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Open Source Software

On Being Pro-GPL 250

just_another_sean writes: Christopher Allan Webber, recently returned from OSCON, shares his thoughts on the GPL and why he dislikes people pitting one type of software license against another. He says, "I am not only pro-copyleft, I am also pro-permissive licensing. The difference between these is tactics: the first tactic is towards guaranteeing user freedom, the second tactic is toward pushing adoption. I am generally pro-freedom, but sometimes pushing adoption is important, especially if you're pushing standards and the like. But let's step back for a moment. One thing that's true is that over the last many years we've seen an explosion of free and open source software... at the same time that computers have become more locked down than ever before! How can this be?

And notice... the rise of the arguments for permissive/lax licensing have grown simultaneously with this trend. ...The fastest way to develop software which locks down users for maximum monetary extraction is to use free software as a base. And this is where the anti-copyleft argument comes in, because copyleft may effectively force an entity to give back at this stage... and they might not want to. ... Copyleft's strings say, 'you can use my stuff, as long as you give back what you make from it.' But the proprietary differentiation strategy's strings say, 'I will use your stuff, and then add terms which forbid you to ever share or modify the things I build on top of it.' Don't be fooled: both attach strings. But which strings are worse?"
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On Being Pro-GPL

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  • by ysth ( 1368415 ) on Tuesday July 21, 2015 @07:26PM (#50156643)

    Copyleft's strings say, 'you can use my stuff, as long as you give back what you make from it.'

    Over and over this is repeated. It is false. A better statement would be: "you can use my stuff, as long as you pass along your freedoms to anyone you give it to if you modify it"

    • by TWX ( 665546 )
      It's even 'friendlier' than that, it's been interpreted to mean that you don't have to make a point of passing on the source code, that you only have to if you are asked by those that you provided binaries to, even if you were compensated for those binaries.
      • by ysth ( 1368415 ) on Tuesday July 21, 2015 @07:44PM (#50156771)

        Right, you have to pass along the same freedoms you got. But only if you modify and distribute, and only to those to whom you distribute.

      • by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Tuesday July 21, 2015 @07:57PM (#50156833) Homepage

        That's actually only partially right. If you pass on the source code along with the binaries, you're only obligated to give the source to people you give the binaries to. But if you make an offer to provide the source, you have to provide the source to anyone who asks. That's because of 6c (GPL v3) or 3c (GPL v2) which allow those you gave binaries to to pass along those binaries and your offer of source code to others. Those bits mean those additional people are entitled to the source through your offer so you can't refuse to give people the source just because you didn't give them binaries direcetly. No, you can't bar recipients from passing along the binaries per those bits without yourself violating your license, except by including the source in what you distribute.

        • . That's because of 6c

          I disagree with your readinmg of the GPL. You can choose any one of the methods in section 6. I also disagree with your reading of 6c too, and either way it only applies if you also received the software in that manner.

          I still son't see where it says anyone as opposed to whom the written offer was made to.

        • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

          Wrong. If you are distributing,modifed or not, YOU must offer the source code.

          For a rather obvious example, see Red Hat. I have an RHN registered machine. I can download a binary RPM (GPL), and I can also download the source. I can pass that binary to you, but I can not simply say 'you can get the source from RHN', because RHN won't let you in without a registered machine (which costs money). In that case, I am the one violating the license, not Red Hat. It would be up to me to get the source from RHN

    • by Bacon Bits ( 926911 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2015 @07:21AM (#50159191)

      The fundamental misunderstanding people have is that the GPL is a distribution license, not a use license. That's why it's called a "copyleft" and not an "end user freedom agreement." The GPL is exactly not an end user license agreement. There are no terms of use for GPL software, and the OSI's definition of Open Source [opensource.org] explicitly prohibits that.

