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Re: Fedora Freedom and linux-libre



On Sun, 2008-06-29 at 10:53 -0500, Callum Lerwick wrote:
On Thu, Jun 19, 2008 at 5:42 PM, Matthew Saltzman <mjs clemson edu>
wrote:
        
        > On Thu, 2008-06-19 at 17:04 -0400, Horst H. von Brand wrote:
        > > Matthew Saltzman <mjs clemson edu> wrote:
        > > > Plenty of companies that would be willing to release free
        software are
        > > > leery of releasing it as GPL
        > >
        > > Why?
        >
        > You'd have to ask their lawyers.  But it's a fact.
        >
        > >
        > > >                              and of using GPL software.
        > >
        > > Now that is completely unwarranted.
        >
        > You'd have to tell their lawyers.  But it's a fact.
        >
        
        As much as I hate to drag on this clusterfsck of zelotry any
        longer, I can't
        let this bullshit fly unopposed. Here, I'll stick to a concrete
        example:
        
        Linden Lab is a small start-up, which may or may not even be
        pulling a
        profit yet, running off venture capital. They developed a
        closed-source
        virtual world, Second Life. A year ago they chose to release
        their client
        open source. What license did they choose? They chose the GPLv2.
        Think about
        it, if they had used a BSD-style license, some other company
        could take
        their code, start up their own for-profit service, and profit
        off Linden
        Lab's work without giving anything back, quite possibly putting
        Linden Lab
        out of business. Their investors would have never let that
        happen.
        
        Without a license like the GPL, which ensures that derived works
        remain
        free, Linden Lab would have never open sourced the Second Life
        client. And
        that's a fact.

Good for them.  (No sarcasm intended.)  But an anecdote is not a proof.

I'm not arguing that companies that shy away from open source in general
or the GPL in particular always do so for good reasons.  But it's clear
from the variety of licenses available that a significant number of
developers perceive that there are issues with the GPL that make them
uncomfortable, even if they are generally pro-FOSS.

The GPL is not the only license that protects code released under it
from incorporation into proprietary products.  But some clauses in the
GPL prevent interoperability with other software that (for whatever
reason) was released under different licenses that even the FSF
acknowledges are in the spirit of freedom and open source.  That's too
bad for free and open-source software.
        
-- 
                Matthew Saltzman

Clemson University Math Sciences
mjs AT clemson DOT edu
http://www.math.clemson.edu/~mjs


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