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Leaving the GPL Behind

kdawson posted about 5 years ago | from the one-license-to-rule-them-all dept.

GNU is Not Unix 543

olddotter points out a story up at Yahoo Tech on companies' decisions to distance themselves from the GPL. "Before deciding to pull away from GPL, Haynie says Appcelerator surveyed some two dozen software vendors working within the same general market space. To his surprise, Haynie saw that only one was using a GPL variant. 'Everybody else, hands down, was MIT, Apache, or New BSD,' he says. 'The proponents of GPL like to tell people that the world only needs one open source license, and I think that's actually, frankly, just a flat-out dumb position,' says Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, one of the many organizations now offering an open source license with more generous commercial terms than GPL."

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who gives a fuck? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29033399)

open source is for faggots.

straight up!

Re:who gives a fuck? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29033659)

It's true. The only thing I love more than sharing code is sharing my ass.

Re:who gives a fuck? (1, Funny)

V!NCENT (1105021) | about 5 years ago | (#29033817)

First they ignore you, then laugh at you, then hate you... (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMzJo_q2vhk)

We're now at the fighting part. That's the last milestone according to Red Hat (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBUgEx_91BU) at least. It won't be long until FLOSS wins.

Just. Give. It. Up.

Re:who gives a fuck? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29034013)

First they ignore you, then laugh at you, then hate you...

It's exactly this type of shit that makes you look like a faggot. There is no "software war". I'm sorry your life isn't as exciting as you want it to be, but entraining a fantasy where you bring software freedom to the world isn't the answer either. Seriously, you should be embarrassed, but it takes real courage to look in the mirror. Time to grow up, kid.

Bracing for GPL V. X fight? (3, Insightful)

Ojuice (638639) | about 5 years ago | (#29033403)

Hmm, okay? Seems kind of sensationalist to me.

This isn't sensationalist, it's the truth (5, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 5 years ago | (#29033541)

There is a small but vocal group of Free Software zealots who make life miserable for anyone who thinks that the GPL isn't the end-all and be-all of Open Source licenses. They frequently point out problems they perceive with other licenses like BSD without conceding that their perspective may not be applicable/correct/logical/reasonable. These are what I call the Free Software Fascists. They claim to work for the greater good of the OSS movement, but their actions are only self-serving.

This is not to say that everyone who chooses the GPL is one of these. There are many reasons to use the GPL, the greatest among them is how the GPL guarantees software freedom for all users, not just the developers. This is a respectable choice, though it does tend towards indian-giving.

It's difficult to say that the GPL fails to be useful to business because 1) there are businesses which quite efficiently use GPL software and tools and 2) it was not written with commercialization in mind (in fact, commercialization of GPL software is completely tangential to the GPL). But in its own way, the GPL makes itself hostile to developers basing their products on the base GPL libraries/software. In a very real sense, by demanding software freedom, the GPL makes any software it covers poison to a software product company.

So the article is right. There are many software/hardware product companies who are shunning Linux and the GPL. The lack of IP protection (nee, the deliberate elimination of IP protection) is not something companies who innovate are likely to embrace. On the other hand, the article is wrong in that GPL software usage has never been higher. The existence of GPL software helps many companies be able to compete due to lower implementation and licensing costs.

Which side you believe is the side you already believe.

Re:This isn't sensationalist, it's the truth (3, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about 5 years ago | (#29033743)

Which side you believe is the side you already believe.

Just to be clear, our choices are fascists, people who share Indians, or businesses, right?

It's difficult to say that the GPL fails to be useful to business because ... it was not written with commercialization in mind

That actually sounds like it's directly contradictory to "business", however you want to define that. If you define business as the pursuit of commercializing a product, then the fact that the GPL wasn't written with commercialization in mind certainly seems like it fails to be useful to a business. At least, no business that is actually writing their own code instead of packaging other peoples' code. If your business involves packaging other peoples' code for distribution then, yeah, I'm sure the GPL is very useful to you. I'm not sure how many businesses need to exist that just distribute other peoples' code though.

If you're talking about developing your own product and then choosing a license, from a business standpoint it does make sense that you would release it under a license that doesn't give everyone else free reign with it. At least not in the short term, once your competitive advantage has worn off with time then it makes perfect sense to give it away for free. See id software for an example on that one.

