Interview with Dianosis authors

Posted 24 Jul 2005 at 18:46 UTC by yeupou Share This

Dianosis is a software designed to help diabetic people to handle their treatment. It is based on a new therapy which allows patients to adapt their treatment to their way of life instead of changing their way of life to suit the treatment.

Follows and interview with the authors of Dianosis (Julien Seiler, Guillaume Hiron, Patrick Bruyère, and Sylvain Lelièvre) made for Gna!'s hotspot #6.

The interview:

Gna: Hello, Can you give a two line description of your project your grandma(s) could understand?

Julien: Dianosis is a free software project designed to help diabetic people to handle their treatment. It is based on a new therapy which allows patients to adapt their treatment to their way of life instead of changing their way of life to suit the treatment.

G: Who are you? How many developers contribute regularly? How is the project leaded? What is the profile of the main developers?

J: I'm leading the project since the beginning. When it started I was still a computer science engineering student at UTBM (Université de Technologie de Belfort-Montbéliard) and today I'm about to graduate. Currently three developers are contributing regularly to the project. For each version of the software we decide all together what features should be implemented, then I try to distribute the work between the developers and give priority to what they like to do. In a way, once the milestones have been planted, each one is free to contribute as he wants. However I'm struggling to keep all the work properly documented in order to have a real technical specification of the project. Moreover, we try to meet once a week to discuss the last improvements and to keep everybody informed of the feedback we received from the users.

Sylvain: I have a degree of the IUT (Institut Universitaire de Technologie) of Strasbourg, in software development. I'm not contributing directly to the development of dianosis, but I'm in charge of the website (http://dianosis.org/) so I'm more related to PHP, MySQL, XHTML, CSS and PNG than to Python and GTK. That's why I'm not part of the "three developers" mentioned above. But since I'm the only guy in the team who's using a Macintosh, and since we want dianosis to reach a maximum of people, I will certainly participate in the near future to the port of the software on Macintosh, as a developer or tester.

Guillaume: I'm also about to graduate in computer science engineering at UTBM. I have joined the project on march 2005. I heard of dianosis at the university and I quickly proposed to contribute to dianosis development. I have more specifically worked on an evolutive and easy-to-use plugin system as well as on the development of windows installer.

Patrick: I'm graduate in computer science engineering at ISTASE (Institut Supérieur des Techniques Avancées de Saint Etienne) in 2000. I work in a software company which develop software relative to "Warehousing Execution System". I have joined the project at the end of april 2005. I heard about dianosis project on a bulletin board, when the team search a name for the software. The concept of the software cause my interest. So i proposed my contribution to the project.

G: When and why was the project started?

J: The project was started in September 2004. At this time I had a really cool semester in front of me (read: quite idle) and I thought it was good time to start a project that I had in mind for many years. Indeed, the idea of carrying out such a piece of software was something I was willing to do for ages. In the same time, I met Patrice Winiszewski who is in charge of the diabetology service at the hospital of Belfort-Montbéliard (France). He found the idea really interesting and gave me some hints to start. I proposed the idea at my university and they accepted to let me work on dianosis as a student project.

G: And what audience are you targeting exactly? Geek, Grandma?

J: The software is of course designed for people suffering of diabetes mellitus type 1, who undergo a complex treatment based on the new functional insulin therapy. The main goal of this new treatment is to give back to diabetic people the freedom they lost when their illness appeared. Even if I wouldn't expect my grandmother to use the software, we do heavy work on useability since anybody should be able to use it and because the daily use (even multiple times a day) of such software should not be tiresome.

G: What features are you missing/planning?

J: As a young project, Dianosis still misses many features. A new release is planned for october 2005 and it should include some really important improvements. For instance, people will be able to share their food databases and the software will include an artificial intelligence engine based on a neural network to improve the advice given to the user. The plugin interface will also be improved and should work nearly the same way Firefox extensions work. Last, but not least, we will try to port the software to embedded systems like Pocket PC as soon as possible.

