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Stefan's headers [was:Names and identifiers]

On Sun, Jun 10, 2018 at 9:08 PM, Steven D'Aprano
<steve+comp.lang.python at pearwood.info> wrote:
> On Sun, 10 Jun 2018 13:36:34 +1000, Chris Angelico wrote:
>>> That's all speculation. It's impossible to say how things would have
>>> turned out if copyrights didn't apply to software. Certainly different,
>>> but not necessarily worse.
>>> In the early days, computer manufacturers didn't worry about people
>>> copying their software, because it was no use without the hardware, and
>>> selling hardware was how they made their money. There's no reason that
>>> business model couldn't have continued into the PC era.
>> It would have meant that third-party software would not exist.
> Says the fellow using a free mail server (funded by advertising) on a
> free OS (funded by donations) on a free mailing list about a free
> programming language :-)
> Lack of copyright for software would not affect software-as-a-service
> like Gmail. It would not affect FOSS licences like the MIT and BSD
> licence, although it might declaw the GPL.

I'm not sure that these kinds of concepts would even exist, though. If
the business model had always been "sell hardware, it comes fully
programmed", what would bring people to try to create third-party
software at all? It's easy to look back NOW and say "even if software
had no copyright, this could still exist". It's not so easy to see
that such things would have come about. We live today in a world of
massive cross-compatibility and third-party software creations, where
your "computer" may have many different manufacturers and many
different software authors, all happily running together. While IBM
did create hardware compatibility standards (allowing other
manufacturers to create fully-compatible expansion cards etc) as a
viable commercial decision, I doubt very much that anyone other than
hobbyists would write software that they're unable to sell. Don't
forget that "software-as-a-service" is an extremely young concept; to
be a saleable form of software (as opposed to a saleable service
involving both hardware and software), it depends on people having the
clients AND a means of connecting to the servers - which today means
web browsers and internet connections. Possibly the oldest "SaaS"
concept for computers would be a dial-in BBS.

Would that sort of thing exist if copyright did not? I'm not sure.
Maybe it would, but it's certainly not "oh well saas wouldn't be
affected by this".

I'm also not sure that the MIT and BSD licenses would still be viable.
Without copyright, they have no teeth, which would mean that their
license terms of "don't sue me if it doesn't work" wouldn't apply.
IANAL, but I'm fairly sure that those terms are in the licenses for
good reason. The GPL, which has much stronger requirements, would be
completely powerless.

"Not affect" is far FAR too broad. Open source still depends on copyright.