Re:This isn't sensationalist, it's the truth (3, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | about 5 years ago | (#29033745)

It's amazing that after so many years people are *still* confusing commercial with proprietary [gnu.org] . 99.9% of the use of Apache is commercial.. and it aint proprietary. However there are proprietary ripoffs of Apache and that is the problem that the GPL tries to defeat.

Re:This isn't sensationalist, it's the truth (3, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 5 years ago | (#29033829)

For companies that would otherwise create IP based on GPL-licensed software, there is almost no distinction between commercialization and proprietary. They cannot commercialize their IP because to do so would force them to make the IP non-proprietary. For companies that create products, the two typically go hand in hand.

However, you're completely correct in pointing out that GPL-licensed software can be commercialized. Linux itself would not exists as it is today if it weren't for the commercialization of it by companies like RedHat and Suse (and Caldera, et al). Commercialization has a very big positive effect on GPL-licensed software. It actually funds the development of the product so as to be useful for the greatest number of customers.

But the GPL itself was written to protect software freedom, not specifically to enable (or destroy) commercialization of the software. It prevents the software from being made proprietary, and through prickly requirements like opening of all code which comes into linkage with GPL-covered software it ensures that the software remains free.

Re:This isn't sensationalist, it's the truth (5, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | about 5 years ago | (#29033869)

However there are proprietary ripoffs of Apache and that is the problem that the GPL tries to defeat.

How can you ripoff something that is freely given to all to use as they see fit as long they follow it's simple terms? Ripping off implies that you are taking something without someone's consent which is clearly not the case for proprietary software that is based on Apache/MIT/BSD/etc licensed software.

Yup, beware of fascists... they are over THERE! (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 5 years ago | (#29033833)

Fascism come from the opposite direction from where you would think...

True freedom will leave me alone, and it will leave it to me to do what is right. If you tell me what is right, it is not. When you cram-down-my-throat, what you think is right, well, that, prima facie is, just wrong.

If you invent the knife and then tell me I can only use it if I don't draw blood, why give it to me? I can decide if I am fighting off a wild beast to save my children or carving art with it.

Re:Yup, beware of fascists... they are over THERE! (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 years ago | (#29033903)

I fail to see how being offered the option of using GPL code, subject to certain conditions, impinges on your freedom(much less represents "fascism"). If you don't like the conditions, use something else. Nobody is going to put you in the GNU/Death Camps.

Unless you start from the position that other people owe you use of their work, without conditions, being offered that use, with conditions, can only benefit you. If you don't like the option, don't use it, if you do, do. Easy.

Indian Giver? You insensitive clod! (1)

Weedhopper (168515) | about 5 years ago | (#29033851)

My mother was an indian giver, you insensitive clod!

Re:Indian Giver? You insensitive clod! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29033861)

My mother was an indian giver

Is that what the kids are calling it these days?

And, um, what's your mom's number?

Re:This isn't sensationalist, it's the truth (4, Informative)

the_womble (580291) | about 5 years ago | (#29034049)

The lack of IP protection (nee, the deliberate elimination of IP protection) is not something companies who innovate are likely to embrace.

There is no actual evidence for that - in fact the evidence (academic studies) point the other way. Most of the studies are on patents, not copyright, but it is all the evidence there is.

The GPL protects any actual innovator better than BSD style licenses because it stops free riders. See Zed Shaw's explanation of why he uses the GPL: http://zedshaw.com/blog/2009-07-13.html [zedshaw.com] .

The article gives one actual real life example, and they prefer the Apache license because they prefer the patent clause, not because they want to allow proprietary forks.

BSD style licenses can be better for those who want to accept outside patches and sell a proprietary version (e.g. Django). It is more appealing to the outside contributors than a copyright assignment (like MySQL and ZImbra). In many cases they could also use the LGPL (provided they can cleanly separate the proprietary and open components), and I have no idea why they do not.

ORLY? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29033413)

'The proponents of GPL like to tell people that the world only needs one open source license, and I think that's actually, frankly, just a flat-out dumb position,'

Yeah, well I think that's actually, frankly, just a flat-out fabrication. Could we have a source for this assertion please?

Re:ORLY? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29033499)

Well, RMS for example quibbles over what we call things all the time (open source vs. free software and Linux vs. GNU LInux) and does so with a religious fervor. If you don't think there are GPL zealots just a fanatical you're deluding yourself. I've been personally told before that the "GPL is the only REAL free license" by a fellow developer I once worked with. This sort of attitude is less about giving a company or individual what they want or need and more about making a philosophical/religious point about how you think people should behave and I agree with the article it's stupid and fairly damaging to the reputation and advancement of free/open source software.

