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    the way i see it,

    • there was a bsd-licensed osxfuse project
    • fleischer was the maintainer and pretty much sole developer of it
    • lots of companies maintained their own private forks of it, bundling it with proprietary apps and not contributing anything back upstream
    • fleischer also maintained his own private fork
    • his fork happens to work on catalina
    • he is offering companies whose forks do not work on catalina the opportunity to access his source code, as a commercial deal

    other than the fact that he deliberately concealed the fact that he was no longer developing a bsd version (presumably so that no one else would bother working on catalina support until it was too late) i have no issues with what he did.

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      I have yet to encounter a free software or open source license that guarantees the freedom to be informed of the author’s otherwise private business plans in advance. :-)

      osxfuse became de facto non-free software once the Kernel Extension Signing Certificate was required, much like Linux on the TiVo. Sure, you can change it but then you can’t run it. The fact that it’s no longer gratis isn’t a setback for software freedom at all.

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        An interesting fact about tivoisation that shouldn’t be forgotten is that Linus Torvalds is outspokenly okay with the method.

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          My impression is that opposition to tivoization was mostly from Stallman/FSF.

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            At times I wonder if the FSF’s push against Tivoization was the beginning of their decline. Linus and the Linux kernel ignored them, big companies got cold feet on “free software” and moved to “open source” (and the symptoms of it like say, Mac OS not shipping modern bash, the rise of LLVM, etc.), and the GPLv3 is seen as overreach by lawyers.

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          I have yet to encounter a free software or open source license that guarantees the freedom to be informed of the author’s otherwise private business plans in advance. :-)

          that’s a good point :) and if the companies really cared they could have reached out to him and asked if there would be a catalina version, at which point he could have asked them to pay him to work on it.

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            The fact that it’s no longer gratis isn’t a setback for software freedom at all.

            It’s a kernel extension for an OS that isn’t free (AFAICT only Mojave source is available and it’s not like you can build MacOS) and seeks to restrict what you can do with it (via Gatekeeper, which can be turned off but is harder to do so than before - this is why I say seeks rather than restricts). I’m not sure there’s that much software freedom to begin with.

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            lots of companies maintained their own private forks of it, bundling it with proprietary apps and not contributing anything back upstream

            This is exactly the reason why we have GNU GPL and copyleft.

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                Of course. But „private“ means that you are using given software for your own purposes (at your household or at your company/organization). It is OK that you do not have to publish your changes.

                However if someone is „bundling it with proprietary apps“ (which is the case we are talking about), then he is distributing the software to his customers – and at this point GNU GPL comes into play and says that he must share also the source codes with his customers (not with public, but the customers can publish them because GNU GPL grants them this right).

                P.S. For the software that is not distributed to the users but is used over the network, there is GNU Affero GPL. And TiVoization is avoided by GNU GPLv3 (since 2007).

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                  Yep, it also does not require upstream commits. Your only obligation to the maintainer is credit and preserving the freedom of the user.

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                  There may not have been anything to commit back upstream (i.e. no changes to osxfuse were made), and the source code for the application is probably not very useful for this osxfuse developer.

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                    “Maintaining a private fork” implies making changes to the source. If you’re just downloading the code but not making changes to it, you aren’t “maintaining” it.

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                      “Maintaining a private fork”

                      Where is that claim being made? All I see being claimed is that companies are “using” it, not modifying it.

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                        https://lobste.rs/s/2alill/osxfuse_is_no_longer_open_source#c_1mh8hv:

                        lots of companies maintained their own private forks of it, bundling it with proprietary apps and not contributing anything back upstream

                        This is exactly the reason why we have GNU GPL and copyleft.

                        The very comment you replied to discusses it.

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                          That’s just the summary/paraphrasing of someone (“the way i see it [..]”); I think they were just making assumptions? I read the article and all linked issues, and don’t see a mention of anything like a “fork”, just “using”, but perhaps I missed it?

                          As I understand it forking – private or otherwise – would actually be rather hard (though not impossible) because of the special kernel module signing certificate, which are not so easy to obtain.

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                Good for Benjamin. For those who are disappointed by his decision to not give away his work to businesses to use without sharing their profits, feel free to fork osxfuse and port to Catalina yourself.

