Friday, April 27, 2012

Scratch Now Properly Licensed

Walter Bender:

3. The Scratch team has updated their license documentation such that it is once again compatible with Sugar’s Free Software guidelines. Please see [1].

Long time readers may recall a lot more posts on open source software and its uses in education. The Scratch licensing fiasco is one of the things that just made me walk away from that issue. Not that I don't believe in the value of free software to schools -- it is still central to my actual career -- but because to be successful in American K-12 schools, we'd need the active support of our friends in academia. Scratch demonstrated that, on the whole, that wasn't happening.

To recap: MIT got a NSF grant to develop Scratch and for some reason they actually promised to make the code available under an open source license in the grant proposal. Cool! Then as soon as the grant was over, they made trivial changes to the license to make further versions of the software not qualify as open source.

From my point of view it was like showing up at a vegan potluck with a big bowl of split pea soup, plopping it down on the table in front of everyone, pulling out a big old hambone and giving the soup a good stir. Yes, fuck you too.

The practical implication of the license change was to make it impossible for Scratch to be included in distributions of free and open source software -- making it harder to put the software in the hands of children.

I guess it is all straightened out now. Yay.

1 comment:

gnuosphere said...

Good news, thanks.

hambone. lol.