Gu: Currently, only Windows 2000/XP installer is avalaible. A compatible version with Windows 98 will quickly be released, as well as packages for some GNU/Linux distribution. In next versions, management of others diabetes treatements (based on insulin pump for instance) or communication with medical devices could be integrated.

G: Your project is only available in French. Have you ever considered translating it? From what we understand, such software could be useful to anyone, not specifically to French people.

J: That's true ! i18n is being introduced in the software. The next version should be at least avaible in French, English and German.

S: i18n is also planned for the website and the documentation.

P: Indeed, i18n is planned. Technically, we will use the gettext system.

G: Which license did you choose and why? We noticed that there's no download area for your project at Gna and that dianosis is available as tarball only in a private area of your webpage. That's quite unusual for a libre software project, legal though. Why did you made that choice? Dont you feel it could restrict your audience?

J: Currently, the software is distributed under the version 2 of the GNU General Public License. Why ? Well, Dianosis is designed to free diabetic people from the burden of their treatment. It would really look paradoxal to close our sources ! However, we are thinking about changing it for the CeCILL which seems to be more accurate for French software. It is true that the software is not available for public download. Indeed, since Dianosis' job is to process medical data and because it still is under heavy development, we want to avoid any accident the software could cause by giving erroneous advice. Asking people to contact us prior to any download is a way for us to keep track of who is using the software and alert them quickly about any major issue ! Once the software will be ready and wholly tested, it will certainly be available for public download. By the way, since version 1.0, an installer is provided for Windows users. We are currently testing the Debian package so it should be released really soon too !

G: Do you have any industrial or institutional support? If any, how so?

J: The only support we got was from a french diabetics association. They provided us with financial support and helped us to get in contact with the most important specialists in diabetes in France. We are currently studying a possible partnership with a company working in the medical field which could help us to promote our work and make contact with some big pharmaceutical groups.

G: Are you looking for contributions? If so, what kind of contributions could be of use to the project?

J: Of course, we are always looking for all sorts of contributions. We are mainly looking for Python developers and embedded systems specialists. The "coming soon" plugin interface will able anyone interrested in adding some features to the software, to do it very quickly.We need the support of some web designers too, to help us make our website evolve faster. But anyone which is interested in testing the software and giving us feedback is welcome to join us.

S: And of course, we will welcome any help to translate the software, the documentation and the website.

Gu: We also need some linux users to create and maintain packages of dianosis on different distributions.

G: What tools do you use when working on the project? Why?

J: Well, nothing really original for me. I keep using my old Vim for ages ! That's almost all you need to write Python. Since a few weeks we have introduce epylog syntax in our docstrings so we may have a real API documentation soon. We are also thinking about using Glade to draw our user interfaces... even if I find it quite relaxing to code some simple dialog boxes just by the hand I'm also using Dia heavily for all diagrams purposes (UML, data bases models and other unexpected drawings).

S: For developing the website, I'm using jEdit on Mac OS X. Made with Java, it's a bit slow on my PowerMac G4 733MHz, but it's fitted with a lot of really cool features that I miss in other open source editors available on Mac OS X. For FTP transfers, Cyberduck is my choice. It's a little free and open source FTP program designed specially for Mac OS X. Concerning the website itself, it runs on a traditionnal LAMP platform. Within the next weeks, the whole website will be entirely based on an MVC framework, Copix, which will give us the ability to easily scale the website according to our needs. Eventually, we have chosen Apinc to host the website. It's a cheap associative (or non-commercial) hosting service, managed by people who promote open source projects and open source philosophy.

Gu: I mainly use Eric, an open source IDE for Python developments. The windows installer is generated with NSIS.

P: For coding, I use Eclipse 3 with the pydev plugin. The editor is powerfull and the debugger is as good as the editor. For the i18n, i am using the gettext tools.