      Technically, all those GPL Windows programs that make you click "I agree with these terms" during install for the GPL are wrong to do so. The GPL requires that the user be notified of his or her rights and obligations with the GPL, but users are not required to accept the terms of the GPL because the GPL only applies to persons distributing the software. The installers should require no agreement checkbox, and the button should say "Next" and never "I Agree".

      You can do whatever the hell you want with GPL software -- or, indeed, any OSI approved license, AFAIK -- and if you don't try to give it to a third party you don't have to publish squat. It's perfectly legal to have proprietary modifications to GPL code. You just can't distribute that software to anybody else without giving them the ability to get your code modifications.

      This is how Google is able to run a custom version of MySQL for their search engine and they don't have to show the code to anybody. They don't have to do that because they're not distributing Google Custom MySQL to anybody in any form.

    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      ...and that only applies to that shared resource you've modified.

      Your own stuff is still "safe". It's as if you built your work on top of any other commercial API out there. They don't let you create derivative works and claim ownership of those either. Most people wouldn't want to. It defies the point of exploiting someone else's reusable code.

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Tuesday July 21, 2015 @08:10PM (#50156897)
    Let the person writing the code decide how she or he wants to license it.

    .
    Why all the angst and false drama?

    • Let the person writing the code decide how she or he wants to license it.

      .
      Why all the angst and false drama?

      Ultimately it's up to the code author but whenever you're dealing with an ideology you are going to end up with religious and philosophical discussions. As you say - the author should decide - and in reality software is used predominantly based on its capability, not its license.

    • Because no one lives in isolation. Imagine if everyone tried to make their own "free" licenses, but they were all slightly incompatible in such a way as to render all the code unusable/incompatible due to minor license incompatibilities.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Tuesday July 21, 2015 @09:09PM (#50157103) Homepage

      Let the person writing the code decide how she or he wants to license it. Why all the angst and false drama?

      Because the point of open source is having code shared with you by other developers. You own the code, you don't need a license. It's everybody else who has an interest in what license you pick. Those who favor copyleft want more GPL code so it'll snowball while others want to use is in proprietary products. How useful open source is to you is directly proportional to how many developers are using a license aligned with your interests. Why do you think RMS spends all his time promoting the GPL? Why did Apple pick a BSD kernel? It's all about the license, it matters to them what you pick. That's why.

      • It's everybody else who has an interest in what license you pick.

        If they don't like the license I pick, then I'm not forcing them to use my code. It's a simple concept, really.

        .
        So I repeat, why all the angst and false drama?

        How useful open source is to you is directly proportional to how many developers are using a license aligned with your interests.

        How useful open source is to me is how useful an open source program is available that fits my needs. I really could not care less how many other developers are using a license that is "aligned with my interests". I've got better things to worry about.

        • by Sique ( 173459 )

          If they don't like the license I pick, then I'm not forcing them to use my code. It's a simple concept, really.

          And it's only half of the concept, that's why it appears simple. People who don't use your code will not share their experiences with your, will never tell you about problems that could arise, about simple changes that might improve runtime performances, will not develop new uses for your code. One of the biggest reasons we have all that code sharing culture is because no single person is able to invent everything on her own. Yes, for a small project, it might work. But it will stay a small project for the

    • by jbolden ( 176878 )

      Because software exists in ecosystems. How the ecosystems evolve has a great deal to do with people who use or write free software. What authors choose matters a lot.

  • Ironically, it seems to be the permissive crowd that does most of the division and pitting. You'd think the permissive folks would be more laid back, but they are constantly spreading FUD about GPL specifically GPLv3. The FSF, who has a vested interest in pushing GPL goes out of there way to recommend the Apache 2.0 license and extol its virtues, while Apache's site takes a very negative tone towards GPL.
    • by jbolden ( 176878 )

      It isn't really ironic. The problem is that there is an asymmetry in the Free Software community. The GPL crowd can comfortably use BSD style code but the BSD community cannot use GPL code. Moreover the GPL movement was a response to and critique of historical failures in the BSD movement, particularly XWindows so they have felt attacked from day 1.

