Forums > MaxMSP

free open source license for patches?

March 23, 2006 | 1:05 am

Hello,

what experience do people have with open source licenses such as GPL
[http://www.fsf.org/] or one of the creative commons licenses
[http://creativecommons.org/] for Max patches?

I want to release some patches I wrote as free software (libre, not just
for free), but would want to avoid the (probably minimal) risk of
commercial abuse.

Cheers…
…Diemo


Diemo Schwarz, PhD — http://www.ircam.fr/anasyn/schwarz
Real-Time Applications Team — http://www.ircam.fr/equipes/temps-reel
IRCAM – Centre Pompidou — 1, place Igor-Stravinsky, 75004 Paris, France
Phone +33-1-4478-4879 — Fax +33-1-4478-1540


March 23, 2006 | 2:53 am

What means "commercial abuse"? Both the GPL and many (though not all)
of the creative commons licenses explicitly permit commercial
modification/distribution/sale of the code, as long as changes are
returned to the creators of the patches. The idea is that you get free
code improvements in return for others’ use of your software. The only
"abuse" that can arise with the GPL is someone distributing (not just
using) modified copies of your software without giving you the
modifications.

In practice, I have released every max patch I have ever gotten to a
distributable state under the GPL or free-er licenses, and have never
gotten any modifications back, and only gotten one bug report. (Maybe I
just write bug-free software :?) I have also never seen anyone but
people I know use my patches. Probably has something to do with the
fact that in general it is easier, and certainly more satisfying, to
write your own patches than to adapt others’ for one’s personal artistic
endeavors.

That said, I have learned a lot from seeing others’ code. Why restrict
it? It seems to me that it is perhaps somewhat presumptuous for most of
us Maxers to place any kind of license encumbrance on our work. It is,
quite likely, not that special as software, and much more important in
how and where you use it.

-Charlie


March 23, 2006 | 7:45 am

As far as I understand, if you are to permit others to use the
software with Max I am not sure if you can use GPL at all. I believe
you instead will have to use GNU LGPL. Quoting "Why you shouldn’t
use the Library GPL for your next library":

The GNU Project has two principal licenses to use for libraries. One
is the GNU Library GPL; the other is the ordinary GNU GPL. The choice
of license makes a big difference: using the Library GPL permits use
of the library in proprietary programs; using the ordinary GPL for a
library makes it available only for free programs.

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/why-not-lgpl.html

For this reason it is difficult to port Pd code to Max (GNU GPL),
while it is possible to port Csound opcodes (GNU LGPL). My own
objects and Jamoma are both released as GNU LGPL. I don’t think I
have seen my own externals embedded in standalones that are sold more
than twice, one of the times by permission and licensed differently.
The main advantages with open source objects is that they might stay
alive even if the original developer leave the community. Also they
might provide useful resources for others that want not only to use
them but also study the construction. This has been really useful for
myself when trying to figure out how to make externals coded in C.
Finally I feel that I have gained so much from others sharing their
expertise and work that I like to be able to contribute something in
return to the community. Of course I understand that the amount of
work and financial situations might be different for others, and I
don’t expect or demand others to do the same. I have been drinking a
lot of governmental-sponsored coffee, as NN used to say… ;-)

Best,
Trond


March 23, 2006 | 9:08 am

Charlie, thanks for your comments.

with "commercial abuse" I meant the possibility for someone else to sell
binary versions of Max patches. Thus, the "abuse" is not from the point
of view of the license, which expressly allows it, as you said, but from
my personal practical point of view:

I wouldn’t want someone taking whole patches, with lots of work in them,
and wrapping them up in a standalone or a VST plugin, and selling them
for money. The GPL only stipulates that you distribute the source code,
i.e. the Max patch, with it and the text of the license.

In short, this possibility is legally covered by the license, but I
don’t like it. (Redistributing binaries for free would be swell, of
course, as would be using, tweaking, ripping apart, reusing parts, and
redistributing the patches.)

For software, the GPL de-facto makes this binary redistribution for
money highly unlikely for one simple reason: Compilers exist as free
software, so anyone (with the necessary skills) can recreate the binary
and distribute if for free, so why would anyone else pay money for the
same thing? (Charging money for that _service_ would of course be fine,
but not distribution.)

In our case, the "compiler" is Max and is not free, in neither of the
two senses, and less people own it, so binary distribution to the
Max-less becomes more attractive. (Again, if it’s for free I would even
appreciate it.)