Re:ORLY? (0)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | about 5 years ago | (#29033779)

This sort of attitude is less about giving a company or individual what they want or need and more about making a philosophical/religious point about how you think people should behave and I agree with the article it's stupid and fairly damaging to the reputation and advancement of free/open source software.

What you missed is that there's a difference between "free" and "open source." As you noted, RMS is all about Free Software yet you ignore this distinction as quibbling. This isn't about some indistinct philosophy or religious point. It's about establishing an ecosystem that will service both a company and the individual. RMS pushing this agenda is not so strange.

That doesn't mean everyone has to agree with him. He's a pretty eccentric guy by any account. You can find less eccentric (and less easy targets) than RMS among those who support the GPL. And you can certainly find Open Source proponents who will note that the entire OSS world does not revolve around Free Software and the GPL.

The article is right in so far as the fact that there are many OSS options. One should review those options and pick an appropriate license. However, the rest of the article is, at best, misleading.

Re:ORLY? (4, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 5 years ago | (#29033855)

What you missed is that there's a difference between "free" and "open source."

What you missed is that there's a difference between your definitions of "free" and "open source" and what that word and that phrase literally mean to the vast majority of people (even the majority of IT people).

I propose that, for clarity's sake, people who use always the word "free" per the GPL hijacking of the word should start using "GNU/Free" instead - and please use the phrase "GNU/open source" as well. That way we can do away with all the semantic silliness that usually comes out of these discussions, and start debating the real issues.

Re:ORLY? (1)

moosesocks (264553) | about 5 years ago | (#29034073)

You can find less eccentric (and less easy targets) than RMS among those who support the GPL.

Yes -- RMS is quite the eccentric, and pretty much the antithesis of what you'd want to have in a spokesman.

Part of the problem is that he insists on taking "ownership" of the GPL, and frequently acts as though he's a spokesperson for the entire open source community. The GNU/Linux naming "war" that he's been waging for some time now is outright embarrassing for all parties involved.

He's also responsible for turning GNU from an open-source software collective into a pseudo political advocacy group. GNU's philosophy [gnu.org] page reads like some sort of paranoid rant [timecube.com] -- It's virtually impossible to take it seriously.

Perhaps the smoking gun is this mailing list post [lwn.net] RMS made two years ago, admitting that he hasn't yet embraced hypertext. He browses the web through a HTTP-Mail gateway, and strips out the HTML. (On the flipside, GNU appears to have finally hired a competent web designer. Stephen Fry on the homepage is a rather nice touch)

Torvalds is a much better role model to follow. He keeps quiet, and insists that Linux is a community effort, of which he is only a small part.

Re:ORLY? (1)

V!NCENT (1105021) | about 5 years ago | (#29033859)

Oh My God, stop crying Q_Q.

If nobody wanted the GPL it would not be of any significance. Apparently a lot of people like it so stop whine about the fact that proprietary sucks, except for business.

It is there. People want it. People use it. Stop crying. This sounds a little too much like fabricated by Microsoft to me. But just like everything they create these days; it utterly fails.

Re:ORLY? (2, Informative)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about 5 years ago | (#29033983)

RMS for example quibbles over what we call things all the time (open source vs. free software and Linux vs. GNU LInux) and does so with a religious fervor.

People in scientific and technical fields generally appreciate the precise use of language.

The Free Software movement and the Open Source movement are different. RMS is right to insist upon the distinction.

Re:ORLY? (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | about 5 years ago | (#29033613)

'The proponents of GPL like to tell people that the world only needs one open source license, and I think that's actually, frankly, just a flat-out dumb position,'

Yeah, well I think that's actually, frankly, just a flat-out fabrication. Could we have a source for this assertion please?

I think it's actually the (a?) purpose of the "additional permissions" language, to make GPLv3 flexible enough for anyone to use.

Anything beyong one simple license that we can clearly explain the use and restrictions around open source software fails the future use and growth of the adoption of such software. [blogspot.com]

I've also seen calls to have only 4 licenses [lwn.net] (BSD, LGPL, GPL, AGPL).

Re:ORLY? (0, Troll)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 5 years ago | (#29033701)

The source is clearly his ass.