G: Why did you choose Gna! as host? What Gna! tools do you use? Which features do you like most? Which features miss you most?

J: Gna! is offering all the services we need to manage the project and it was already hosting some projects I was following for a long time like "le livret du libre". The choice was then quite obvious for us. As expected, Gna! helped us to organise our work better. We try to use as much as we can the task and bug tracking tools, not only to inform everyone of what is being done but also to keep a log of the way each problem has been handle. I think in a near futur, the subversion service will be the one I will the most enjoy ;) I think a wiki service could be a great improvment for Gna!, mainly to store projects documentations.

S: Yes, a wiki service would be great. Or, even better, the support of PHP and MySQL for the webpage service. This would allow everyone to install the web applications (wiki, forums, etc.) he wants. Moreover, it would be great if I could track my bugs and tasks with RSS feeds...

G: What is the question we didn't asked you would like to answer? (and the answer is...)

S: A question you could ask is "How have you chosen your project name ?" Actually, the original project's name was "glycemia". It was chosen by Julien when he has started coding. As you can see, it's not very original. But at that time Julien was hard-working for his degree, and finding the right name was not the priority. But as the project was growing with new contributors and new development perspectives, we decided to find another name, which will allow to easily identify the project. We wanted a name that would associate the idea of diabetes with the concept of help. After all, that's why the software is designed for : to help diabetic people to manage their diabetes. So the team started brainstorming, and after rejecting several ideas, we stuck on "dianosis". Why ? Because it starts with "dia" as in "diabetes", and it sounds like "diagnosis" which brings the idea of checking if everything is going well, and if not, what's wrong with your diabetes and how to look after it. We removed the "g" of "diagnosis" to avoid a common name, and to give it a pleasant sonority. That's how the name "dianosis" was born. How do you find it ? :)

G: Thanks for taking time to share your experience with us.

J: Many thanks to YOU for your interrest in Dianosis !

Links:

Page of the interview
http://dianosis.org
https://gna.org/projects/dianosis


Why all the difficulty in getting this if it's Software Libre?, posted 26 Jul 2005 at 23:37 UTC by Svartalf » (Journeyer)

Having a keen interest in software such as this (Namely, I'm a type II diabetic, most of my familiy has ended up being type II diabetics, my sister-in-law is a type I diabetic, and several of my close friends are type I diabetics...) I went to the website (L'Anglais, svp, mon Français est plutôt faible au mieux...) only to find out that you have to be registered. I go to register, only to find out that you can't- you have to send an e-mail off to an e-mail box to request a possible registration.
I'd love to see it in action and work with my doctor to help improve this program as it's a novel idea that if it's workable would help many live fuller lives. As it stands, though, I don't know where to begin, or even IF I can.

Freeware/vaporware is not open source., posted 29 Jul 2005 at 04:13 UTC by mirwin » (Master)

While this project sounds extremely beneficial and potentially useful, particularly as a future paradigm shift in helping individual patients track their own problems, if there is no source available, it is not (yet?) an open source project.

Several thoughts leap to mind:

1. Is it using currently GPL'ed components illegally (distributing modifications to an integrated/embedded gpl'ed software component without providing access to the source code necessary to audit, validate, debug, or modify the new software system)? Sure libraries exist which provide this capability but they are advertised as libraries under a different license, not new free/open source GPL'ed projects.

2. If a large multi national corp. (or venture capitalist) offers the team some cash or benefit for all or some commercial rights, if they agree not to publish the source code (obviously I am assuming a successful product test demonstrates it is potentially very useful and valuable to many people) do the guinea pig users being "protected" by required registration have any legal rights or recourse since the product has been advertised as GPL'ed open/free source even though no source was ever provided or is no removed from public access before a gullible beta tester downloads it?

3. If a team (small, large, public, or private) fraudulently solicits contributions under false pretenses are current or future regulatory authorities going to become interested in criminal prosecution of the offending con people?