But maybe I’m just being paranaoid, maybe it never happens at all and I
shouldn’t bother. That’s why I asked for your experiences.

I must mention the creative commons BY-NC-SA license here
[http://creativecommons.org/about/licenses/meet-the-licenses ], which
says that use, modifications and redistribution is allowed when the
author is acknowledged (BY attribution), it is only redistributed for
free (Non Commercial), and the patch and modifications are redistributed
under the same license (Share Alike). To prevent misunderstandings, of
course you would be allowed to sell music you make with the patches…

Cheers…
…Diemo


Diemo Schwarz, PhD — http://www.ircam.fr/anasyn/schwarz
Real-Time Applications Team — http://www.ircam.fr/equipes/temps-reel
IRCAM – Centre Pompidou — 1, place Igor-Stravinsky, 75004 Paris, France
Phone +33-1-4478-4879 — Fax +33-1-4478-1540


March 23, 2006 | 10:17 am

> Finally I feel that I have gained so much from others sharing their
> expertise and work that I like to be able to contribute something in
> return to the community. Of course I understand that the amount of
> work and financial situations might be different for others, and I
> don’t expect or demand others to do the same. I have been drinking a
> lot of governmental-sponsored coffee, as NN used to say… ;-)
>
> Best,
> Trond

myself i prefer creative-commons-attribute:non-
commercial over GPL mainly for two reasons, CC
does not come with a several pages long contract,
and has the option not to allow commercial use.
it simply fits better to my personal philosophy.

the main question which is cmtained in all these
discussions is "how to make sure that noone
steals your work to gain profit from your ideas".

you can not do much against this IMO.

in capitalism the assholes which own the money
will always gain profit from your work and your
ideas, no matter if you are employed, self-employed,
or unemployed.

and if you do not trust karl marx and 110, try to
find me ONE example where this isnt true.
even anti-capitalistic rallies, ciritical books,
internet discussions about the future society or
illegal graffiti writing makes the companies profit.

what would you do if microsoft steals your supercool
patch for mangling audio in realtime tomorrow?

sue them? who do you think you are? :)

on this planet you have to pay for drinking water!
you should be danmed happy that you may breathe
without paying for the air, so do not complain
about someone stealing your open source software.

just be happy that the whole idea behind free
software (and this includes "free sofwtare" as defined
in open source theories as well as CC or freeware
and shareware licensed code) might help a bit to
fight against their profit ideology.

the more we share with _each other_, the less _we_,
or even _others_, depend on _them_.

(4*55) = (still slower than my new ferrari)


March 23, 2006 | 10:53 am

On 23-Mar-2006, at 10:08, Diemo Schwarz wrote:

> In our case, the "compiler"

Interpreter.

> is Max and is not free, in neither of the two senses,

The interpreter, Max Runtime, *is* free. At least in one sense.

There are problems with the GPL free beer/free speech dichotomy I
don’t want to have to go into here, so let’s just say it doesn’t cost
money. And it’s even supported!

> But maybe I’m just being paranaoid

Paranoia is fine.

Depending upon whether your patches provide services that people
would be prepared to pay money for, your concerns may or may not be
justified. And the more people are aware that they can get your
patches from you for free the less likely they are to pay money to
someone else for exactly the same thing.

It’s not impossible for some sleaze to make a quick buck by
redistributing your work to the unsuspecting. Frankly, I’m not sure
that any license, be it LGPL, GPL, or whatever, is going to make a
lot of difference to that aspect.

The main advantage of the GPL family is that they give a precise
definition of rights to modify ("create derivative works" in c’right
parlance). However, for many Max patches a simple "Copyright
. Permission granted herewith for non-commercial
distribution." is probably good enough. Your mileage will vary, however.

– P

————– http://www.bek.no/~pcastine/Litter/ ————-
Peter Castine | +–> Litter Power & Litter Bundle for Jitter
|…………………………………………….
p@castine.de | iCE: Sequencing, Recording, and Interface Building
pcastine@gmx.net | for Max/MSP
pcastine@bek.no | http://www.dspaudio.com/ Extremely cool
4-15@kagi.com |…………………………………………….
| home|chez nous|wir|i nostri http://www.castine.de/


March 23, 2006 | 12:48 pm

On Mar 23, 2006, at 5:17 AM, Roman Thilenius wrote:
> on this planet you have to pay for drinking water!

Of are you paying for the service of having it delivered?
Either through pipes into your home
or in bottles that travel from islands in the South Pacific.