Re:ORLY? (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about 5 years ago | (#29033763)

Doesn't a "proponent" of anything sort of think that the world only needs one of those, and that's the one? I mean, what definition are you using for "proponent"? If you don't believe a certain thing is the best tool for the job then you're not really a "proponent", are you?

Re:ORLY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29033841)

>Could we have a source for this assertion please?

RMS. Every time he opens his bloody mouth.

Next question?

Re:ORLY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29033929)

You also need to show the same about other proponents, or show that RMS is the only proponent of the GPL.

Re:ORLY? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29033911)

Maybe this? [wikipedia.org]

Lost the point (4, Informative)

MukiMuki (692124) | about 5 years ago | (#29033459)

Keep in mind, the basis behind GPL isn't it just have code that's open, it's to have code that STAYS open.

It's essentially self-perpetuating open source. I don't get all the people who discuss GPL work-arounds. It's really simple. If the GPL isn't for you, look for something with an MIT license, or even something in the public domain, or fucking code your own. The GPL borders on being an ecosystem, and if you wanna plunder it and move on, go somewhere else.

Every GNU zealout shouts this out at the top of their lungs, it should be pretty easy to understand by now: If you don't like the GPL license, don't fucking link to a GPL'd library. End of discussion.

Re:Lost the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29033527)

And then they wonder why Linux has such shoddy hardware support.

Even when companies bow to their every last demand, sometimes it's not enough. ATI, at great expense, revised, reviewed and released a lot of detailed documentation covering most of their product line. Then a reference driver for Linux was built from scratch to get volunteers started. That was, what, two years ago?

Re:Lost the point (2, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | about 5 years ago | (#29033557)

Every GNU zealout shouts this out at the top of their lungs, it should be pretty easy to understand by now: If you don't like the GPL license, don't fucking link to a GPL'd library. End of discussion.

Some of us find it a bit improper/offensive when these people claim copyright over something that doesn't actually contain any of their work. It's kind of like if a cookbook publisher tried to stop me from telling people that the ribs recipe on page 104 and the second beans recipe on page 286 go really well together, especially if you also have the cornbread from page 42.

Re:Lost the point (1)

QuantumG (50515) | about 5 years ago | (#29033703)

Some of us find the copyright system offensive.

It's impossible to make a moral argument about which license is more "free". You're both using the copyright system to get what you want.. and in the case of the 3 clause BSD license you're mostly just being vain. How about a dedication to the public domain? It works just fine for Wei Dai, although even he has put together some wacky "compilation copyright" nonsense to cover his ass.. paranoia is contagious it seems.
   

Re:Lost the point (3, Interesting)

countach (534280) | about 5 years ago | (#29033705)

They don't claim copyright, the just want something in return. You use my code, I get to use your code. A simple barter system. You don't like the deal, don't use the code.

Re:Lost the point (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | about 5 years ago | (#29033843)

They don't claim copyright, the just want something in return. You use my code, I get to use your code.

The only way to demand this is to claim that the binary (what you distribute) is a derivative work of whatever (shared) libraries it links to, and that the binary is therefore subject to their copyright.

Re:Lost the point (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | about 5 years ago | (#29033721)

As I understand it, nobody claims that contributing to a GPL project means forfeiting your copyright (now, some projects request that you do so before they accept your patches, a practice which I disagree with but is rather unrelated to licensing I think). In fact, it should be perfectly legitimate to make patches for a GPL project that are licensed entirely differently.e

The issue of licensing comes up when you begin to distribute your code with their code, in which case you need to abide by the distribution license of whatever you're distributing.

Again, correct me if I'm wrong. I personally prefer to usually not really get involved with this crap, much too emotional.

Re:Lost the point (0, Flamebait)

that_itch_kid (1155313) | about 5 years ago | (#29033739)

Some of us find it a bit improper/offensive when these people claim copyright over something that doesn't actually contain any of their work.

Claim copyright? What sort of sensationalist dipshit are you? You make RMS look like a mellow, tolerant, effacing individual.

Point out to me, sunshine: Where exactly does the GPL claim copyright over code that wasn't written by the original author? http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.txt [gnu.org]

The GPL states that if you want to redistribute the code, you have to follow some guidelines. As the GP says, if you don't want to follow the guidelines of redistribution, go elsewhere. The idea is to promote an ecosystem of sharing. People who want to take and use the code and not share their own back for everybody else to benefit, are not welcome.

