anyone to take CarPal and sell it, they would however also have to release the source code with it. This means that CarPal would grow even more, so it's not entirely a bad thing, as it would still be free.


    Edit 5/26/09:
    The Interface used to link .net plugins with CarPal has been released LGPL. This means that .net plugins can be written closed source. This was a compromise on my part, but do not misunderstand my intentions. I greatly encourage plugin developers to contribute to the growth of CarPal by releasing their code GPL, this compromise was only to improve the functionality of CarPal at the cost of its own freedom.
    "stop with the REINSTALLS, what do you think we got some lame-o installer!!!" - mitchjs
    RevFE
    My Shop

  • #3
    in all honesty i'd have a problem releasing mine as well if they have to be open source.
    mp3Car.com Senior Tech Blogger (Want a product reviewed? Contact me.)
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    • #4
      That's alright. You can't have something be half free, kinda defeats the purpose. It's all or nothing.
      "stop with the REINSTALLS, what do you think we got some lame-o installer!!!" - mitchjs
      RevFE
      My Shop

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      • #5
        Originally posted by malcom2073 View Post
        That's alright. You can't have something be half free, kinda defeats the purpose. It's all or nothing.
        fraid i dont know what you mean by this. There are NO licenses on any of my plugins made for RR. They are FREE for use... i just wont be throwing my source code out there without a reason for it. You dont wanna start being too picky about your software before it even gets off the ground.
        mp3Car.com Senior Tech Blogger (Want a product reviewed? Contact me.)
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        • #6
          GPL is the best way to go. NOTE there's a huge difference between free and "freedom". Malcom2073 is referring to not only free as in cost software but free as in speech software. Just because you give it away in binary form, doesn't make it completely free. Truely free software is the kind that I can take, modify, copy, improve and anything else I want with it.

          I think the biggest obstacle people will find with GPL'd interfaces is themselves. There are a lot of people who are shy about their code for whatever reason and don't want to release it. Not that they actually have some secret to hide.

          When I released the first code bits of nGhost almost 3 years ago, I was really shy about others looking at my code and mocking my style, immaturity, weak use of coding-feature-x, etc. But what I found was that people were more willing to help me improve it than they were in criticize me for how much I suck as a coder (and believe me, nghost v1 was aweful from a c++ coders perspective...). Plus, when others did contribute back to it, I got to learn from their coding syle, techniques and most importantly, coding-feature-x.

          NOTE also there are completely lagit reasons not to open your code... but many of those involve the use of some proprietary technology that you can't open...
          Former author of LinuxICE, nghost, nobdy.
          Current author of Automotive Message Broker (AMB).
          Works on Tizen IVI. Does not represent anyone or anything but himself.

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          • #7
            Originally posted by Sonicxtacy02 View Post
            fraid i dont know what you mean by this. There are NO licenses on any of my plugins made for RR. They are FREE for use... i just wont be throwing my source code out there without a reason for it. You dont wanna start being too picky about your software before it even gets off the ground.
            As kev said, I am talking about freedom, not cost-free. By releasing plugins with no license, you're giving me the right to take your plugins, put them in my program, close source my program, and sell it for money. By releasing the source (under gpl) of plugins that are written for CarPal, if CarPal were to go closed source it would lose the ability to use any of the plugins, therefore killing a good amount of the functionality of CarPal. GPL protects the code.


            I could change the license of CarPal, allowing me to close source it, but that would defeat the purpose of free (like freedom) software because it would no longer be truly free. If you think that choosing to protect the freedom of the code over the developer is being picky, then that's what I'll do. It's your choice to not write plugins for it, and I'm fine with that. I took the step to open source CarPal, putting hours upon hours of work out there for the world to see. It was a tough decision, but I feel it's the right one as it can only help rather than hurt.
            "stop with the REINSTALLS, what do you think we got some lame-o installer!!!" - mitchjs
            RevFE
            My Shop

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            • #8
              malcom (and Kev) thanks for coming forward and clarifying this from the start.

              mp3Car would like to offer support for both of you and your initiatives as they are of great benefit the community. Everyone here at mp3Car is really excited to see the growth of open front ends. Please let us know how we can help support your work.
              Suggestions or Comments on the forums? Post here.

              mp3Car store order questions or products that you would like to sell on the store? Email store @ mp3car.com

              Feel free to pm me if you:
              • Have a general comment on mp3Car's products or services
              • Have a product you would like to have tested by the mp3Car community
              • Have a file you would like mp3Car to host
              • Have a cool idea that would improve the forums

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              • #9
                Yeah, it is sad for me to see that you guys don't want to release your plugins. If anything it will help make the software better. I will be releasing an iGuidance plugin shortly for CarPal, it's just about done and has good functionality. The source is uhh... not for the faint of heart, hopefully someone can help me clean it up a bit.
                Tidder

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                • #10
                  The though of others looking into my code, where in the beginning quite scary. As Kev noted... "What if they comment on my coding, and critizies it"...
                  Yeah, how about that.. What if they comment on your code, and basically help you become a better programmer.