      However the Apache foundation and the FSF worked together to make sure the Apache license and the GPLv3 were compatible. So while there is snipping there is

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 21, 2015 @08:44PM (#50157017)

    The GPL is fine if it accomplishes what you want in a license, but really,
    there isn't anything particularly good about the GPL. It isn't bad (usually),
    it just isn't that great. And it's definitely overrated.

    It doesn't prevent proprietary forks.

    It violates KISS, a cherished engineering principle. Licensing is complicated
    and technical (from a legal standpoint), but at least licenses like the BSD and
    MIT can be read and understood quickly by laypersons.

    The GPL is wrought with complicated incompatibilities [gnu.org] with other reasonable
    open source licenses and with other versions of itself. In this case, the GPL
    really is kind of bad.

    It tries to solve a problem that doesn't really exist; many companies actively
    contribute to non-copyleft projects without needing a mandate from RMS.

    It doesn't even support the ideals of the Four Freedoms any better than other
    licenses. A company that owns the copyright of a GPL project can make it
    closed-source just as easily as if it had any other license, and a non-GPL
    project can be forked just as easily as a GPL project if that happens.

    The GPL often gets credit for the success of a few great open source projects,
    especially the Linux kernel. However, the role of the GPL in those projects'
    success is far from clear, and it certainly discounts those projects; the
    kernel really is a quality project regardless of licensing terms. It could
    also be said that those projects were successful despite the GPL. It
    would be difficult to prove either way.

    I'm glad for RMS. He has done a lot of good with GNU software, especially
    GCC. The GPL just really isn't one of his better accomplishments.

    • A company that owns the copyright of a GPL project can make it
      closed-source just as easily as if it had any other license

      You can't take back a GPL release and make it closed source, once you've released it. Just ask Oracle, I'm sure they would have paid much more for Sun if OpenJDK had never happened. They could have gotten everyone to pay for java.

      However, the role of the GPL in those projects'
      success is far from clear

      Maybe it's not clear to you, but a lot of free software was written specifically as a replacement for non-free versions of the same programs. For instance, the GNU versions of all of the unix utilities, like grep, sed, tar, etc. The reason these GPL programs exist is because th

      • by msobkow ( 48369 )

        Nonsense. You're free to use whatever license you want for future releases if you own the code unless people have contributed to it.

        There was nothing stopping Oracle from ceasing to release Java under permissive terms after Oracle 7. The could have locked down Java 8 as proprietary, and could still do so for Java 9 if they want to.

        They can't revoke the license on the published Java 7 source, but they most certainly are not required to release all future development work under those terms.

        • by msobkow ( 48369 )

          Of course I realize the fact that Oracle hasn't "taken back" the code takes the wind out of the Oracle haters sails, but such is life...

          • Why would that take the wind out of Oracle haters sails? That's like saying removing a fart is enough to stop a hurricaine. Seriously there is plenty to hate Oracle for.

            And I say that as someone who worked for two institutions that got Oracled.

      • by jbolden ( 176878 )

        -- You can't take back a GPL release and make it closed source, once you've released it.

        That's what many GPL companies do. Including Trolltech (Qt) and MySQL (when they existed). You most certainly can. Now that doesn't change the existing license on the existing codebase but new codebases can be any license you want. The parent was correct, if you own copyright you can relicense at will. Parent's post was incorrect on may points but not on this one. Not that it means much because this is true of any

    • This is a copy/paste of this post: http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

      He didn't respond to my response to it, but *someone* did mod my reply to it down. This post really is worthless-- a disingenuous and half-hearted hit piece on the GPL , crammed full of vaguely reasonable-sounding disclaimers "I'm glad for RMS" and praise for GCC so that people will take it more seriously.