Re:Lost the point (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | about 5 years ago | (#29033887)

Claim copyright? What sort of sensationalist dipshit are you? You make RMS look like a mellow, tolerant, effacing individual.

Point out to me, sunshine: Where exactly does the GPL claim copyright over code that wasn't written by the original author? http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.txt [gnu.org]

That would be right here:

If a library is released under the GPL (not the LGPL), does that mean that any program which uses it has to be under the GPL or a GPL-compatible license?

Yes, because the program as it is actually run includes the library. [gnu.org]

And from the following question:

A consequence is that if you choose to use GPL'd Perl modules or Java classes in your program, you must release the program in a GPL-compatible way, regardless of the license used in the Perl or Java interpreter that the combined Perl or Java program will run on.

stop whining and respect their wishes (1)

speedtux (1307149) | about 5 years ago | (#29033759)

Some of us find it a bit improper/offensive when these people claim copyright over something that doesn't actually contain any of their work.

This is commonplace in the commercial world. Sun, for example, was making such claims for years for anybody who downloaded the Java source code. The GPL's claims are quite mild in comparison.

And why is it that people whine so much about GPL'ed software, something you get for free and with the best of intentions, but you don't bat an eye when companies do this for their overpriced and proprietary software.

Re:Lost the point (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29033579)

Ok, you really got to learn to not use logic on /., it might confuse some.

My fave part is from the Eclipse guy saying ".....one of the many organizations now offering an open source license with more generous commercial terms than GPL."
You dont say?
That is not surprising in the least since the GPL is there for the USER's benefit, NOT the developers or corporations.

U-s-e-r.

As for using a license, you use the one that suits you and your needs but many times what companies are looking is for ways to get free development/community while still being able to keep something hidden for their own benefit. That's what BSD is for. If you use it, enjoy but just dont pretend that you are this for anyone's benefit (user or other developers) than your own.

And even the most diehard GPL defenders will agree that you need the LPGL, Affero and other variants like v3. That is NOT one license, they are similar but still not one license.

Re:Lost the point (2, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | about 5 years ago | (#29033637)

That is not surprising in the least since the GPL is there for the USER's benefit, NOT the developers or corporations.

Yes, because the users get so much benefit from it being harder for developers and corporations to write programs for them.

Re:Lost the point (1)

xigxag (167441) | about 5 years ago | (#29033873)

Nice troll but the GPL doesn't make it harder to write programs. If anything it makes it much easier because you get access to source code that otherwise you'd have no right to.

Re:Lost the point (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | about 5 years ago | (#29033959)

Nice troll but the GPL doesn't make it harder to write programs. If anything it makes it much easier because you get access to source code that otherwise you'd have no right to.

Given that the ancestor post is talking about "GPL is there for the USER's benefit" in the context of "open source license with more generous commercial terms than GPL", the comparison is "GPL vs other open source" rather than "GPL vs proprietary".

And the way I hear things, those other (non-copyleft) licenses are less likely to panic your legal department and don't get rewritten to forbid your business model.

Re:Lost the point (1)

bonch (38532) | about 5 years ago | (#29034095)

The viral nature of the GPL does make it harder to write programs. If you're going to claim it doesn't, then you're ignoring reality.

Also, LOL at talking about rights being enforced by a copyright license on Slashdot, the most anti-copyright propaganda site on the net.

Re:Lost the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29033877)

You can't be serious.

If developers and corporations want to provide software for users they have several options:
1. Pay for development
2. Trade for some existing code by making their additions available
3. Find someone who will volunteer their works

None of which are harder than the others for developers and corporations. It is disingenuous to suggest that the availability of GPL'd source code can in any way make software development harder for anyone compared to the situation where the software was not available.

Meanwhile, users still benefit from the GPL since they have available the ability to have their software changed and/or fixed by third parties or themselves if the original developer and/or corporation cease to do so for them.

Re:Lost the point (2, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | about 5 years ago | (#29033987)

You can't be serious.

If developers and corporations want to provide software for users they have several options: 1. Pay for development 2. Trade for some existing code by making their additions available 3. Find someone who will volunteer their works

None of which are harder than the others for developers and corporations.

Except of course that (2) means that people suddenly have a lot less reason to buy anything from you, since they can just (legally!) download it from someone else.

Re:Lost the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29034035)

Yes, but that is a benefit to the users isn't it? Isn't competition good for users? Oh, did you just change what you were arguing about.