Perhaps all of the above can be easily invalidated or further obfuscated by claiming that the source code will be provided on request to any who register to participate who are deemed not a threat to the project, the interests of the project team or current community, or the project organizers.

Clearly under the prevailing "meritocracy" trends these decisions should be made by the project "owner"? or "leader"? Like it, lump it, leave it, or fork it has clearly been common place practice in past and present projects where trust, communication, and perception of merit has been established and then evolves on an ongoing basis between participants. Teams and/or "communities" coalesce of their own individual free will around leaders (project founders, "God Kings", technical mentors, friends, charismatic cult leaders, con artists, whatever ...) via participation and controlled access of/on the mailing lists, standard information hiding and exchange techniques (cabals, private communication, executive privelege, conspiracy, public gossip, etc.) and the code archives. This is an ongoing dynamic process in many successful projects.

If the fundamental ability/freedom to easily fork and go away either in masses or as individuals in the event of disagreement or non-interest in working with the current project/team/community or "leadership" of the same is removed; what exactly remains of the freedom that the GPL is designed to provide and protect?

The rationale provided for this modified approach is:

"It is true that the software is not available for public download. Indeed, since Dianosis' job is to process medical data and because it still is under heavy development, we want to avoid any accident the software could cause by giving erroneous advice. Asking people to contact us prior to any download is a way for us to keep track of who is using the software and alert them quickly about any major issue ! Once the software will be ready and wholly tested, it will certainly be available for public download."

Perhaps a similar rationale to the one quoted below can be provided later once commercial interests get involved:

Stated rationale for restricted access to source code: "J: The only support we got was from a french diabetics association. They provided us with financial support and helped us to get in contact with the most important specialists in diabetes in France. We are currently studying a possible partnership with a company working in the medical field which could help us to promote our work and make contact with some big pharmaceutical groups."

Hypothetical similar rationale for future restricted access to the source code: "The software and database used to help provide up to date information and recommendations is extremely sophisticated and it would be easy for malicious, sloppy, inept, or unlucky open source coders to introduce subtle bugs which could hurt users not sophisticated in software development or medical technologies. Therefore access must be restricted to developers and medical practioners who have signed all applicable paperwork reserving the final right of determination and distribution of contributions and future modifications to the currently in charge technical leaders, lawyers, and commercial interests managing the donated contributions from the participating public for the best interest of the public according to secretly or publicly established criteria and/or private agendas of prevailing leadership.

Blender and Wikipedia had some interesting contortions that ended up with individuals mandating to fairly large user communities. Of course in both of those projects access to the source code makes forks theoretically possible. Freedom is therefore preserved despite emerging cabalistic tendencies or perceived or alleged missteps ... unless of course viable paradigms of dissipating or discouraging the useful enforcement of the GPL can be prototyped.

If I were a member of a group, cabal or team allegedly exploring this allegedly potential scam I would consider approaching the Gates Foundation for some serious money. Legal precedents damaging the GPL license and its effectiveness in U.S. courts would potentially be far more valuable (even more effective and profitable) than standard FUD. Surely Gates, et. al. as honest (mostly) business executives are interested in fair trade of some value (cash ... say millions) for greater value (say preserving an effective monopoly on the corporate and consumer desktop ...billions?) and would be willing to fund this synergistic effort for the simultaneous future benefit (profit) of both Microsoft Stockholders and known diabetic victims in Africa.

Of course if uncomfortable with the above business model, the developers could protect alpha, beta, and other future users of the project by simply distributing source code for those interested as well as certified/secure/signed installable binaries for users deemed incapable of auditing the source and medical advice or alerts for themselves.

If they lack adequate volunteered effort to initiate and sustain distribution of trusted installable binary releases ... then perhaps funding could be sought from do gooders (Gates Foundation, Wikimedia Foundation, etc.) to establish availability of the secure/audited/trusted/signed installable binaries on a per release/stable basis as funding for certifying experts allows; while still allowing the potential contributors or users of the GPL'ed code free access to the code as most "open/free source" projects have traditionally done.