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                  It is buried in the footnotes of the post, but the ultimate reason behind going closed source is that Google built their enterprise GDrive syncing client for mac off a fork of osxfuse. The original author of osxfuse feels entitled to some compensation for that and is doing his damnedest to make it happen.

                  source

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                    The original author of osxfuse feels entitled to some compensation for that and is doing his damnedest to make it happen.

                    If he have used copyleft (GNU GPL) license, he would be able to do dual-licensing and negotiate that compensation.

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                      He didn’t really choose the license though. This is a fork of macfuse, which was written and released as open source by… Umm… Google.

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                        I do not know the history of this software. But (3-clause) BSD is compatible with GPL so you can license your contributions (new code) under GPL and distribute the whole work under GPL.

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                        That applies to the previous BSD style licence too. I.e. if a giant megacorp like Google wanted to support this single developer they could have, but they chose not to. I don’t think GPL would have changed this. I suspect it would have meant they would have just developed the necessary features themselves, in house.

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                      I feel like I’ve seen this scenario play out a few times recently: author chooses a non-copyleft license, gets annoyed when someone doesn’t do the thing copyleft requires.

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                        I have downloaded their repositories and it seems OK. Was some source code or commits deleted? Or just some tags were deleted or redirected to nowhere?

                        As long as they share the complete source code under a free software license, we could call it free software. But „free“ as in „freedom“ does not equal „free“ as in „free beer“. Free software does not mean that the author is obligated to provide you services (like packages or support) at zero price.

                        If they have deleted some commits/branches (I see last commit one year ago), it is not nice, but they can do it. This is one of reasons why I run my own Mercurial and Git servers and why I backup/clone interesting software into it. I do not use Mac OS (a proprietary software) so I have not backed this up, but you will probably find someone who has a complete backup.

                        I would recommend you using a free operating system like GNU/Linux. It has much more friendly culture than proprietary systems and besides the „free as in freedom“ you can usually also get more „free as in free beer“ here.

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                          friendly culture

                          I think this very up for debate.

                          Also, this doesn’t deal with the core problem - is the economics for free as in beer enforced by free as in freedom sustainable? It seems this closing is a last-ditch reluctant move.

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                            I think this very up for debate.

                            In GNU/Linux I can e.g. install my own kernel module without asking for a permission (a digital signature). And however it does not forbid you using proprietary software, the free software is the norm here which gives you all the rights (to study, modify, distribute, run for any purpose…).

                            free as in beer enforced by free as in freedom

                            No, „free as in freedom“ does not imply „free as in free beer“ and it does not force you to provide your services or distribute the software at zero price.

                            The „free as in freedom“ and copyleft just require you to do the business in an ethical way and be respectful and kind to others (regarding the software).

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                              In GNU/Linux I can e.g. install my own kernel module without asking for a permission (a digital signature). And however it does not forbid you using proprietary software, the free software is the norm here which gives you all the rights (to study, modify, distribute, run for any purpose…).

                              This is not what is meant by culture. There have been known controversies when it comes to “friendliness” in the free software community, involving toxic working environments.

                              No, „free as in freedom“ does not imply „free as in free beer“ and it does not force you to provide your services or distribute the software at zero price.

                              The „free as in freedom“ and copyleft just require you to do the business in an ethical way and be respectful and kind to others (regarding the software).

                              The problem is if I have the freedom to distribute and modify, I have the freedom to distribute it for free (That is, if I sell people a CD with GPLed source, then they have the freedom to distribute it and not give me money.). It’s easy to say “ethical way” without specifying one that can sustain a developer.

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                                known controversies when it comes to “friendliness” in the free software community

                                Good for you. It’s just not what franta was talking about, and he made that clear.

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                                In GNU/Linux I can e.g. install my own kernel module without asking for a permission (a digital signature).

                                Yes but often times you need a piece of information to get this to work and many times you have to put up with some verbal abuse and hazing to get to that piece of information.

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                            I wonder how he would feel about, instead of making it closed source, relicensing it to the GPL and offering paid commercial licenses? Companies would be forced to either release their changes to the public or giving him money, which seems like a fairly reasonable deal.

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                              Apple will probably not sign the kernel extension if it is using the GPL.

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                                I don’t know the signing situation, but VirtualBox’s drivers are GPL licensed.