For anyone who does not already know Six Apart has changed the license for Movable Type. Movable Type is the software that I run for Vault, Mike’s Blog, Virtual Memory, and The Rockwire. My problem (and this is my error and not anyone Else’s) is that I honestly didn’t stop to think about Movable Type being non-free.
Non-Free software has bit me in the ass before, and I should be more diligent in making sure that I don’t use it. Slowly I am gonna begin migrating this blog over to something else, something GPL, something that will not bit me in the ass for using (and donating too.)
This is a good time to point out a certain misconception about the Gnu Public License. Its a popular myth to believe that the GPL is viral in nature. This is fundamentally untrue. The GPL simply states that if you use GPL’ed code you must A) make your changes and/or improvements GPL’ed too, or B) not distribute it until the GPL code is removed. This is no different than any other license in punishment for violation. If you use Microsoft code without permission, or in violation of their license, you will be forced to remove the offending code and probably sued.
Fundamentally the purpose of the GPL is to allow developers to create software without worrying that their software will be fixed/improved without getting to use those fixes/improvements themselves. Its a “I’ll share if everyone who changes my software shares too…” license. It also guarantees that no-one will forcibly change the rights you have to the software. For a great explanation of why this is so valuable check out this blog post talking about the Movable Type situation.
Keep a close eye on your rights… no one else will.