Cool as in Software

Since I’ve moved over to Linux for my work, I thought I’d look around for some good Linux podcasts. A week ago or so I found out about the Linux Action Show. I must admit, the title sounds kind of lame, but when you forget about that, this podcast is great! The first episode I listened to (episode 68) is pure gold. Especially the second half where they talk to one of the KDE 4 guys. I’m not all that interested in KDE (I use GNOME), but Bryan’s (one of the two hosts) view on the Free Software vs. Open Source is something I can get behind. He too has problems with Richard Stallman and many other of the FSF people. It’s a shame I stopped writing IT Conservative, I could have written a nice post about this ;)

What Bryan (or Chris? I forgot) proposes in this episode is to get rid of all the Free Software and Open Source talk. Stop the fundamentalism and confusing terminology and obnoxious definitions of freedom. He proposes to call it simply “cool software”. No difficult legal licenses, just the CPL (Cool Public License) which would simply say “Don’t be a dick. Just be cool.”

If you download software and make some improvements, you send the modifications back to the author. Not because you have to or because it’s immoral not to, but just because it’s the cool thing to do. If you use a library in your own software, you give the author credit for that. Not because the library’s license says you have to, but because it’s the cool thing to do.

Don’t be a dick. Just be cool.

If you wrote some software and your life does not depend on selling that software, just release it for free. If people ask for the source code because they want to make modifications. Just release that too. That’s the cool thing to do.

But isn’t coolness a very subjective term? Meh. Not really.

But isn’t this just very naive, can’t people then just take your software, sell it and keep all the profits? Not really, because that’s not cool.

Don’t be a dick. Just be cool.