I hate software licenses. Well, I kind of like the WTFPL. But most of them I don't like; they're simply too complicated. And there aretoo many of them.I was painfully reminded of this, like I need the reminding, by lookingat theRuby licensewhich leads to the even scarierLEGAL file.
In contrast, thePython licenseis a thing of beauty.
I suppose a lot of folks don't care too much about software licenses.But asa software developer that would like to consume, reuse, and redistribute as muchopen/free software as I can get away with, and workingat a big software development house that has atendency to attract legal attacks,I can tell you, I care. Because my company cares. More complicated licensingscenarios mean more time spent with lawyers, and less time in my text editor.
However, while day-dreaming of our eventual future, SaaS,I happened to think that all the licensing nonsense just goes away. Becausein the future, we won't be delivering software to customers, we'll be deliveringthe results of service requests. The output of some program. And atleast for the GPL, it seems clear to methat I don't have any downstream licensing issues. As long as I never redistribute my programs.
But of course, that really goes against the spirit of certain licenses, andI'm thinking of the GPL in particular. The GPL was designed to allow tinkerersto tinker, but SaaS doesn't really lend itself to that model. Maybe that's abig downside of SaaS; the loss of freedom to tinker. But more importantly,will software licenses be extended so the concept of 'combining source/programs' applies tousing a client program using a service over the network? Or is this already a concern?
Blue sky dreaming? Yeah, probably. But ya gotta dream!
BTW, we will clearly have to deal withsoftware patentsin the SaaS world.