      My original reply is given below. I acknowledge there is probably room for valid and reasonable debate on many of these points,
    • The GPL is easy to comply with, as long as you do it in the Free Software spirit. The only time you need to worry about technicalities is when you're trying to get the benefits of GPLed code without the responsibilities. Simply release what you've got under the same GPL conditions, providing source, and you're in the clear.

      It's also more resistant to proprietary forks than BSD licenses. If a company owns the copyright to a body of code, they can stop developing the GPLed version (in which case somebod

  • I've long believed the GPL has a major flaw that excludes it from wide adoption: there are too few ways to monetize GPL code. Now I'm sure some people are thinking "good, that's what the GPL is about", but they'd be wrong. The GPL is about freedom, and it's flaws force those interested in being paid for their work to often reinvent GPL code to monetize the software; closing it up entirely.

    This problem is especially prelevant in industries like computer games, and hardware drivers; coincidentally two of th
    • they use a BSD license and laugh all the way to the bank [freebsdfoundation.org]

      (rather conspicuous lack of Apple wouldn't you say?)

      At least the GPL requires people to give *something* back.

    • I've long believed the GPL has a major flaw that excludes it from wide adoption: there are too few ways to monetize GPL code. Now I'm sure some people are thinking "good, that's what the GPL is about", but they'd be wrong. The GPL is about freedom, and it's flaws force those interested in being paid for their work to often reinvent GPL code to monetize the software; closing it up entirely. This problem is especially prelevant in industries like computer games, and hardware drivers; coincidentally two of the areas GPL code has constantly lagged behind. To fix this I would propose a provision, or perhaps a sub license that would allow a person or organisation to keep secret their source modifications for a period of time. Perhaps something like 1 or 2 years. This would give incentive to enterprise to build their products upon current GPL code as they could save money by not "reinventing the wheel", while also ensuring that their modifications would have a monetization period.

      Your provision doesn't actually solve the problem. some of those drivers lag not just because a company doesn't want to reveal secrets but because they have 3rd party licensed implementations within their codebase that they simply are not legally permitted to reveal without breaking other licenses or contracts.

    • I there are too few ways to monetize GPL code.

      RedHat, SuSE, Oracle, IBM, O'Reilly, etc. would disagree with you.

      Today's problem is that it is too hard to monetize the old fashioned way of writing software. Just ask Microsoft, giving away Windows. Imagine 10 years ago saying that Microsoft would be giving away free copies of Windows. They would have laughed at you.

      • I there are too few ways to monetize GPL code.

        RedHat, SuSE, Oracle, IBM, O'Reilly, etc. would disagree with you.

        That's fine for enterprise and corporate businesses that are happy to sign up for ongoing support contracts and to contract companies to do development for them, but what about the home user/consumer market? What's the monetization strategy for products that aren't targeted at corporations?

        • by dryeo ( 100693 )

          Bounties. Communities can offer money to developers to develop and developers can offer to write stuff if given the funding.
          This works the best if the community isn't too big or small and the developers have a good reputation.

      • by tom229 ( 1640685 )
        I don't think they would. Red Hat and Novell write code under a proprietary license and then, a lot of the time, release chunks of it under the GPL after a certain amount of time. That's why the open source versions of their os have different names and often lag behind. Some software, like GroupWise, forever remains closed.

        They practice exactly what I'm suggesting they just aren't able to as easily take back from the GPL as they are to give to it. So when they have to make big changes to pure GPL code th
      • by dryeo ( 100693 )

        Imagine 10 years ago saying that Microsoft would be giving away free copies of Windows. They would have laughed at you

        Two points, one MS has always pretended to give away Windows for free, eg most every new computer comes with a free copy of Windows. While not true, it seems that way to the average buyer.
        Two, 20 years ago MS actively encouraged copying Windows and users sharing those copies for free. Bill Gates actually said something along the lines of "it's better for people to use pirated copies of Windows then to buy the competitions software" and Win95 would actually install with a blank product key if it sensed OS/2