Alternate approaches might be to separate out the medical knowledge base from the source code and/or include/provide extensive automated medical testing. This way someone tweaking the code, say for performance, could run the authentication suite developed/reviewed in conjunction with the medical expertise that authenticated the originally released source code or binaries; thus reducing the risk of future users of "unofficial" or forked code.

To summarize my reaction/opinion: If open/free source paradigms (freely available source code) are potentially hazardous to users of the project (in the informed paternalistic view of the developers) during the prototyping phase and reduced risk distribution methods of stable or "safe" binary installables cannot be created (or copied from other existing projects popular with unsophisticated consumers) then perhaps the team should reconsider whether (in their view) the open/free source paradigm is really appropriate for their project.

It might be a more effective (and honest) business/development model to simply acknowledge/decide up front that a commercial closed source model is required for the benefit of the developers, backers, and the users and then define clearly what the early beta testers or contributors (debuggers, developers, licensed library owners, etc.) get in exchange for their participation. Interested individuals can then participate on an informed basis or move on rather than feeling fleeced later when it is decided by "leadership" that a closed commercial model (or a detailed invasive registration process generating useful saleable information) is really really required for the safety of the diabetic users.

I acknowledge that successful free/open source business models exist where the release of the "free/open" code is delayed by some time period to preserve some perceived benefit for the owners of the project. If this is what is intended with dianosis then some published trackable specifics might be useful in avoiding potentially harmful miscommunication within the development team and the potential, current, and future user community.

Contact, posted 29 Jul 2005 at 07:22 UTC by yeupou » (Master)

Svartalf, the best is that you contact the developers at dianosis-dev@gna.org

mirwin, please re-read, posted 29 Jul 2005 at 07:25 UTC by yeupou » (Master)

Mirwin, the dianosis source code is available and is provided to people that create an account on the dianosis website, also the source code is stored in a public source code manager (CVS or SVN, I dont remember) repository.

Ok, per your request, posted 30 Jul 2005 at 03:12 UTC by mirwin » (Master)

yeupou

Ok, I read it again. Still looks like a fairly standard project press release with a bit of best foot forward thinking tending towards spam/solicitation and a couple of balloons released to see if they float, sink or explode when exposed to the "community" or public at large. Great idea. Interesting potential for peer to peer development or use of existing gnunet, mnet, freenet, advogato, et. al. for trusted automated exchange of key information of potentially varying levels of percieved reliability.

Upon even further reflection, I am specifically kind of interested in whether once a theoretical potential user registers and receives his/her promised GPL download materials or access to code or whatever project information appropriate to dole out at the appropriate initiation rite or buyin phase; what happens if this person is interested in the functioning of the peer exchange of food database information in a dog food style test and evaluation environment?

Surely copies of the GPL'ed code can be provided to friends/acquaintenances willing to participate in the testing, validation, tracking, experimentation of the peer to peer database information exchange algorythms via an ad hoc network spliced together for the purpose? This is, afterall, the primordial granddaddy of the intended purpose of the GPL, to allow the free exchange of printer driver fixes and code as a form of speech or communication.

Unless the registration process requests or requires all right thinking users/participants to provide the GPL'ed code only to other registered users? Awesome project growth recruiting gimmick or damaging disincentive to waste time looking the project's initial efforts over?

Perceived balloon:

"However, we are thinking about changing it for the CeCILL which seems to be more accurate for French software. It is true that the software is not available for public download."

I am not familar with the CeCILL, presumably it is slightly different than the GPL. Perhaps more "business friendly"? I have no quibble with with software developers using multiple licensing or changing project approaches as long as reasonable care is taken not to hoodwink other stakeholders. I merely note that it can be much more difficult to make transitions between alternate approaches/licenses once thousands of stakeholders (beta testers, stock holders, etc.) are involved. A small stake is still a stake.

