CCL:G: License what you want. Open what you want. No comparison?



 Sent to CCL by: "Pablo Echenique" [echenique.p!=!gmail.com]
 Dear friends,
 I must say that the conversation is really interesting and many
 relevant points have been introduced but, with all due respect, I
 think people is taking it too personally.
 On the one hand, we have two options: Open Source vs. Proprietary Source.
 It could be interesting to discuss which one is best, whether or not a
 sustainable firm can be based on the first, whether or not the
 Proprietary Source has a place in an efficient global Science
 scenario, etc.
 But, whatever anwers each one of us finds to these question, the
 decision to adopt one option or the other is a free one.
 The Open Source movement, with which I agree in most essential points,
 is being increasingly infected with radical supporters which, like in
 Middle Age, ride every day to Jerusalem to kill the unholy Proprietary
 Defenders.
 In my opinion, all development models MUST be tried before deciding
 which is best. And maybe the final, not so surprising answer is that
 the most efficiency is obtained in a world in which all options have
 at least one strong representant.
 Moreover, if Open Source is the only answer to scientific software, we
 will know it when we prove it, not when we declare it.
 In brief, what is best for Science do not depend on ethical
 principles, it depends on facts.
 In this sense, I believe Mr. DeLano's insights are very useful for the
 discussion, but so are Mr. Frisch's, because Gaussian Inc. is a
 success history too.
 Regarding my own free choice, I give away all knowledge, data and code
 I produce, since, being paid by the government, i.e., by the people, I
 believe it is the most ethical choice (and probably the most efficient
 too).
 However, I do not find anything unethical in the way a private firm
 such as Gaussian Inc. works. In the free market, nobody forces you to
 buy a product. You don't like Gaussian's performance, decisions, name,
 colour of the CD case, etc.? Just don't buy it. You have other
 options.
 I prefer to live in a world in which Gaussian exists, so I have one
 more option, which I can freely choose to take or not. I use Gaussian,
 GAMESS, Aces and Dalton, and I consider Gaussian a good overall
 application. My University has voluntarily signed a contract with
 Gaussian Inc. in which the conditions of use are clearly stated. If I
 freely chose to break some of that conditions (like comparing results
 to other codes), it is perfectly licit that Gaussian takes the
 appropriate actions. It is the same that I would do.
 This being said, like Dominic Ryan, I do not understand that
 particular condition and I think that it is at the root of the
 disconfort many users feel about Gaussian.
 I am not as pretentious as to give advices to Mr. Frisch about which
 decisions are best for Gaussian, since it is completely obvious that
 they have thought much more about the topic than me, and they have a
 lot of relevant data that I ignore.
 I just express my belief that the "no-comparison" clause is the most
 controversial point.
 Not opening the source is something that a lot of developers do and
 they are not as fiercely criticized as Gaussian.
 My two cents,
   Pablo.
 --
 Pablo Echenique
 Instituto de Biocomputación y
 Física de los Sistemas Complejos (BIFI)
 Departamento de Física Teórica
 Universidad de Zaragoza
 Pedro Cerbuna 12, 50009 Zaragoza
 Spain
 Tel.:   +34 976761260
 Fax:    +34 976761264
 echenique.p_-_gmail.com
 http://www.pabloechenique.com