Fair-code is not a software license. It describes a software model where software:

  • is generally free to use and can be distributed by anybody
  • has its source code openly available
  • can be extended by anybody in public and private communities
  • is commercially restricted by its authors
  • lemmyvore@feddit.nl
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    3 months ago

    I love that website. Now I have an easy way to find all the licenses and projects and companies I need to stay away from.

    • ReversalHatchery@beehaw.org
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      3 months ago

      Why though? Why do you think it’s good that e.g. StealLabs can make use of OBS’s actively and freely (as in, StealLabs does not pay a cent to OBS) maintained code, add their own stuff, no attributions, and give it away for a price? Not even for a price… for a fucking monthly subscription!

      In the above, StealLabs is the name of StreamLabs, but the former name is more descriptive.

      • lemmyvore@feddit.nl
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        3 months ago

        It’s GPL, they have to also provide the source. And you benefit from all the rights they do.

        “Business” licenses try to prevent competition while still benefiting from free contributions, and pass it as “fairness”. But how is it fair for anybody except that particular company? What about the contributors? If OBS used such a license and reaped all the benefits would you still contribute to them?

        • ReversalHatchery@beehaw.org
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          3 months ago

          It’s GPL, they have to also provide the source. And you benefit from all the rights they do.

          They don’t provide the source.

          This is not a new thing, it’s been happening for years.

          If OBS used such a license and reaped all the benefits would you still contribute to them?

          Yes, I would. I’m a user, not a corporation that wants to repackage it.

  • jmcs
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    3 months ago

    So a single entity is allowed to commercialize external contributions without any kind of reciprocity. Somehow it sounds worse to me than Shared Source.

    If you are worried about leeches just use AGPL and call it a day.

    • Ephera@lemmy.ml
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      3 months ago

      Yeah, this model doesn’t work as a long-term solution in my eyes, because as a potential open-source contributor, I do not see myself ever contributing to such a project.

      I mean, I am avoiding anything which requires a CLA, in particular if I’d need to hand copyright over to a for-profit organization, but in those cases, because I don’t yet know, if I’ll get fucked over. With this “FairCode” thingamabob, I would feel fucked-over right away.

      And that ultimately breaks with why open-source is popular. Because everyone can scratch their itch and improve it for everyone else. If it’s just a for-profit organization dumping their source code, that’s going to fall off in quality quickly.

    • 1rre
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      3 months ago

      I personally don’t have an issue with companies commercialising software if they provide customer support - I wouldn’t want to deal with why it won’t work on some guy’s custom linux distro or filter through bugs where people are doing something weird, and so as long as the company aren’t just redirecting that all to the devs (which it seems like they aren’t here?) then fine they’re providing a service so frankly it makes more sense as saas than most things do

      • jmcs
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        3 months ago

        One way of making software more fair is by allowing developers to profit. Many companies today invest resources into taking an existing project and copying the ongoing work of the project creators; afterwards, creating and maintaining a hosted version using their code. In a fair circumstance, should they benefit from using the software, they could add certain features, fix bugs and support the community of users enjoying the product. In many cases they do, but fair-code ensures that this can happen by bringing businesses to the negotiation table when it comes to commercializing software.

        This is bullshit when only a set of developers are allowed to profit. Every single project with a non-commercial license I know has an exception for the company that owns the repo. At that point external contributions are not open or fair anything, it’s a company stealing labour.

        Either licenses are symmetrical or they are inherently unfair, and calling it Fair is doublespeak.

      • lemmyvore@feddit.nl
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        3 months ago

        They’re getting it from the facts. 😄

        The question is, where are you getting the “fair” moniker from? Who is it fair for? What makes it so much more fair than the other “models” that it’s the only one that deserves to be called that?

          • lemmyvore@feddit.nl
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            3 months ago

            It’s not an article, it’s a propaganda website that tries to say that black is white. Just slapping a “fair” or “open” label on something doesn’t make it so. Which brings us back to my questions: if this is what fair looks like, what does it make software licenses which are l aren’t listed there? Are those “unfair”? To whom?

            • Kata1yst@kbin.social
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              3 months ago

              They even literally have a section of the article that says they “see Fair Software as an alternative model to the free and open source software model”, and they think it’s superior because the “developers can profit”.

              Newsflash: the developers usually see fractions of those cents while most of the money goes to the management and shareholders of the company that employs them. Hmm, doesn’t seem fair to me.

              Also, developers can and do profit from FOSS in many ways, but the most popular models are with commercial support, SaaS offerings, and additional functionality (like providing a web interface, clustering manager or other external piece of the puzzle to solve the problem at scale in enterprise).

              Like you said so succinctly: propaganda website to make rug pullers like Elastic and Hashicorp look better.

    • dohpaz42@lemmy.world
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      3 months ago

      If only there was an article that described the monetization of such a model… oh, wait…

      We want people to make money off of their software, but we recognize that the community benefits from a project’s economic success. Within fair-code, creators have the exclusive right of commercializing their work, ensuring long-term profitability. Companies that wish to commercialize the software can contact the author and form a business relationship that benefits both parties!