2 ways of looking at it.
Seems an appropriate analogy for looking at GPL.

—–
Nathan Wolek
nw@nathanwolek.com

http://www.nathanwolek.com


March 23, 2006 | 1:00 pm

> The GNU Project has two principal licenses to use for libraries. One is
> the GNU Library GPL; the other is the ordinary GNU GPL. The choice of
> license makes a big difference: using the Library GPL permits use of the
> library in proprietary programs; using the ordinary GPL for a library
> makes it available only for free programs.
>
> http://www.gnu.org/licenses/why-not-lgpl.html
>
> For this reason it is difficult to port Pd code to Max (GNU GPL), while
> it is possible to port Csound opcodes (GNU LGPL).

I have heard this misconception about the GPL batted around here before
- but it just isn’t true. There is no reason why you can’t release Max
patches or objects under the GPL. It is the same idea as writing free
software for Windows. For the GPL, it doesn’t matter if the free code
depends on a non-free library; there is only a problem if a non-free
program incorporates your code.

The LGPL allows non-free software to link (in the compiler sense) to
your software without releasing their code. For example, if you write a
great new audio compression format that you want to be a standard, you
might release under the LGPL so that proprietary audio software makers
will be comfortable linking to your decompression library. With Max the
situation is reversed; it is your free code that depends on a non-free
library, and thus LGPL isn’t necessary.

Pd is actually released under the "Standard Improved BSD License", which
is less restrictive than either GPL or LGPL (it makes no restrictions
about others’ use of your software of any kind, and only asks that
copyright information be retained in distributions).

One more note on licenses: the creative commons licenses, while
definitely nice, are not intended for software. see:
http://creativecommons.org/faq#Can_I_use_a_Creative_Commons_ license_for_software?

Of course, the line between "software" and "artwork" gets blurry with Max.

If you want the nice cc human readable license and the GPL is suitable
to you, you might like their GPL "wrapping":

http://creativecommons.org/license/cc-gpl

Of course, "I am Not A Lawyer."

cheers,
Charlie


March 23, 2006 | 3:40 pm

On 23-Mar-2006, at 13:48, Nathan Wolek wrote:
> Of are you paying for the service of having it delivered?
> Either through pipes into your home
> or in bottles that travel from islands in the South Pacific.

People like to overlook that point: pumping, filtering, and piping
don’t just magically happen. Nor do pre-release testing,
documentation, support, and maintenance.

Interestingly, what’s *really* expensive in Berlin (and most of
Germany) is disposing waste water, which is listed as a separate line
item on my water bill. Sewers and drain pipes don’t build and
maintain themselves, either. Not sure what the parallel in the
software world is ;-

– P.

————– http://www.bek.no/~pcastine/Litter/ ————-
Peter Castine | +–> Litter Power & Litter Bundle for Jitter
|…………………………………………….
p@castine.de | iCE: Sequencing, Recording, and Interface Building
pcastine@gmx.net | for Max/MSP
pcastine@bek.no | http://www.dspaudio.com/ Extremely cool
4-15@kagi.com |…………………………………………….
| home|chez nous|wir|i nostri http://www.castine.de/


March 23, 2006 | 5:20 pm

Trond Lossius wrote:
> For this reason it is difficult to port Pd code to Max (GNU GPL)

If you read the splash screen of Max/MSP carefully, you will realize
that MSP is actually based on Pd. This was possible because Pd is not
released under GPL but ander one of the Berkley licenses. Which would
allow to close the source again under certain circumstances.
Actually the LGPL would allow to incorporate parts of a library into
closed source projects as well.

The licenses of Max do not prevent anybody from releasing externals or
patches under GPL. Its probably what Diemo wants. It would allow the
use, even the commercial use, but only if the software which is
incorporating it will be released under the same GPL. They may sell it,
but everybody may distribute it for free and may modify at will.
(This would not be interesting for Microschuft)

If its code, externals or abstractions, which are for being used in
other programms, I think the GPL is just the easiest way to do it.
Everybody knows it, no need to read and misunderstand a license text.

If its a finished program for end use which more like a piece of art,
its worth to look into the cc-licenses, they are more diversified for
different uses/wishes. As they claim "some rights reserved" which ones,
the creator can choose freely.

