Where Creative Commons botched

I think Creative Commons is and was a great effort, but I think they made one critical mistake, the non-commerical clause. I can understand that at first glance that making it possible to limit ‘commercial use’ seems like a good idea, at least in order to get people onto the idea of copyleft style licensing, but in practicality it kills the basic purpose of the license, to allow people to freely copy.

For instance many websites which would be interested in distributing this content and provide free downloads of it, use banner adds to pay for or subsidize the cost of the servers and bandwith. Problem is that as soon as you add that banner add, you are enganging in a commerical activity and are no longer allowed to distribute anything with the non-commercial clause.

I ranted on this issue in a recent
mail to the Creative Commons license list

Mono and GNOME

Red Hat’s decision to start shipping Mono based applications and libraries have altered the landscape quite a bit in the ongoing discussion about Mono’s place in the GNOME development landscape.

Although Sun probably is still negative they do have a partnership currently with Microsoft which should make shipping Mono with their GNOME desktops less of a problem for them.

While I don’t think this makes the decision that Mono is the future of GNOME, I do think it means that Mono have a place in GNOME’s future.

GNU Flash

Frederic Crozat pointed me to a news article about GNU Flash today. My opinion is that GNU Flash is a mostly useless project due to its licensing. Flash today isn’t just playing Flash animations, it also includes audio through mp3 support and 2-3 video codecs non of them free. Which means a GPL flash library will never be usefull is large parts of the world. People should instead get involved in Swfdec which is LGPL and already made to integrate with GStreamer. If GNU thinks flash support is important they should offer it under a license that doesn’t make half their users wait 5 years before they can legally use it. Or if they wanted something to compete with Flash and which is free they should join up with librsvg and help improve it to become a Flash killer. Combining SVG with SMIL should create something very similar to Flash in capabilities.


#1 pundit on 01.11.06 at 03:40

Are you talking about some subset or particular usage of Creative Commons’ licensing? Because you obviously know that they provide a family of licenses, both allowing and preventing commercial usage. The searchable media on their site can also be filtered to provide those that allow commercial usage.

I guess I just don’t understand what exactly you’re having a proble with.

#2 Christian on 01.11.06 at 04:08

I am talking about the fact that they have a ‘non-commercial’ option at all. To compare with open source software, I am sure if the GPL had a non-commerical clause, even an optional one, it would have meant GNU/Linux wouldn’t be anywhere close to where it is today.

#3 sebest on 01.11.06 at 04:41

I think that svg + smil wouldn’t be enought to be a flash killer.

We definitely need a good authoring tool. Flash is an authoring tool + a player.

I think it’s also one of the reason SMIL never really took off: it is missing a good authoring tool. The only thing close to this is limsee (http://wam.inrialpes.fr/software/limsee2/)

#4 Alex on 01.11.06 at 04:59

I don’t really understand your comment about the Gnash licensing – why does being under the GPL mean that people have to wait five years to use it? Where does that five years come from?

As for the usefulness without codecs, I agree and disagree. mp3 support is probably the more important of the codecs, but there isn’t really a reason why Gnash can’t just output the stream and the user/packager decides what happens to it (e.g., pipe it to gstreamer?)

#5 Richard on 01.11.06 at 09:30

This seems to by quite a controversal post. I like the Idea of a GNU Flash player, and I don’t think SVG and stuff is a viable option, because: There is already more than a truckload of flash material on the web, whether you like it or not, and people need a way to view it. And concerning the mp3 situation: Do we really have to wait 5 years? Actually I can listen to mp3 files today on my computer without paying to fraunhofer. How do I do it? I download the software and play it. It’s that easy.

Considering that I think of software patents and similar stuff as immoral, it’s my moral duty to disobey them. ;)