Is soliciting various forms of free contribution of valuable human effort under the guise of a "GPL" project while contemplating and/or pursuing commercial/venture capital support and possibly considering shifts to more "business friendly" licensing drifting towards "bait and switch"?

If this occasional occurence within the community is completely legal, perhaps planned under various contingencies (say the initial cheap prototyping has demonstrated to money managers of various ilk of the potential usefulness and profitability of developing the project concept under a standard commercial paradigm) what level of up front coordination, emphasis and education is appropriate to minimize misunderstandings with the public/casual dropin contributors and other contributing developers?

Easy enough to publish privately held code under the GPL, it is designed for that. It is hopefully not so easy to take GPL'ed code with "contributions" from many people private .... it is designed to prevent that.

If a coding challenged neophyte (not me personally, I do not speak French) chooses to "contribute" by looking over the code and submitting test results, patches, bug fixes ... or at least flaky reports, ideas, etc. do they have any rights under the GPL or stake in the project if the project founders agree with the venture capitalists that it is in the best interest of the public to shift to an alternate license by rolling back to the version of the code wholly owned by the project originators and forking future developments from there?

I realize a commonly held hidden assumption/bias among at least some authentic hackers is that only the actual source code delivered to the community is valuable. I suspect as the free/open source community continues to tackle ever larger and more complex projects this perception will shift. My personal bias currently is that human attention/effort is potentially valuable even if freely contributed. Effective coordination/participation techniques to enhance the value received (measured in improved information available in the project's free knowledge base) while minimizing impact on critical coders is left as an exercise for the reader.

Lead balloon:

"That's why I'm not part of the "three developers" mentioned above. But since I'm the only guy in the team who's using a Macintosh, and since we want dianosis to reach a maximum of people, I will certainly participate in the near future to the port of the software on Macintosh, as a developer or tester."

Possibly the above is a clue that the standard coding divide (some developers deliver code ... some people make other contributions) is present and accounted for in this project. While all kinds of interest and support and contributions are desired to help make this project viable .... the developers and future leaders of the cast of thousands solicited consist of the coders, possibly likely to remain so.

Is it in the best interest of the larger community attempting to grow the larger "commons" for rapid prototyping necessary to prove project feasibility to occur on the cheap by soliciting various forms of valuable assistance from the public and then potentially forking to a commercial project for the stated/percieved benefit of future users (paying customers) and the coders (hacker tycoons! yeah for the home team!) ... but possibly not the current crop of enthusisastic field testers?

Does this potentially lead to a grumpy disappointed user community feeling stiffed/suckered when the project founders going commercial point out that they can easily recruit additional development resources and keep the free/open project branch alive if they choose?

Interestingly, a couple of grumpy developers have mentioned in the past that Sourceforge has partially addressed this potential issue with their policy of refusing to delete source code distribution archives at the request of the project leader when projects relocate away from sourceforge for whatever reason. Effectively Sourceforge serves as a gossipy contributor or stakeholder who has donated some (trivial but measurable) resources to a project, downloaded/mirrored free code, and forever more remains a potential fork starting from the last download version available of open source licensed code. Even in the case of a project with only a single developer who would like his work retracted from public distribution.

So sorry. Guess I rambled a bit ... the 64 million dollar question:

Is registration required of the recipient of gifted code for them to receive a valid license from you/me/random registered user? If so, is this embrace and extend of the GPL a new innovation, or it has always been implicit in the ability to add conditions to a tailored version of the license to suit the needs of specific projects?

Hum, lost touch with reality?, posted 30 Jul 2005 at 09:15 UTC by yeupou » (Master)

"Still looks like a fairly standard project press release"

-> Follows an interview with the authors of Dianosis made for Gna!'s hotspot #6.