    • The real problem is that in order to monetize software under GPL, a company will benefit from making it hard to compile, hard to install and hard to use, because most of the money will come from the service you offer and not from the software itself. Even worse, the GPL encourages dual licensing for commercial purposes, using the GPL as a corset from which a customers can free themselves only by paying a hefty fee. Companies then use tricks in the legal grey zone to discourage the use of the GPLed version,

      • by tom229 ( 1640685 )
        What your suggesting they do is not legal within the GPL. If it's GPL code they can't publish it and then delay anything. Now if it's their own proprietary code that they GPL chunks of occasionally, that would be right in line with what most companies do including Red Hat and Novell.

        They release their code because they want to encourage adoption which will hopefully encourage licensing of the closed version and support contracts. This is the only way to monetize open source currently and hence the crux o
    • I have asked about video games a few times, and the most common reply has been to make the engine free and the assets proprietary. Assets include anything that is not legally a "computer program", such as textures, meshes, maps, and audio. Several first-person shooters from Id Software have gone to this model a few years after release.

    • by jbolden ( 176878 )

      That's hard to enforce on people redistributing.

      A writes a GPL application. B uses it and writes something on top. B gives a modified binary to C with no notice to A. C distributes it wildly including to D. How do D or A force B to release his changes? Remember C doesn't have the source changes.

      Hardware drivers are not a problem of software. Those are given away for free mostly. The problem is the open source aspect not the monetization aspect. Your 2 year windows wouldn't solve the driver the prob

  • by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Tuesday July 21, 2015 @10:30PM (#50157427) Homepage

    Because the number one thing openness generates is chaos and multiple competing claims about reality. Say, many Linux distributions, each claiming to be great, and in fact, many variants of Linux distributions often with many versions and many wrinkles, and many varations of packages, libraries, and so on.

    If you want to build or customize things, openness is great. If you just one to pick something up, use it, and move on, a huge amount of confusion, overhead, and pain is involved in trying to pick the "right" version (particularly if you're unfamiliar with openness and wrongheadedly looking for the "real" version, as many early Linux dabblers were) and get it to work quickly and easily.

    There is thus a huge amount of value added by anyone that quells the chaos—even in a tiny sphere or product—and that can quickly, clearly, and succinctly explain to users just what their version does, without ambiguity either within itself as an instance or over time. The nature of the beast—this value is the result of "closing the openness," if you will, means that it can't be opened, or the value will be lost.

    End users want operating systems and devices that are not open systems with unclear edges that bleed into the ecosystem, but rather a single, coherent, object or product that they can acquire, use in predictable and stable ways, and then lay down once again. They want systems and devices about which books can be written (and bought, and referred to months down the road) without quickly becoming obsolete, and with the minimal risk that this book or that add-on that they purchase will fail to work becuase they'd misconstrued the incredibly subtle differences and variations in product naming, versioning, and so on.

    In short, massive openness is incredibly generative and creative, but leaves in place a systems/software/hardware version of the "last mile problem" for computing. Having a fabulous network is one thing, but consumers just want one wire coming into the house, they want it to work, they want it to be predictable and compatible with what they have, and they want to know just where it is and what its properties, limits, and costs are. They are not interested in becoming engineers, the technology they use is only useful to them as a single, tiny, and managable facet of the larger ecosystem that is their life.

    This "last mile problem" cannot be solved with openness in hardware or software any more than the last mile problem for wired providers can be solved by opening up all of urban geography to any comers and saying "lay all the cable you want, anywhere you want, to and from any building or system!" First off, it would result in a mess of wires (not un-analagous to what we see across much of free software's development space) and next because most consumers wouldn't be able to make heads or tails of it, much less make a choice, and they'd probably resent the complexity in their backyard and try to do away with it.

    Openness leads to closedness because to the extent that openness dominates in the development and engineering space, closedness increases as critical need for carrying whatever is developed to the average consumer space, in precisely the same measure.

