Free v Proprietary licenses
Dear Don Mitchell,
"Open source licenses have become such an entanglement of restrictions and fine print, why would anyone go near that stuff?"
So when did you last read a proprietary license ? And if you really can't understand a Free Software Foundation approved license (which I take you to mean when you use the term: open source for which there is no universal agreement) then what chance do you have of knowing or learning how to program anyway ? And if you are not able to program then why should anyone else care what you think about free software licenses ?
If all you do is download and use free and/or proprietary software and you don't write, modify or distribute software, then by definition free software licenses don't affect you, and ( assuming from the fact that you posted here that you capable of using a computer) the proprietary licenses are the only ones that do. So are you really trying to persuade us that you read and understand all the licenses of non-free software that you use ?
I for one am going to be releasing all the software I design and fully control under the GPL 3 when next versioned or released, because this license gives me as a programmer the best chances of getting something useful back in return for what I find to be in my best interests freely to give away. There are other free software licenses I use where I link my programs with software released by other programmers under other free licenses that require I adopt the same, but this primarily moral but also legal requirement of sharing alike isn't exactly difficult compared to the art of programming itself.
Besides which I've never heard of any programmer or distributor let alone user being sued simply because they don't understand these rules of etiquette acceptable within the free software community. But those with legally accessible assets who persist in violating free software license terms and conditions despite being given prior notice of the illegality of their actions are fair game.
It's really quite simple - if you needed a license to download and use free software or modify it for your own use it wouldn't be free as in your freedom. You only need a license to distribute it and to distribute it in modified form, and then only to make sure that those you distribute it to get the same freedoms you got.
The other GPL 3 restrictions prevent you from using technical loopholes and patents to make sure you as a distributor keep your side of this bargain - and I really can't imagine anyone can fall foul of this without knowing what they are doing.