armtuk: Cheetah (Default)
So I continue to work with Plone. This week I have been reading up about object inheritance in zope and how properties and methods are acquired through the object tree. Highly confusing, but it reminds me a great deal of the MUD I wrote a number of years ago. I haven't quite figured out how the two inheritance paths work yet, although I get that one of them is the inheritance path through the container and it's container etc. This makes for a very interesting system that will acquire methods from parents and do the default unless you make something more specific. Very easy to override and work with. I am excited about this.

On a slightly more sour note, I have observed that buildout is broken. The ZODB scripts in the buildout try to execute with python2.3 which is not installed as compared with the other scripts that execute with python2.4. All the zope db management scripts are broken. What's worse is that I posted to the lists, and nobody gives a damn. This is so typical for FOSS. Programmers that don't care about the little things that make or break a product. I would offer to help fix it, but somehow I doubt somebody will take the time to take me through the process enough so that I can fix it.

The next chapter of the book starts us actually building some custom content types and fleshing out the functionality that goes with them. I am very interested to work through this as I am contemplating using custom content types to represent agents and offices within our real estate system. Maybe even properties, and migrate away from JSPs and Tomcat. I always liked python better than java, it just suffers from being slow. Although having said that most of the slowness in our current system is from the database calls to build the darn drill downs. It's cool functionality, but it really loads the system up pretty good. There is also a bug with this functionality. The drill downs are supposed to save themselves so they don't have to be rebuilt with subsequent page loads, but it looks like that's not working, and they are rebuilding with each page load. Not a high priority problem, but I should get around to fixing it sometime.

ZPL vs GPL

Dec. 27th, 2007 02:34 pm
armtuk: Cheetah (Default)
I am following a discussion in the Plone mailing list about licensing. Licensing is something that I remain passionate about, and it's very frustrating for people to be condescending towards others in thinking that their license is better and helps the world more, especially when they cannot actually demonstrate that it does. The ZPL is almost public domain in nature. Anyone can use it to do what they like pretty much. The only thing that must remain with the code is a copyright notice saying who wrote it originaly. The GPL and AGPL say that the company that distributes the software must also provide clients with the source code to the software, with which the client can do anything. The only parties that benefit from Zope being licensed under the ZPL are those that want to extend it for their own purposes and pick and choose what, if anything, they contribute back to the core. If it was licensed under the GPL (well actually more specifically the AGPL), then they would be forced to contribute all changes to the platform back. I find it very annoying that other people expect me and people like me to give away our hard work on projects like Plone for free, and not expect anything in return. As a web services company we could give away our source code to each of our clients and they wouldn't have a clue what to do with it. They could take it to another development shop, but that shop won't have the benefit of running dozens of clients on the same server, so it would cost them more to fork it and host it themselves. If they made improvements on it, then we would get the benefits of that improvement because it's AGPL. The GPL and associated licenses don't cover content that is made in the software or used by the software, so though the software is free, the database is not. It's great that our clients have the code, but they don't have the look and feel, the database or any of the rest of the data, which is proprietary, and the GPL doesn't grant access to. If you don't want to give your clients the source code, just say so. I understand if you don't, but I think that is a foolish approach that just hurts you and the community in the long run. Take Enterprise DB for an example. Enterprise DB is a RDBMS that is built atop of Postgresql. The Postgresql community gets nothing out of the relationship apart from a few patches now and then, but Enterprise DB charges $6000 per CPU for a license to use software which is mostly just Postgresql plus some extensions that make it more compatible with Oracle. Imagine how many more people would use it if it were free software? How many more companies would run Postgresql if it were a free drop in replacement for Oracle. How many developers that would attract and how much faster the whole project would move forward.

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