  • Systems have only become more closed to NON-TECHNICAL users. iPhones can still be jailbroken and you can do anything with them. Hack, even non-jailbroken iPhones you can do quite a lot with simply by running your own locally developed app on your device (which anyone can do for free now BTW).

    This is useful because we have seen historically that systems that are more open to non-technical users lead to a lot of self-harm. They simply do not have any way to filter what is reasonable and what is not as to w

  • Some people think GPL means you can use my stuff as long as you put my name in the credits and keep my stuff free. But GPL means,"If you use my stuff, you can't charge for your stuff and have to make all your code public." So if I write a 100,000 line of code game, and I am on opengameart.org and want to use someone's pretty butterfly picture under GPL, I can't use that picture unless I release years worth of source code. Thankfully there is a work around of contacting artists directly and asking for
    • But GPL means,"If you use my stuff, you can't charge for your stuff

      If that's true thwn how did the FSF make money by selling tapes loaded with GPL software in the early days?

    • Yeah, well, you are certainly among the people who get the GPL wrong ...

      But GPL means,"If you use my stuff, you can't charge for your stuff and have to make all your code public."

      It doesn't even remotely mean that.

    • But GPL means,"If you use my stuff, you can't charge for your stuff

      I could explain everything that's false about that statement, but I'll let the FSF explain in the essay titled "Selling Free Software" [gnu.org].

  • "The fastest way to develop software which locks down users for maximum monetary extraction is to use free software as a base"

    Care to produce the names of any company, entity or individual user that were locked into an onerous monetary contract - though the use of free software?
  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday July 21, 2015 @11:05PM (#50157537) Homepage Journal

    Gift-style licensing like BSD licensing is for when you want everyone to use your code so badly that you don't care what they do with it. If you have an economic reason for that, fine. But it can create harm if you don't have your economics straight. Heartbleed was an economic failure of gift-style licensing. Very wealthy companies used OpenSSL and didn't contribute to its maintenance. There was some astronomical amount of economic damage in result. I think we all would have been better off had OpenSSL been dual-licensed and paid for by some folks, even if it had fewer users that way. And maybe that way its original developers would not have had to go to work for RSA, who prohibited them from ever touching their old code again. That's why we still have Eric Young's old, old license with the attribution clause nobody else uses any longer. He can't touch it.

    GPL IMO does work best with dual licensing, because people who just hate the GPL can get what they want, and pay for making more Free Software. But if you don't care about money and don't want to use dual licensing, the growth effect you get from GPL is a lot better than making yourself some very rich company's unpaid employee by giving them all possible rights except for a very limited attribution.

    Some people should pay. Some should get stuff for free. They aren't in general the same people, and they self-classify.

    • GPL IMO does work best with dual licensing, because people who just hate the GPL can get what they want, and pay for making more Free Software. But if you don't care about money and don't want to use dual licensing, the growth effect you get from GPL is a lot better than making yourself some very rich company's unpaid employee by giving them all possible rights except for a very limited attribution.

      This is something I don't think gets emphasized enough.......the GPL works really nicely in a dual licensing scenario.

      • You do have to get either copyright assignment or the right to relicense from your contributors, if you have contributors, or the whole scheme doesn't work. But maybe you get enough money to pay them some.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      GPL IMO does work best with dual licensing, because people who just hate the GPL can get what they want, and pay for making more Free Software. But if you don't care about money and don't want to use dual licensing, the growth effect you get from GPL is a lot better than making yourself some very rich company's unpaid employee by giving them all possible rights except for a very limited attribution.

      Sure, if you're not using any GPL-only libraries and not taking any third party contributions without copyright assignment. Many of the big libraries are community projects, there's no single entity to dual license them so it doesn't matter what license you offer on your part. And for copyright assignment you can't just find code you need, they have to actively sign it over and not many will help you make money. Chances are pretty big your project will be forked by some of those who refuse and their GPL-onl

    • So why hasn't GnuTLS [gnutls.org] gained more traction? Do developers of applications that use TLS see something wrong with the LGPL?

