[LAD] Open Source to be or not to be?

Fons Adriaensen fons at linuxaudio.org
Wed Jun 25 21:10:28 UTC 2014

On Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 08:02:00PM +0200, hermann meyer wrote:

> Fons, you have stated this ("why I move away from GPL") a way to
> often the last time here on the list,

way too often ? A few times, yes. Which probably means it's an issue
that matters to me.

> and I must say, it hurts me.

I see no reason why it should hurt you, or anyone. You may agree with
my opinions or not, but that's an entirely different matter.

> Truly, you have made a great contribution to the Open Source World
> with your (excellent) work, but, your habit to restrict the use of
> your source isn't nice anymore.

habit ? As far as I know there is currently one (1) application
released under more restrictive conditions. And yes, I have hinted
that I am holding back some other things and distributing then only
to selected users. Since I'm under no obligation to release anything
at all I don't see how that could be held against me.

> We use here, in this special case,
> exactly the faust source, which you have work out together with
> Julius Smith,

Not at all. Julius has taken the zita-rev1 source and recoded part
of it into Faust. I was not involved at all. 

> and which is distributed under the GPL within the faust distribution.

Indeed. So you are entitled to use it - no problem with that.

> Even, the interface is (okay, more or less, some very, very, small
> changes we've made, just to the interface, no repack, as stated by
> you) what the faust distribution provide.
> Now, you stated, this is a "perfect example" why you wone move away
> from the GPL.

Yes. There's one thing common to the zita-xxxx series (of which you
know only a small part), and that is that the design of each of those
apps is not limited to just the DSP code. It also includes the user
interface, for example the fact that all controls are designed to 
'feel' OK which means that some of them are neither lin nor log but
use some mapping designed on purpose, that they are *accurately*
calibrated, that their resolution and the way they respond to e.g.
mouse wheel events is not some random thing imposed by some toolset
but studied and explictly defined, and that the layout and color
schemes are designed to be ergonomical, mostly by providing subliminal
hints to the user. All of that is part of what the 'zita' mark is meant
to represent. For example on zita-rev1, the calibrated controls allow
a competent audio engineer to set them to some specific type of reverbb
and be confident that that what he will get will be close to what he
wants, without trial and error. Same for the (as yet) unreleased EQ
and dynamics processors. This is what a professional tool should be.
It's also what my (selected) users tell me they appreciate.

And then you turn it into a toy for musicians and make it look like a
1950s piece of vintage gear. And call that zita-rev while IT IS NOT
zita-rev, by far.   

> Isn't that what Open Source is about?

If open source is about sharing your work and knowledge I'm all for it.
If it just means a license for cherry-picking without respect for the
original author's intentions and in fact subverting those, then I have
my doubts.

> I've learned a lot by reading/study open source code, and I try to
> give all the credits to those who contribute the source I lately use.

Even if I release something with restrictions you can still read it
and learn from it. I've learned a lot from things I could never use
legally in any of my own projects. Creativity is not just the ability
to copy.


A world of exhaustive, reliable metadata would be an utopia.
It's also a pipe-dream, founded on self-delusion, nerd hubris
and hysterically inflated market opportunities. (Cory Doctorow)

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