"I am not familar with the CeCILL, presumably it is slightly different than the GPL. Perhaps more "business friendly"?"

Not really. Software distributed under CeCILL license can as well be distributed under the terms of the GPL.

"Is soliciting various forms of free contribution of valuable human effort under the guise of a "GPL" project while contemplating and/or pursuing commercial/venture capital support and possibly considering shifts to more "business friendly" licensing drifting towards "bait and switch"?"

You should check the facts before starting to rant; for instance, if you have no clue about CeCILL (quite normal, this is still un uncommon license), first check, and start your stories about "under the guise of a GPL project" only if there are grounds for it.

Does the statement "we want to avoid any accident the software could cause by giving erroneous advice. Asking people to contact us prior to any download is a way for us to keep track of who is using the software and alert them quickly about any major issue !" seem malicious to you?

As far as I can tell the universe is still here., posted 31 Jul 2005 at 10:54 UTC by mirwin » (Master)

yeupou advises:

"You should check the facts before starting to rant; for instance, if you have no clue about CeCILL (quite normal, this is still un uncommon license), first check, and start your stories about "under the guise of a GPL project" only if there are grounds for it."

To which I respond virtuously:

A question, even a rhetorical question preceded or followed by verbose speculation regarding tantalizing hints provided in a project promotion posted in English for a French project, is not a rant. Nor I suppose would it be inappropriate for time challenged masters of the mysteries of the unix source and/or interface command line to create a new acronym, LFARTFWS. [Learn French and read the fucking web site].

Incidentally, I checked the site. It definitely was not English. The code archive looked promising as the directories looked English, perhaps the code or at least the language keywords were recognizable? Patterns can sometimes be discerned from unknown symbols. Techniques can sometimes be reused independent of actual code. Some design and typing is required. Unfortunately either the code is not browser accessible or authorization after registration is actually required for access as stated/implied forthrightly in the initial post.

yeupou asks:

"Does the statement "we want to avoid any accident the software could cause by giving erroneous advice. Asking people to contact us prior to any download is a way for us to keep track of who is using the software and alert them quickly about any major issue !" seem malicious to you?"

To which I respond: No, not necessarily malicious at the moment. Required registration to support undesired email notification is extremely irritating, to me, at the moment. If I wanted to expend time staying in touch with the developers or monitor developments with the software, I would join their mailing list. Certainly other reactions will vary and the project team certainly has every right to require registration prior to providing a free service. Just as I have the right to publicly question the efficacy of the approach and wonder why an obviously astute team would be mandating it. Is there a privacy statement detailing how and when the information collected will or will not be used after commercial interests (allegedly currently being eagerly sought) join the project team?

(BTW That was possibly a rhetorical question designed to score cheap debate/discussion points with possibly anonymous/private/random/other readers, since I do not read French .... however links to English translations of the applicable portion of the business plan or other project resources are certainly welcome.)

Further, since I am not diabetic and I do not intend to provide the GPL'ed code to actual diabetics to use for potentially buggy advice independently of the development team, I do not see the need or merit of universal registration. Perhaps an opt-in process could achieve both convenience for me and safety for diabetic users (who choose wisely) who are not obessively secretive about their condition?

Of course many online internet commercial interests, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists have found mailing list information valuable over the years ... unwritten policies are so easily modified to suit new/future business requirements ... hmmm .... possibly drifting away from reality here ... Hard data on potential customer base .... Not to mention IPO notification/publicity hype possibilities ...

I notice yeupou neglected to answer the 64 million dollar question:

"Is registration required of the recipient of gifted code for them to receive a valid license from you/me/random registered user? If so, is this embrace and extend of the GPL a new innovation, or it has always been implicit in the ability to add conditions to a tailored version of the license to suit the needs of specific projects?"

If yes, then the stated rationale is a bit more achievable if the project includes the requirement in the tailored invariant section of the GPL license they provide with the code. If no, then while the stated rationale may not be "malicious" it also may not be achievable in the long run.

