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The ultimate weblogging system, outlined

Matthew Thomas: I wrote up this outline mainly for the benefit of a couple of people who are implementing GPLed Weblog systems right now

I question the need for a database, and have a few additional requirements (pingback, trackback, comments, etc), but the overall, I view this list to be sound.

I would, however, suggest that the requirement is to minimize lock-in, architecture rot, wasted development effort, and that GPL is just one possible means to satisfy that requirement.


What are some others?  In terms of minimizing developer effort, deciding up front to license your own work under the GPL gives you access to a wider range of prior work to build on (specifically, any projects or libraries that are already GPL-licensed).

Posted by Mark at

Mark, we can all name some GPL code that is architecturally impure, and quite frankly has rotted on the vine.  We can also name some non-GPL code that you use every day (TCP/IP stacks, Apache, Python, and for that matter Mac OS/X).

One can certainly say that the GPL is a positive indicator for a number of desirable qualities.  But given the way Matthew expressed his requirements, it seems to me that he was stating an implementation preference and following it up with the requirements he saw it supporting.

Posted by Sam Ruby at

If I choose the GPL as my license, I have access to all that non-GPL open source code you mentioned.  But I also have access to all the GPL code in the world, not all of which is crap.  (The existence of bad GPL software is irrelevant to this argument.)

If I choose, say, the BSD license, I don't have access to any GPL code.

Unless you are claiming that every worthwhile GPL-licensed project has been replicated by an equivalent non-GPL-licensed project, I don't see how you can make your case.

Posted by Mark at

I guess that depends on what case I am trying to make.  I want to be able to maximize my ability to reuse the work product produced in as large a number of contexts as possible.  One context that is very important to me personally is the ASF.

Mark, the way you are stating the issue conjures up the concept of blood types to me.  If you are the Red Cross, you prefer donor to be of type "O".  If you are the one in a car accident, your chances are better if you are type "AB".

Posted by Sam Ruby at

Ah, see that's not one of the requirements that Matthew mentioned, and it's not something you've mentioned until now.  I was talking about reducing my own development efforts.  Maximizing reusability of my code once I'm done is a separate, possibly contradictory, requirement.

The analogy to blood types is apt.

Posted by Mark at

It seems to me that as a developer, if you regard user freedoms as paramount, you're more likely to choose the GPL. If you regard developer freedoms as paramount, you're more likely to choose a BSD or similar license. (Promoting a format or protocol, like TCP/IP, is another reason for using a BSD license.)

My concern is more for the users, because there's far more of them than there are developers, and the GPL doesn't seem to faze developers anyway (evidenced by the quantity of GPLed software in existence).

Posted by mpt at

The ultimate Weblogging system, outlined

All my humble opinion, of course. Forward compatibility License under the GPL (minimizing lock-in, architecture rot, and wasted development effort). Work with at least one Free database (e.g. mySQL). In case of emergencies, allow entries to be...

Excerpt from mpt at

Epistula V MPT

"Epistula":/showcode verses "MPT":http://mpt.phrasewise.com/2003/05/02#a507

<p>GPL
Not yet, maybe one day. Currently BSD.
FreeDB<br... [more]

Trackback from Aquarionics at

Matthew, just remember that this developer is on the Board of Directors for the Apache Software Foundation.

I still view the requirement as odd.  You didn't state is as Mark did, as a pragmatic way to minimize effort.  Instead you stated it as a requirement.  Does that mean that Perl, Python, PHP, and other language can't be used as their implementations are not GPL'ed?  Where do you draw the line?

In any case, I'm just stating my opinion.  If need be, I'll continue to develop my weblogging software and perhaps build a community around it.

Posted by Sam Ruby at

Sam, that doesn't follow at all.  Any open source language could be used.  If you choose to restrict yourself to the available non-GPL libraries, you are of course free to do so, but just be aware that that choice may require you to expend extra development resources somewhere along the line (by reproducing a GPL'd library or product).

However, this is not Matthew's primary point.  And I agree with you that it's an odd "requirement".

Posted by Mark at

Mark, my question was where do you draw the line?  If you accept that any open source language could be used, do you also accept that any open source library function could be used?  Could some of the library functions developed as part of the weblogging software be covered under a different licence than the GPL?  If so, how about most?  If so, how about all?

I've been a software developer for over 20 years.  When a customer starts providing me with requirements, the first thing I do is separate out the real requirements from the implementation preferences.  It's instinctual at this point.

FYI: this page is served by a machine running GNU/Linux.

Posted by Sam Ruby at

Sam, the existence of the Apache, Artistic, Mozilla Public, etc Licenses was why I said "more likely", rather than "most likely" or even "best".

... Anyway, you're right, the exact choice of which Free license was a development detail which I should have kept my hands off. It's just instinctive for me to discourage duplication of effort -- and that includes developers of this software having to reimplement a later proprietary extension to it, something which would not happen under a Free and copylefted license. (Even then, the GPL isn't the only Free and copylefted license, just the one with the most code to draw from.)

Posted by mpt at

For what its worth: Of the languages you listed, Perl /is/ dual-licensed under the GPL.  Most of the code on CPAN is licensed like this as well.  That's a lot of reuse.

Posted by Mark A. Hershberger at

Mark P: In the world of Perl, plain-old C, and possibly Python more components and libraries are available under GPL. However, in the world of Java the Apache and BSD style licenses rule the day. We all know that the Ultimate Weblogging System should be written in Java, right? ;-)

Posted by Dave Johnson at

Data preservation in the ultimate Weblogging system

Sam Ruby, Matt Croydon, and Aaron Swartz all expressed doubts as to my stipulation that the ultimate Weblogging system should use a database. By e-mail, Aaron Swartz put it best: Why does it need to work with a database? Doesn’t that just make...

Excerpt from mpt at

Mark,

It isn't quite as clear cut as GPL = more choices for incorporating software.  There are plenty of GPL-incompatible licenses out there; take a look at the madness that surrounded the GPL'ed KDE until the QT toolkit was released under a GPL license - the QPL license is GPL-incompatible.

In the case of a GPL-incompatible license, it is often the case that BSD-style licenses are compatible with it.  So, if you release under a BSD-style license, derivative works may not be free, but you will have more choices that by using a GPL license (because you don't have the ability to relicense third-party software so you can release the derivative work under the GPL).

Posted by Jim at

Well, I added my .02 in relation to blojsom. I think we did OK, but then I'm biased.

<hair-club-parody>I'm not only the author of blojsom, I'm also a user</hair-club-parody>

Posted by David Czarnecki at

Re: Ultimate Weblogging System, Outlined and blojsom

I'd be remiss if I did not comment on the Ultimate Weblogging System outline that was posted on Friday. So, here goes my annotated list with relation to blojsom. Let's see how we score. Forward compatibility Use whichever license will minimize...

Excerpt from David Czarnecki's Blog at

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