                  That's what happened to me. After I gave a *blip* about what ppl think about my code, and just posted it as it is...

                  Some times, I get... "Oh man, what a piece of crappy code. Where did you learn to code... Noobs ar Uz?".. and stuff like that..

                  And sometimes, the opposite... "nice work, mind if I use.... " etc.

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                  • #11
                    Well done Malcom, refreshing to see that somebody has embraced the Open Source in this space and are using Sourceforge.

                    Every good car PC needs a USB radio or equivalent. Here is one on Sourceforge
                    http://code.google.com/p/silabsradiodll/
                    Here is more info about it:
                    http://www.digital-car.co.uk/forum/s...ht=silab+radio

                    It has been working well for me.
                    RodW
                    2007 Toyota Hilux with a CarPC..

                    Worklog: http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/work...ota-hilux.html
                    OziExplorer GPS Embedded in RR: http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/sb-s...iexplorer.html

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                    • #12
                      Hmm, RDS is licensed under LGPL so I could fairly easily make a plugin for it... and I need a usb radio eventually anyway. I'll definitely look into that thanks.

                      I'm glad to see the people are a fan of open source, was a bit worried for a little there heh.
                      "stop with the REINSTALLS, what do you think we got some lame-o installer!!!" - mitchjs
                      RevFE
                      My Shop

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                      • #13
                        I'm also glad to see this is going to be GPL'd. Hopefully as soon as things at work calm down I'll be able to break out my coding hat and write some stuff for you. Also, I agree with the fear of showing codes although since I had to get used to it once I started college it's not that bad and after graduation it's still not a big deal. More often than not the comments are a big help and someone may have a better idea on how to do something. Whether it be more efficient or just a breath of fresh air with new functionality. I'm going to be sad to see those plugins not go with this new frontend, but when software stays closed that only means someone will be more apt to try to make their own open sourced version. If the closed ones stay closed then hopefully they will make suitable starting blocks for other enterprising coders and I may be able to tackle them as well.

                        Can't wait to see how this goes. CarPal and project: CarMa are my two anticipated projects at the moment.

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                        • #14
                          I agree about the whole closed plugin thing. I can only hope that some people are willing to put forth the effort to release open plugins. If all else fails I have a whole list of plugins I'm planning on writing, but I can only work so fast

                          Unfortunately you will find that CarPal is poorly commented at best. Perhaps one of these days I'll get around to commenting it better. Tidder is working on plugin, messaging and event system documentation so at least it'll be well documented (by someone OTHER than the main developer)
                          "stop with the REINSTALLS, what do you think we got some lame-o installer!!!" - mitchjs
                          RevFE
                          My Shop

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                          • #15
                            Originally posted by malcom2073 View Post
                            I could change the license of CarPal, allowing me to close source it [...]
                            As the author of the code, you can do whatever you want with it, including selling it, even while you offer the code to the general public under the terms of Gnu's GPL. As long as the project doesn't include code contributed by other people, you always have the option of licensing it to other people (paying customers even) on whatever terms you like. The GPL is just the license that you've chosen to grant to the general public (the GP in GPL).

                            After you start mixing in code from other people, that gets harder. But, the beauty of the GPL is that people can collaborate on a project knowing that none of them is in a position to take advantage of the others' labor.

                            Also, the GPL does not necessarily prevent closed-source plugins. The GPL only prevents closed-source derivative works. If someone has already created a plugin for another FE, then the plugin is their original work, not a derivative of your work. There might be a grey area regarding plugins that include header files (from your project) that are GPLed - I'm no lawyer though.

                            If you want to make that sort of thing simpler, consider offering the plugin header files (or base classes, or whatever) under a less restrictive license like BSD's. Plugin developers can then mix their code with that code with no worries. End users can then mix your GPLed application with their closed-source plugin, and everybody's happy.

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