Skip to main content

View Diary: Giving away the Obama code base is a bad idea (118 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  yes, there may be a requirement (4+ / 0-)

    Depending on the OSS license of the software they used, it maybe illegal for them NOT to share the code for the tools they created. If so, and they refuse to share, then they deserve to be taken to court over this, regardless of the tactical considerations.

    "I don't cry over milk spilled under bridges. I go make lemonade" - Bucky Katt

    by quill on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 08:28:34 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Usually that requirement only kicks in (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      quill, kyril, Miggles, Ninepatch, A Citizen

      if the software is sold or distributed.  Stuff developed in-house and not distributed does not fall under the GPL's requirement to distribute the source.

      Economic Left/Right: -7.38
      Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -8.00
      Two steps to the right of Trotsky.

      by jvance on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 01:18:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Miggles

      If I (as an individual or an organization) use GPL-licensed code to write software for my own use, I am not obligated to release the source code for my software.

      For instance, I could use GPL-licensed libraries to build a program to solve a problem for a class, as I actually happen to be doing right now (or, rather, procrastinating). As long as I never distribute the compiled program, I am under absolutely no obligation to release the source (and, in fact, doing so would itself be ethically problematic because it would conflict with my department's plagiarism policy).

      That's still true even if I'm an organization - if we build it in-house and use it in-house, we don't have to release the source. We can even run it on a server that supports everyone in the organization.

      It might become slightly murky if (a) we run it on a server where the public can use it or (b) we let everyone in the organization run a copy on their work machine. It would be particularly questionable if we let them have it on their personal machines. That's something actual lawyers would have to weigh in on.

      But the only time, under copy-left licenses like GPL, that you must release the source is when you distribute the software. That means giving it to people who didn't build it.

      Which, by the way, might be one of the reasons OFA is concerned about letting the DNC use the tools: that's distribution, and that's where the GPL kicks in.

      "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

      by kyril on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 04:05:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site