A lot of Americans are leery of providing medical information to unnecessary parties (many of them call this "privacy") as it has become obvious that publicly available information is increasingly used by employers, insurance providers, stalkers, and even HMOs (oh yeah ... and also homeland security and NSA and secret police and other police) {and crackers monitoring exploited servers, routers and comm lines}[and possibly Martians and/or potential intersteller visitors] to avoid potential expenses from pre-existing conditions. (Fortune cookie secret of U.S. business prosperity ... collect the premiums, avoid the expenses.)

It is not beyond the pale of the possible that a support network of peers/clients (necessary if I understand the basic premise properly of exchanging and updating food and treatment efficacy information peer to peer or through a centralized database) would register one user/alias and then proceed with secondary distribution of the software privately as required/desired. In this case concern for the users will encourage public notification posted on a public web site, not merely the registration list, on the oft chance of a private peer/server becoming isolated anyway ... so why not let people who want the code conveniently anonymously have it?

Should someone modify the GPL'ed software (or; if it has outstanding modular design; merely the initial medical database) to support say .... HIV carriers then the question of privacy becomes even more pertinent. In the U.S. there is often a large amount of prejudice and even direct violence or murder experienced by "gays" when they are outed or go public. Ignorance abounds and many apparently believe that hiv positive is a sure sign of homosexuality and disfavor from God. Sometimes what a redneck, insurance company, or employer does not know does not hurt. Other times they make up what they want to and proceed at whim anyway. Some people still view privacy as a way to stack the odds in their favor despite its fallibility in regard to self defense.

Should the project prove incredibly successful ... an excellent business model (BM one) might be providing database updates to paying subscribers. This could provide funding for medical and software experts necessary to keep the code top notch and medically accurate for medical users not terribly computer or medically literate. Of course an alternate lucrative business model (BM two) could be the establishment of a large enough set of peers that voluntary donations and medical grants will sustain adequate expert oversight to assure minimal risk operation of the free software. (BM three) Commercial fork (not necessarily with any support from original developers ... they might be too expensive or opininated to suit a random entrepreneur or business division interested in the new product opportunity or simply unavailable for personal reasons) and a parallel successful free project. Other BMs left as opportunity or exercise for the random reader inspired by the apparently random jottings of this possibly unreal interface to a figment ...

I wonder what beta testers operating on the assumption of BM two would think of BM one at a cost range of $2K-$20K per year? Probably worthwhile if it helps keep you alive or feeling well ... if you have the cash ... and the opportunity cost is not too high. Possibly a bit irritating though.

Sometimes it is useful to generate specifics in business plans or project plans ... I think in the U.S. business and/or project plans are generally considered a useful communications tool, not a straitjacket. Of course information hiding and difficult question deferral is often perceived by some to be convenient and useful. Especially for overworked project managers and technical development teams .... incidentally, has anyone ever met an overfunded project manager or a technical developer with spare time?

Oops! I seem to have answered an ad hominem attack (title: lost touch with reality, implication --> some questions seem to have no possible merit and are unworthy of response other than ad hominem attack) with possibly even more questionable irrelevant questions ... oh well. Like code; free advice, irrelevant questions, free publicity, and/or idle speculations/chatter might or might not be worth what you pay for them. Might or might not be that the instantiations that emerge from the patterns depends upon realtime parameters and is inherently undiscussable in general or specifically a priori.

later dudes

64 million dollars?, posted 8 Aug 2005 at 08:59 UTC by yeupou » (Master)

I did not replied to the "64 million dollars" question because I believe the GPL license content is clear enough. I dont get where you found the idea there would be an extra-licensing clause, added to the GPL, that would make this software in fact non-GPL.

Asking something specific (a registration, money, whatever) in exchange of a piece of GPLed software can be legally done. But one that get a piece of GPLed software is only forced to follow the GPL.

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