Re:Lost the point (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | about 5 years ago | (#29033827)

"That is not surprising in the least since the GPL is there for the USER's benefit, NOT the developers or corporations."

So the U-s-e-r-'-s great benefit is the source code they have no chance to do anything with? Why not just pick a few users and offer to add features they might want free of charge?

Re:Lost the point (1)

greenguy (162630) | about 5 years ago | (#29033611)

I'm not much of a programmer, and I'm even less of a lawyer, but the GPL seems pretty straightforward to me: I get read, write, and execute permissions, and I give others read, write, and execute permissions (on their own copy).

Really... what's so complicated or controversial about that?

Re:Lost the point (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 5 years ago | (#29033695)

Some folks want to take code they had no part in writing, do a few mods, call it their own, and give nothing back to originating source of the code. Some like to call them "commercial developers", but a more common and accurate name is "greedy leaches".

Re:Lost the point (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | about 5 years ago | (#29033853)

Also, "the employed".

Re:Lost the point (1)

gnupun (752725) | about 5 years ago | (#29034087)

Doesn't LGPL prevent that? Why do we need GPL?

Re:Lost the point (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about 5 years ago | (#29033803)

I'm not much of a programmer, and I'm even less of a lawyer, but the GPL seems pretty straightforward to me: I get read, write, and execute permissions, and I give others read, write, and execute permissions (on their own copy).

Really... what's so complicated or controversial about that?

There's nothing complicated or controversial about that statement. And if that were all the GPL were about, you would only need 119 bytes to store the whole thing uncompressed. But, it turns out that there's actually more to it than read, write, and execute permissions.

Re:Lost the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29033797)

How does the title "Lost the point" tie in to the rest of your post in the context of this story? It seems to me that the summary is describing companies who have already taken your advice in full.

Re:Lost the point (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | about 5 years ago | (#29033815)

This is why a lot of libraries use something else. GPL requires anyone who uses their code to open their own code. BSD style licenses don't. Hence companies that don't want to open their code use libraries using BSD style licenses. Hence projects that use BSD licenses tend to be more popular. (This is also why anyone more concerned with widespread adoption than open source, like a language author or a format proponent, chooses a BSD style license.)

Re:Lost the point (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 years ago | (#29033963)

The strategic question, of course, is whether or not BSD/MIT/Apache licenced projects benefit from their popularity to the same degree that GPL ones do. A user who never releases their changes/bugfixes is not obviously different from a user who never makes any, or even no user at all.

Clearly, at least some BSD/MIT/Apache projects don't have trouble getting enough back but, given the number of times entities using GPL code have to be pressed to live up to their legal obligations, I'd suspect that a lot never makes it back. If the author is ok with that, great. Their code, their choice. However, it isn't clear that all "popularity" is created equal.

Just wanted to point out... (1)

bonch (38532) | about 5 years ago | (#29034081)

Just wanted to point out how interesting it is that Slashdotters defend the GPL copyright license in GPL articles but bash copyright in piracy articles. You even use the word "plunder." Where is that pro-copyright attitude when it comes to defending the rights of content creators whose materials are being pirated via torrent sites?

misleading (5, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | about 5 years ago | (#29033479)

The GPL makes the user a distributor and if your business model depends on restricting what the user can do it is no surprise that you wouldn't base your creations on the license, GPL is a license that protects those who use and modify the software from their predecessors, BSD is open code with the ability to conceal the source. The two among others are for different purposes and saying that there is one license to do the work of all is just as absurd as saying the GPL is dead. Until we see alternative OSes based on alternative licenses take a bigger spot than LInux, the GPL is in no danger. Furthermore, the goal of FOSS is more than just the GPL, it is the expansion of freedom to share and modify code and as long as FOSS as a whole is growing GPL or not it's a good thing.

Re:misleading (1)

Brent Taylor (1372435) | about 5 years ago | (#29033591)

Until we see alternative OSes based on alternative licenses take a bigger spot than LInux, the GPL is in no danger.

It's always annoyed me when people have spoken about the GPL as if it's a living, breathing, entity. It is a license and nothing more, not a culture, nor a way of life.

Unless the GPL is found to not be legally binding, the GPL as a license will never be in danger of anything.

NOTE: Please don't take this as a personal attack. Had I mod points I'd mod you insightful for everything else you had to say.

