Posted by: Anonymous
on October 17, 2007 10:49 PM
It isn't just coders. Package maintainers, distros and users, shun non-free projects because it means yet another license to check, or another bit of freedom lost.
I pointed out that non-free packages in Debian typically have a tenth the install base of equivalent free packages, okay that is slightly Debian specific (as non-free isn't included in the default settings), but the only non-free making head way in Debian was the Java runtime related packages (folks clearly want various Java things to run nicely, which usually means SUN or IBM JRE.
With my developer hat on, choose a package which is all free, or one where the code keeps disappearing into a binary blob? You'd have to pay me to work on the second. You might pay someone to work on Inkscape, but you'd be wary of paying someone to work on a project that might become useless to you because a key component is closed.
It is often understated, but stick GNU GPL on a project (all of it), and it makes it a lot easier to find developers. I'm sure there are other free software licenses that work as well, but start with a mangled or complex license and people will do something else (e.g. GNOME).