      • jmcs
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        3 months ago

        So if I want to improve their software I need to pay them. Got it.

        • dohpaz42@lemmy.world
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          3 months ago

          That has to be one of the laziest, obvious trolls I’ve seen in a while. Could you at least put a little more effort into understanding the thing you’re railing against and not showing your blatant ignorance? That is not what was said and you know it. Do better.

          • Rivalarrival@lemmy.today
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            3 months ago

            “Hey, developer, your software is just about perfect for my use case, I just need to make this one small change. Can I go ahead and do that?”

            "Sure, you can make that change, just as soon as you pay us $X. Oh, and we are planning on including that feature in the next release, so you can go ahead and buy that from us.

      • mosiacmango@lemm.ee
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        3 months ago

        How much profit is Redis or Hashicorp kicking back to the people the contributed to it when it was FOSS? It’s just “Fair code” now to allow its “creators” to profit, right?

      • dsemy@lemm.ee
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        3 months ago

        Without every single contributor assigning copyright to a single entity for their code, the only way to commercialize a program distributed under such a license is to get every single contributor to agree to it separately (or not use their code).

        If every single contributor assigns copyright to a single entity, the project is now controlled by it, and unless that entity was particularly nice with its contracts, those contributors are now powerless if (for example) this entity decides to change the license.

  • haui@lemmy.giftedmc.com
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    3 months ago

    Damn this community is getting really toxic. Instead of addressing the huge elephant in the room (people getting jack shit for building great things and their labor being stolen by profit seeking entities), lets jump on the people who are trying to do something about it.

    I think the idea of maintainers getting a kickback from downstream profits is a great thing and hugely better than normal foss.

    P.S.: a system where you can just relicense the work of contributors with a CLA and profit off of them is not an inch better than this.

    • Captain Beyond@linkage.ds8.zone
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      3 months ago

      Damn this community is getting really toxic.

      You’re upset that a community called “open source” is pushing back against an attempt to co-opt the open source label? In my view this attempt is highly insidious and far worse than one corporate actor “stealing” (i.e. using) an open source project. These projects were all true free software before pulling the rug on the community and switching to a fauxpen source license, which makes it even worse - if these were proprietary from the beginning no one would have cared, but also fewer people would have contributed, because it doesn’t feel as good doing volunteer work for a proprietary product.

      I agree there needs to be a mechanism in place for free software developers to be financially compensated but if you’re changing the license so that it’s no longer free software then it’s just proprietary software under some faux “open” label, at which point you might just drop the pretense of being “open” at all - just admit you’re a proprietary software company that puts your financial interest ahead of the community’s.

      • haui@lemmy.giftedmc.com
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        3 months ago

        Long text for a really short topic: ideology

        Software can be free and open while not allowing megacorps to profit without kicking back.

        Being in this community regularly feels like coming to some backwater town where people gasp if you take the lords name in vain.

        Wake up. There is no „we make free software and everyone loves each other“. People helping get shut down because they „arent submitting PRs“ but open issues because the maintainers barely have the time to look into issues. If you ask people in this community what they do to help, they respond with i cant code as if that was the only way to help.

        The companies sucking in the profits made off of honest people‘s work is kneecapping open source development.

        The absolute best joke in it all is that „free and open source software“ isnt at all free. I‘m not free to have individuals use it for free and companies pay because tHaTs nOt fReE. It is thinly veiled corporate exploitation and both corpos and the people with open eyes know it.

        • Captain Beyond@linkage.ds8.zone
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          3 months ago

          There’s a certain irony, I think - the original free software movement was based on ensuring the users’ freedom to use, modify, and share software. “Open source” came about as a “business friendly” rebranding of Stallman’s movement (see Open source misses the point). Naturally, being friendly to business doesn’t mean business will be friendly back. That is to say, I acknowledge the unhealthy relationship between “business friendly open source” and the proprietary software industry.

          That said, it should be extremely obvious that most hardline free software supporters like Richard Stallman and Drew DeVault (https://drewdevault.com/2021/01/20/FOSS-is-to-surrender-your-monopoly.html) are far from “corporate bootlickers” the latter of which even runs an (actual) free software company (and yet also started this community fork of Redis).

          If you can’t make money from free software then feel free to sell proprietary software instead. What we take issue with is the attempt to co-opt the open source label, the attacks on real free software/open source, and (especially in this thread) the incessant name calling and accusations of bootlickery (while also characterizing anyone who pushes back as being “toxic”). Maybe we’re not just simping for Amazon here, maybe we actually see the forest for the trees and recognize the dangers of normalizing fauxpen source licenses.

          • haui@lemmy.giftedmc.com
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            3 months ago

            I acknowledge that you take the time and - in stark opposition to many other members of this community over many posts and months - keep a professional stance.

            The reason you‘re seeing namecalling is that you‘re nearly alone in communicating in a normal and constructive matter so the the fronts here are hardened a lot.