Re:misleading (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | about 5 years ago | (#29034023)

you make an interesting point. My intention was not to sound like I thought the GPL would be legally dead, but more like BSD was in the early days.

cheers

Re:misleading (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29033685)

Until we see alternative OSes based on alternative licenses take a bigger spot than LInux, the GPL is in no danger.

So, ignoring Windows and Mac, right? Both are bigger and have alternate licenses.

Maybe this freudian slip actually shows the issues with GPL. Although atomically the GPL is clear by itself, using the GPL with other licenses basically forces the whole project to be GPL.

Then again, at the end of the day, users don't give a damn.

Re:misleading (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about 5 years ago | (#29033839)

The GPL makes the user a distributor and if your business model depends on restricting what the user can do it is no surprise that you wouldn't base your creations on the license

A business' motivation is not about restricting the user's freedom, it's about making sure that they get paid for the work they do. That's the difference between a business and a volunteer agency, and that's the reason most businesses don't see a good use for putting their work under the GPL. If you want to see the need to turn a profit and keep the business open as the desire to control the customer, that's your thing. If you have a better way to make money using the GPL, go ahead and start your own business and prove it.

Re:misleading (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | about 5 years ago | (#29034061)

self interest governs the behavior of business. So even though restricting what can be done with software in of its self is not the goal of business, if by self-interest the business can make more by doing so it will. In the case of the GPL, it makes sense for a buisiness to cannibalize code already under the GPL if doing so saves on software development from scratch [red hat, novell, canonical etc.] or taking a piece of code that is troublesome to maintain but useful to the company and GPLing it to reap the benefits of collaborative work while reducing costs. It doesn't make sense to GPL code that is cheap to maintain and is also critical to business as is.

Control freak (5, Interesting)

synthespian (563437) | about 5 years ago | (#29033481)

Editor's note: InfoWorld tried to interview Richard Stallman, who runs the Free Software Foundation that created and manages the GPL, on this issue, but he demanded control of what we published, so we declined.

I LOLed.

Re:Control freak (1)

MukiMuki (692124) | about 5 years ago | (#29033507)

It's funny, 'cause I think the basis of that was probably, "I don't want to be quote-mined", which ended up happening anyway.

Re:Control freak (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | about 5 years ago | (#29033749)

It's funny, 'cause I think the basis of that was probably, "I don't want to be quote-mined", which ended up happening anyway.

It's generally things like "Open Source" vs "Free Software" and "Linux" vs "GNU/Linux" [stevehargadon.com] (or even "GNU (plus Linux)" as he presented it in an audio interview I happened to hear, as if the GNU part is all that matters). For audio/video interviews, I think I also remember hearing a requirement about (only?) posting them in ogg (vorbis/theora) or other non-patented formats.

Re:Control freak (4, Insightful)

The Bungi (221687) | about 5 years ago | (#29033563)

You just know that he would have demanded that Linux be called 'GNU/Linux' and so on. He's known for turning down speaking engagements from people who refuse to do that, too.

I beginning to think Richard Stallman is techdom's Michael Jackson. Once brilliant, his past work is appreciated by all... but he currently exists in a vacuum where he lives off his dwindling reputation and fawning attention of a few creepy adoring fans while everyone else just scratches their heads and wonder what the hell happened to him.

Re:Control freak (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29033953)

but he currently exists in a vacuum where he lives off his dwindling reputation and fawning attention of a few creepy adoring fans while everyone else just scratches their heads and wonder what the hell happened to him.

To be fair, Michael Jackson no longer exists at all, whereas Dickie Stallman at least exists in his own little bubble of weirdness. You got to give him that.

Re:Control freak (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29033979)

I beginning to think Richard Stallman is techdom's Michael Jackson. Once brilliant, his past work is appreciated by all... but he currently exists in a vacuum where he lives off his dwindling reputation and fawning attention of a few creepy adoring fans while everyone else just scratches their heads and wonder what the hell happened to him.

RMS was never "brilliant". He's more hype than substance, and always has been.

At MIT during the ITS days, he was a good (not great) software maintainer, not a developer. He never actually wrote anything substantial on his own, but he hacked a lot of code written by others. EMACS (both PDP-10 and GNU EMACS), GCC, etc., are all attributed to him, but when you investigate you'll find that that they were originally written by others.

The reason why HURD never became real is that RMS doesn't have a clue as to how to write an OS. He never did any work on the ITS OS -- he wasn't allowed to do so because he lacked the ability to work on kernel code.

Most of the people who knew RMS at MIT don't want to say anything; and those who do only do so anonymously.