  • Some confusion of concepts is evidenced by OP's indirect contrasting of "freedom" with "permissiveness". Freedom is permissiveness; the more you are permitted to do, the more free you are. More permissive licenses are thus by definition more free than less permissive ones.

    One way to illustrate this is to consider what would happen if all copyright law suddenly went away. The permissive licenses that already let you do whatever you want would effectively still be in effect, because they were doing nothing bu

    • If we were talking just about source code and binaries weren't a thing at all, then GPL would be this kind of license: "you can copy and distribute this code, so long as you let anyone else copy and distribute any modifications you make to this code if you choose to distribute your modified version".

      FTFY.

      I also have the choice to distribute nothing. I can run my modified versions of GPL code on my own servers, and even charge people mountains of money to use it, SaaS style. Under the GPL, I don't need to pr

      • Yes, that's implicit. Nobody is physically able to copy or distribute your code if they don't have a copy of it in their possession. The only time any of this becomes relevant is if someone has your code already in their possession (i.e. you've distributed it to them), and is thus able to copy, modify, and distribute it; only in those conditions does it make any sense to talk about whether or not they're allowed to do so.

    • Freedom is permissiveness; the more you are permitted to do, the more free you are. More permissive licenses are thus by definition more free than less permissive ones.

      Individual freedom is not global freedom. If you incease individual freedom to allow individuals to keep slaves, then overall freedom decreases. I would call a society with anti-slave laws more free than a society which allows slaves.

      The GPL is analogusly similar. It maximises overall freedom.

      Hence more freedom.

      • There is no 'freedom to own slaves', here is only the slaves' lack of freedom, and freeing them does not make the slave-holders less free, it makes them less ENTITLED; one person's entitlement is always another's lack of freedom.

        There is no conflict between 'individual freedom' and 'global freedom'; global freedom is the sum of individual freedoms. There is only the misleading conflation of freedom with entitlement, and entitled people complaining about infringements on their 'freedom' when no such thing is

    • if copyright law went away entirely [...] GPL licensing would collapse to completely permissive licensing.

      If copyright law went away entirely, it would also become lawful to produce and distribute commented disassemblies of any proprietary program. A "commented disassembly" is created when a person takes executable code, figures out how it works, and transforms it into a preferred form for making modifications. This already happens underground: look for "SMBDis" on RomHacking.net.

  • Summary (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Wednesday July 22, 2015 @07:24AM (#50159205) Homepage

    The summary is completely confusing and decontextualized.

    A few days ago at OSCON Shane Curcuru of Apache Foundation gave a talk: Why I don’t use the GPL which gave the standard BSD defense: I won’t use the GPL for new software, and you maybe shouldn’t either. “Heretic”, comes the cry from the back of the room! But no – I bleed and believe in open source and the public good as much as you do. The difference is, I want to share my code with everyone not just the believers.

    Christopher Allan Webber is the creator of MediaGoblin. MediaGoblin is a free software media publishing platform that anyone can run. You can think of it as a decentralized alternative to Flickr, YouTube, SoundCloud, etc. http://mediagoblin.org/ [mediagoblin.org]

    He wrote an article in response to Corcuru's talk where he addressed the big failure of the BSD argument its now over 30 year track record including recently of creating platforms that are unfree using BSD software as a base. He also argued against pitting licenses against one another which is odd since he's defending a license. Webber's position is the standard GPL defense. Here is a longer article not specific to Curcuru. http://dustycloud.org/blog/fie... [dustycloud.org]

    Anyway the standard time tested argument but the summary was terribly unclear about who was talking to whom.

The UNIX philosophy basically involves giving you enough rope to hang yourself. And then a couple of feet more, just to be sure.

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