            That said, most hardline folks are either highly privileged (have enough money so they dont have to make money in their time) or plain acting in bad faith (not being developers/contributors/maintainers but having an opinion in the matter).

            So, stripping these away, you have a very heterogeneous group which could come to an agreement how to make both sides happy that is not „then use proprietary license“ because thats not fair to people making software you and I can use, change and fix if we so wish.

            Besides ideological reasons („if I cant do everything with it its not free“ and „maintainers dont deserve more than one-line-contributors“) there is very little reason to go hard line on this.

            And the „coopt open source label“ is also a populist argument because hard lining is coopting the whole thing in its own way. Nobody has the right to choose what a certain chain of words actually is. Language is developing and changes over time.

            Mark my words: Being „no negotioation“ on this topic is going to break the whole idea of FOSS and helps corpos and nobody else

    • onlinepersona@programming.devOP
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      3 months ago

      So far, I haven’t seen a realistic proposition for OSI opensource projects to get fairly compensated or protected from leechers like mega-corps. If you’re some widely used project without marketing like xz, then nobody cares about financing you until something big happens. I’ll just make a post asking what people realistically expect should be done, because it does pique my interest now.

      Anti Commercial-AI license

      • haui@lemmy.giftedmc.com
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        3 months ago

        I know mate. You know I pretty much stand behind 99% of your posts and comments. I feel the same way about this. But I’m taking real issue with the treatment the members of this sub give to people who are asking uncomfortable questions.

    • dsemy@lemm.ee
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      3 months ago

      P.S.: a system where you can just relicense the work of contributors with a CLA and profit off of them is not an inch better than this.

      Unless you’re a single developer, how are you supposed to profit off your own work without making contributors sign a CLA with these licenses? You only “own” the code you write personally, so AFAIU with these licenses making money off of your code becomes harder the more contributors you have (regardless of the amount they contributed).

      • haui@lemmy.giftedmc.com
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        3 months ago

        I personally dont care if only the maintainers get money for maintaining the stuff while I contribute.

        People really have to understand that 10 lines of code arent what makes a project cool. Its a person (or multiple) working on issues day in day out and those are the ones profiting.

        Sometimes this issue feels like the low income folks voting pro billionaires because they could profit from that. Its like they have been lobotomized.

        If you want to get paid, maintain, imo.

        • dsemy@lemm.ee
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          3 months ago

          I agree with you, but as long as many developers don’t the situation stays the same (since the law is technically on their side without a CLA or similar).

            • dsemy@lemm.ee
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              3 months ago

              You missed my point - a fair code license doesn’t change copyright law, so if you’re not the sole developer you can’t easily commercialize your own code, by design.

              This is in contrast to free software licenses, which allow anyone to commercialize the code.

              • haui@lemmy.giftedmc.com
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                3 months ago

                Ok, maybe I missed your point. Pretty sure the licenses mentioned on the fair code website are legal and allow you to do just that. If I need to have people sign a cla then I‘ll do it. I‘m not getting robbed so a person submitting 1 line can say they get the same as the maintainer (nothing).

                • dsemy@lemm.ee
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                  3 months ago

                  The licenses are legal and allow you to monetize code - but they place restrictions on how it can be done, by design.

                  A restriction common to all those licenses is that you must own the code to monetize it.

                  If you create a project with a license like this and require a CLA for contributions, why would I not look for a different to project to contribute to? You’re literally telling me only you are allowed to profit from the code I write. Some people will be okay with this, but many won’t (note that current FOSS licenses allow you to monetize the code even if you did sign a CLA).

                  OTOH, a company trying to get free cotributions while hampering their competition will greatly benefit from such a license.

                  So these licenses benefit scummy companies, and make the lives of independent maintainers harder, while lowering the potential for contribution. They are objectively worse than what we have now, and are clearly not free licenses

  • Rimu@piefed.social
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    3 months ago

    The faircode model assumes that contributions from random outside people are minor and that the bulk of the work is done by the founder(s). To the founders there is little actual benefit from being an open source project, anyway. I can understand the attraction of the model in that situation.

    My ideal OSS project would be receiving a steady stream of contributions from a wide variety of people without an elite sub group that considers themselves to be “the authors”, which would be obviously unsuited to the faircode model. Sadly few projects achieve that and are largely the work of one person.

    IMO it depends on the situation/project.

  • fubarx@lemmy.ml
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    3 months ago

    Let’s not forget… the reason this type of licensing exists is because large cloud providers were taking a large code base and selling them as services . Often, the main path for the creators to make any money from their code is to offer a paid, managed tier, along with professional services. They would end up competing, and losing, against those cloud providers.

    Not saying this kind of license is good or bad, but the reason is often not to stop self-hosting or screw contributors, but to maintain couple of the only pathways FOSS can bring in revenue.

  • wiki_me@lemmy.ml
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    3 months ago

    Create proprietary software project , sell the software and give all the profit to starving kids in africa beside taking in a modest salary (say the US median salary) and call fair code, it’s more fair then hashicorp CEO getting something like 100K a month in salary and stocks.