Problems with free software and open source models

    From Consumerium development wiki R&D Wiki

    Problems with free software and open source models for discussion:

    1. issue - "No restrictions on field of use" means that software is explicitly licensed for military purposes, spying purposes, selling environmentally and socially destructive products, hiding activities of companies, and anything else that opponents of moral purchasing may want to do. There is no legal recourse. While there are few incentives to subvert operating system or database software, there are many incentives to subvert or gain advantage in the operations of a healthy buying infrastructure. With no way to restrict these activities with civil court action, only technical means are available to subvert such subversion - wasting everyone's time in an arms race that is to no one's advantage.

    position - there should be quite specific hard restrictions on use of any Consumerium License software, at least, what a Consortium license tends to contain: "no using this software to set up your own competing consortium." This can probably be accomplished with share alike terms and other variants that might even be directly supported under Creative Commons' parametric license.

    2. issue - No party with power to sue. Under GPL and other free software licenses, "the community" is assumed to exist and have some powers of persuasion, but they have no practical powers to actually force the license terms to be met. What rights they have are not enforceable since they lack a self-funding model that would reward enforcers or even require cooperation from contributors whose work is appropriated. For example, most GPL abusers simply thumb their noses at the FSF, knowing they cannot possibly be sued given limits on FSF resources. They could settle out of court for less than theya re making from violating the license anyway, in the worst case, or agree to simply work around or re-engineer the software. By contrast: Consortium and private licenses, and some open source licenses like the BSD, specify exactly who can and must act to protect license integrity. And some like Java have proven successful even at shutting down Microsoft's attempted license abuse.

    position - the Consumerium Governance Organization should have the power to sue those who abuse the license terms. Anyone else might have the right to sue for harms done by that abuse, and the CGO should be obligated to provide certain help. For instance, an organic jam maker whose product is shoved off the shelves by a commercial food enterprise that deliberately tries to create confusion in the Consumerium system with competing software, should be able to make claims and have them supported by the CGO in the courts.

    3. issue bad copy problem - impossible to control variants

    4. issue self-interested fork problem - there are already Adbusters and other groups' versions of this possibly being created, and no doubt stores will come up with "their own". To prevent this requires cutting a balance so that a self-interested party has every incentive to use Consumerium, but once they have committed to it, have no easy ability to fork it.

    5. issue bad user interface - inevitable since the developers choose what to do next, not the users, and there's no way to discipline their choices without putting together a commercial regime identical to commercial software to convey market intelligence to developers and pay them for doing the right things next.