If open source means giving Amazon carte blanche to profit from your work and never contribute anything back, open source is worthless.

- Sincerely, an open source developer.

In other words: stop licensing shit MIT! Stahppit!

@x44203 @tindall I would recommend either the Peer Production license or the AGPL

@x44203 @tindall the anticapitalist license is not a libre license, it actually isn't even an open source license. also, the ambiguous terms with no legal definition bars either almost everyone or bars no one from using it depending on how your interpret it. for those two reasons alone i would not recommend it, but there's quite a number of other problems with it that i'm not knowledge enough on to discuss confidently.

@tindall I'm trying to figure out why I started using MIT license in the first place. Probably a desire to have anyone use it since I'm always craving validation.

Though, that means I have to go through licenses again and figure out which one is good for my goals.

@tindall unfortunately the GPL doesn’t do much to prevent Amazon from using it either, since for most things they don’t make binaries available to the public anyway. They use a LOT of GPL stuff internally, and a lot of their public AWS services are built on it too.

They also have very deep pockets and programmers who are arrogant enough to think they can do better anyway, so if there’s something they can’t use legally they’ll just clone it, using your work as research/inspiration.

@waterbear @tindall AGPL software is completely banned at Amazon, yes. But few folks seem to be willing to adopt it. And I feel like it kind of goes too far in the commercial restrictions? But that’s probably a gut feeling that’s not supported by the actuality of the license terms.

@waterbear @tindall oh but also AGPL doesn’t prevent the cloning of a good idea. Even if you release something AGPL, if Amazon decides it provides value to them then they’ll just make their own version that’s inspired by the hard work you did, and has the retrospect of the decisions you made so they’ll have an easier time building it.

@waterbear @tindall is an example of GPL software that Amazon used to make their initial billions, and which they’ve since replaced with their own proprietary stack based on having learned from it. There’s probably still a few legacy pages that use it too.

@waterbear @tindall and I mean, internally they’ve cloned shitloads of proprietary things when it suits them, too. They have their own in-house implementations of Jira and Stack Overflow, for example.

@fluffy @waterbear @tindall The only thing that exists in current legal systems that could prevent this is patenting. I don't think anyone wants to go down that route.

@sheogorath @waterbear @tindall yeah, absolutely. And also patents don’t actually stop Amazon, since the patent system is completely broken and it’s only used as a “my pile is bigger than yours” cudgel.

Best case for that route is patents become cheap/free to file and enforce, and can get an automatic license grant under certain circumstances. Which is exactly what GPL and CC were supposed to be for copyright.

@sheogorath @waterbear @tindall really a big part of the problem is that the system was set up by those who most directly benefit from it, and they’ve made it very difficult to dismantle. Fixing this requires major societal changes. I have a hard time imagining anything that can successfully use capitalism against itself, and software licenses are an inherently capitalist construct to begin with.

@sheogorath @waterbear @tindall with all that said, I think I’m finally going to relicense a bunch of my stuff as AGPL. I’ve been thinking about it for a while and this conversation has been another good push in that direction.

@fluffy @sheogorath @tindall I could imagine some kind of anti-capitalist patent pool where a patent action against any member (or perhaps other undesirable actions like union busting efforts) leads to every member denying use of their patents

@fluffy @sheogorath @tindall however, a prerequisite for this is a lot of anticapitalists go and apply for patents on their inventions which seems a little far-fetched to me

@fluffy @tindall Well, that's why we have AGPL. That is, as far as I know, on a license blacklist for Amazon along with other companies like Google, since it might would require them to open source their SaaS-offer modifications.

@sheogorath @tindall yes but see some of my other responses regarding how AGPL software still benefits them

@sheogorath @tindall basically if you make something they find worth stealing, they’ll find some way of doing it legally. And honestly the vast majority of F/OSS is of no interest to them either.

@fluffy @tindall Use the right license for the right project:

GPL is for client software and Software that is used on other people's machines. So for example a laptop operating systems of any kind of software you would run on a laptop for yourself.

AGPL is explicitly designed for server software. This means anything that only produces client-consumable content. Such as a http server or alike.

@tindall but corporations won't like my software if they can't exploit it for free labor :thonking:


My secret: never write open-source software that can be used to make money.

@suetanvil @tindall @tindall I license my tools for doing textbook piracy and little surrealist art projects under MIT, and if Amazon wants to find a way to profit off of either of those things, i guess they should feel free

@nfd @suetanvil you know, that's a pretty good point. there are other ways to prevent people from corporatizing your code.

@tindall @nfd

So my serious take on this is:

a) If I make a non-commercial open-source project for a specific (e.g. help with indy gamedev) and Amazon starts freeloading off of it, it doesn't actually make the product less useful for its initial purpose. It's infuriating but it's not like they've taken it away from me or my intended audience.

b) That being said, my design process now includes the question, "How can I best keep techbro parasites from getting rich off of this?" The AGPL helps.


@tindall @nfd

c) There are cases where Amazon doing what Amazon does actually helps the project and that's also a thing I need to consider. If Amazon decided to start using one of my (terrible) programming languages internally and made the absolute contribution they could, they would still be training people in it and so increasing my userbase. For a language, that's valuable.


@tindall @nfd

Notice that the people who complain about Amazon freeloading on their work are mostly also trying to commercialize their OSS products. It's shitty that Amazon is basically competing against them on their own work but these folks aren't just writing code as a gift to their community either.

The ones that are doing that (mostly) don't really care about Amazon because it doesn't matter to them. Their work is being used and that's what's important.

(Should Amazon be compelled to pay? Maybe.)

@tindall @nfd

For me, this is all hypothetical but I've thought about it just in case. I think that for me anyway, freeloaders are a necessary risk and I don't worry about it too much. I generally pick a license to make it harder ('cuz fuck those guys) but that's about it.

@tindall What is the balance? If Amazon can't use your software for free then no-one can use your software for free, even other open source software developers and users.

I think Amazon, Google and others should pay, the question is: should individual users or small companies pay as well? And how much should they pay? If the contribute back to the project should they still pay? If "contribution is lieu of payment" is acceptable how do determine if someone is contributing enough?

@blit32 @tindall the AGPL and stronger copyleft licenses (like the SSPL) rather precisely answer your question: the contribution is simply "tell eveyone else how you did what you're doing", which scares off corporations who are afraid of losing their ✨ corporate secrets ✨ if they have to publish source

@blit32 @tindall though coming back to this, you just end up with DocumentDB if you go this route so... nothing except breaking corporate monopoly power at the root really fixes the problem

@starfall @tindall Assuming that:

1. Honest corporate backing of OSS provides the greatest benefit to OSS. For example see the Linux kernel.
2. Being open source means that your software will be free (as in beer and in freedom) for users, and companies, to use and distribute.

@starfall @tindall The debate changes from "How to stop large companies from using my software?" to "How do I make it more profitable for companies to contribute back to my software than it would be for them to just fork my code and build their internal version?"

@blit32 @tindall There's quite a bit of the discussion hidden behind those assumptions, which is why that isn't the question. Embrace/extend/extinguish is a common enough pattern that I don't think we can simply assume that #1 holds.

@blit32 @tindall i think she means to not license things with permissive licenses, and people should be licensing with copyleft licenses, not literally "amazon should pay to use foss"

@tindall fuck MIT all my homies hate MIT

this post made by GPLv3 gang

@tindall yeah!
(beware of the so-called anticapitalist software license though because releasing the code is made optional by an entity still operating under the market forces of capitalism)

Ethical Open Source and copyfarleft licenses are intent on cutting this shit out while keeping things open for good-faith contributors

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