Stefan

[][] [][][] [][] [][][]
[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]

Stefan Tiedje
Klanggestalter
Electronic Composition
&
Improvisation

/~~~~~
\ /|() ()|
))))) )| | |( \
/// _/)/ )))))
___/ ///

————————-x—-
–_____———–|———–
–(_|_ —-|—–|—–()—-
– _|_)—-|—–()———–
———-()————x—–

14, Av. Pr. Franklin Roosevelt,
94320 Thiais, France
Phone at CCMIX +33-1-57 42 91 09


March 23, 2006 | 5:37 pm

I assume you mean commercial abuse to be taking your software,
modifying it, and selling it without giving you credit and without
them releasing the modifications. If these are your concerns, use the
GPL. A BSD-style license will not protect you from them modifying the
source code and then keeping the source to themselves as they sell
the software. I would honestly evaluate though if there is an actual
reason to be concerned, and if the concern is great enough to
inconvenience other Max programmers who may want to incorporate your
code into their project but do not want to use the GPL (i.e. they
want to release it into the public domain). I personally release into
the public domain whenever possible, as all BSD licenses do is ensure
accreditation. (They also include an extra disclaimer which is useful
when selling software, but AFAIK not required when freely
distributing source. Merchantability does not come into play when you
give something away.)

- John


March 23, 2006 | 6:23 pm

I am certainly no lawyer and I am not going to insist on anything,
but my previous post was based on an earlier discussion at the
SuperCollider list that has been referenced here before:

http://www.create.ucsb.edu/pipermail/sc-users/2003-May/00373 7.html

That discussion quotes the following from the GNU GPL faq:

> Can I apply the GPL when writing a plug-in for a non-free program?
>
>> If the program uses fork and exec to invoke plug-ins, then the
>> plug-ins are separate programs, so the license for the main
>> program makes no requirements for them. So you can use the GPL for
>> a plug-in, and there are no special requirements.
>>
>> If the program dynamically links plug-ins, and they make function
>> calls to each other and share data structures, we believe they
>> form a single program, which must be treated as an extension of
>> both the main program and the plug-ins. This means that
>> combination of the GPL-covered plug-in with the non-free main
>> program would violate the GPL. However, you can resolve that legal
>> problem by adding an exception to your plug-in’s license, giving
>> permission to link it with the non-free main program.

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLPluginsInNF

I don’t fully understand the meaning of this, but James McCartney
concludeded that Max externals can not be licensed as GNU GPL, and he
used to make Max externals himself long ago, implicitly stating that
SuperCollider code can not be ported to Max.

I know that MSP was initially based on Pd, but I had the impression
that that had been arranged due to a separate license agreement. I
was probably wrong about that. Anyway I opened the most recent Pd-
extended folder installed from

http://at.or.at/hans/pd/installers.html

and checked the license. It is a GNU GPL license but also states that
parts of the package can be used under Pd’s BSD license. I guess that
various libraries extending Pd might be released under a number of
different licenses, so that one will have to consider the license for
each PD external before porting.

If I am mistaken or misunderstand anything here, please enlighten me.

Best,
Trond


March 23, 2006 | 6:23 pm

On Mar 23, 2006, at 10:40 AM, Peter Castine wrote:
> Interestingly, what’s *really* expensive in Berlin (and most of
> Germany) is disposing waste water, which is listed as a separate
> line item on my water bill. Sewers and drain pipes don’t build and
> maintain themselves, either. Not sure what the parallel in the
> software world is ;-

Peter:
Being in a semi-rural area, my house is on a septic system. No
sewage charges on my water bill. But then if you don’t perform
maintenance regularly, it could back up into your house. Guess that
is essentially the software model too. This water analogy works on
so many levels. ;)
–Nathan

—–
Nathan Wolek
nw@nathanwolek.com

http://www.nathanwolek.com


March 23, 2006 | 7:09 pm

>
> what would you do if microsoft steals your supercool
> patch for mangling audio in realtime tomorrow?
> sue them? who do you think you are? :)

This is really what it all boils down to is enforcement. I’m not so
sure that GPL has really even had its day in court. It seems more
psychological and cultural than legally binding, and if you are
releasing free software, you aren’t really building up a war chest for
enforcement. So the worth of GPL, BSD, CC or whatever for an
individual’s purposes is probably not much greater than a statement of
"Please don’t take my code and turn it into a commercial product and
feed your family from my bread." As long as your position is fairly
clear, it’s ultimately up to the ethics of the people(s) who are
interested in your code. And a simple statement is probably far
clearer than GPL!

> on this planet you have to pay for drinking water!
> you should be danmed happy that you may breathe
> without paying for the air,

hmm…well, as an individual you don’t have to, but, tangentially, have
you ever heard of "carbon credits"?

P.


March 23, 2006 | 9:36 pm

Trond Lossius wrote:
> I don’t fully understand the meaning of this, but James McCartney
> concludeded that Max externals can not be licensed as GNU GPL, and he
> used to make Max externals himself long ago, implicitly stating that
> SuperCollider code can not be ported to Max.

I am sure he is wrong there.

If he released under GPL, it would be possible to base externals on it,
but it would not be possible to include it into the Max application.
Though I’d always respect his wish, or ask directly.

The line is: If I make would a derivative of Supercollider to run as a
Max external, then none of the creators of Max are involved at all. How
should the Max licensing affect my work? As Cycling allows to create
externals and abstractions and release them under GPL, public domain or
whatever everything should be fine. (Though on windows you have to pay
extra for commercial products for licencing reasons cycling is bound to.)

> I know that MSP was initially based on Pd, but I had the impression
> that that had been arranged due to a separate license agreement. I was
> probably wrong about that.

Miller actually did choose the BSD license to allow David to use it for MSP.

> http://at.or.at/hans/pd/installers.html
>
> and checked the license. It is a GNU GPL license but also states that
> parts of the package can be used under Pd’s BSD license. I guess that
> various libraries extending Pd might be released under a number of
> different licenses, so that one will have to consider the license for
> each PD external before porting.

All what comes from Miller is BSD licensed and most 3rd party externals
are GPL. As GPL is more restrictive than BSD, its possible to include
the BSD licensed code into a GPL project. The GPL of Hans installers is
related to the installer he made, not to Pd itself.

Stefan

[][] [][][] [][] [][][]
[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]

Stefan Tiedje
Klanggestalter
Electronic Composition
&
Improvisation

/~~~~~
\ /|() ()|
))))) )| | |( \
/// _/)/ )))))
___/ ///

————————-x—-
–_____———–|———–
–(_|_ —-|—–|—–()—-
– _|_)—-|—–()———–
———-()————x—–

14, Av. Pr. Franklin Roosevelt,
94320 Thiais, France
Phone at CCMIX +33-1-57 42 91 09



f.e
March 25, 2006 | 8:52 am

I’d like to know *who’s* making *real* money with commercial patches out
there ?!! Does Mrs Pinky matches the Traktor DJ’s sales ? Are there
major companies really interested in what’s going on here ? These are
first degree questions, don’t take it the Zsolt’s way ;-)

What are the sales of the Tap.Tools 2 ? And what about iCE ? And
Light-Regie ? (few examples of what is sold from the max world)

As far as i know, max patches don’t help the NASA, nor Sony-BMG,
Microsoft neither… I really wonder what’s the *actual* economy behind
max ? Art schools ? Museums ? East germany kitchen labels ? This economy
is absolutely virtual : there’s no money, actually. In France, what
helps the maxers maxing is public money (schools, public calls for
works, galleries); In the US, i suppose it’s the same, but most of the
money comes from Schools (how many teachers and students on this list ?!!)

My point is we’re discussing the commercial nature of something that
doesn’t produce real money and that doesn’t interest people. They don’t
care about.

Producers of numeric arts and multimedia artists have bad time these
days. It’s really touching to see we all care about the free nature of
our work, but don’t forget it’s not meant to help doing an R’N'B radio hit !

Tired to go further in english. There would be a lot of things to add to
give weight to what i say but i’m sure you got the sketch.

best

f.e


March 25, 2006 | 11:39 am

Peter Castine wrote:
> Interestingly, what’s *really* expensive in Berlin (and most of
> Germany) is disposing waste water….
> Not sure what the parallel in the software world is ;-

being forced to upgrade old software to the newest version…
And paying for redo everything if the old formats don’t load ("can’t
read old format files" to create a Max connection… ;-)

Stefan

[][] [][][] [][] [][][]
[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]

Stefan Tiedje
Klanggestalter
Electronic Composition
&
Improvisation

/~~~~~
\ /|() ()|
))))) )| | |( \
/// _/)/ )))))
___/ ///

————————-x—-
–_____———–|———–
–(_|_ —-|—–|—–()—-
– _|_)—-|—–()———–
———-()————x—–

14, Av. Pr. Franklin Roosevelt,
94320 Thiais, France
Phone at CCMIX +33-1-57 42 91 09


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