Re:Control freak (2, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | about 5 years ago | (#29034033)

Most of the people who knew RMS at MIT don't want to say anything; and those who do only do so anonymously.

Which of course means we should all be skeptical of your claims.

Re:Control freak (5, Interesting)

Squiggle (8721) | about 5 years ago | (#29033741)

RMS actually makes a distinction between different types of information and how free it needs to be. At one of his talks he discussed 3 categories:

1) works of practical use (educational materials, software tools, etc):
        - should be free (GPL)

2) works of testimony (what people experienced or believe):
        - republishing with modification is misrepresentation,
        - commercial use covered by existing copyright

3) works of art and entertainment:
        - commercial use requires permission, personal use is fine

His position is nuanced, not stupid. I actually think the distinction is too difficult to make and it is best to error on the side of freedom, but there are certainly some tricky "moral rights" or artistic integrity issues for categories 2 and 3 with GPL-style freedom.

Re:Control freak (2, Interesting)

Squiggle (8721) | about 5 years ago | (#29033773)

Hmm, I suppose according to RMS the parent post is messing with his work of testimony. I'm gunna claim fair use while I still have some rights left. :)

Re:Control freak (2, Interesting)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | about 5 years ago | (#29033871)

The problem with his worldview is that it ignores one very important thing: artists have to eat, too. Take computer games, for example (and as a game developer who wants to bring more than bland oatmeal to the table, I very much do consider it art, but if you don't, entertainment works too). The GPL causes a cost-zero situation because anyone can, and if your product is good enough will, undercut anything you can do to generate revenue.

Sell copies of the game? Well, "personal use" includes giving copies away to everyone, so unless you're selling that first copy for a million bucks, you're going to lose your shirt. (Please don't give me that tired fucking bullshit about "well don't release it until people donate the amount you want," it sounds great if you discount that nobody will actually donate in significant numbers.)

Advertisements in the game to recoup your investment? Well, they have the code, so bye-bye ads and bye-bye revenue.

MMO? All your code's out there, enjoy those free-to-play ad-free private servers killing what little market share you can scrape up.

I can buy the argument, though I disagree heartily with it, that the GPL is useful for low-level tools--operating systems, userlands, etcetera. "Information freedom" is the fastest way to killing the software industries that many people derive a lot of enjoyment from, though, and it's not like you'll be getting Half-Life 2 out of an open source project any time soon.

Re:Control freak (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | about 5 years ago | (#29033835)

He was doing it for the users ... and the children.

Re:Control freak (2, Interesting)

PCM2 (4486) | about 5 years ago | (#29034063)

I am curious as to where this is coming from. I've interviewed Richard Stallman for interviews before, and while he set me straight on "open source vs. Free Software" terminology issues, he never expressed displeasure with the result. It wouldn't surprise me if he's been burned by interviewers many, many times in the past ... but refusing to answer any questions seems counterproductive. Then again, the assertion that he "demanded control of what we published" could just be B.S. and a misinterpretation of what he actually asked for; I'd like to find out the truth.

RMS disallows free use of his words (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29033493)

InfoWorld tried to interview Richard Stallman, who runs the Free Software Foundation that created and manages the GPL, on this issue, but he demanded control of what we published, so we declined.

Pity RMS couldn't have released his source words under some kind of open license so others could use it.

If you care, skip the GPL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29033495)

"BSD" is for the most honorable and hallowed of participants in OSS.

Live and Learn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29033539)

Yea, I started with C++, grape juice, and GPL , Now i'm a little more mature and enjoy good ol C, fine sonoma wines, and BSD style licenses. At least I don't shit on myself, use BASIC, & proprietary software, anymore.

Commercial != Proprietary (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29033547)

"...one of the many organizations now offering an open source license with more generous commercial terms than GPL."

How can there be people yet that confuse the terms? Repeat with me: GPL license is commercial-friendly, GPL license is commercial-friendly, GPL license is commercial-friendly. (I can sell the software, sell services... in the end, commercial revenue). Didn't you want to say "proprietary" instead?

Re:Commercial != Proprietary (1)

Hangin10 (704729) | about 5 years ago | (#29033607)

And then a bigger company comes along, does what's allowed in the license, and makes all the money while giving you none because they have a far greater ability to market YOUR product.

Might as well say it first (0)

Hangin10 (704729) | about 5 years ago | (#29033561)

The GPL is essentially pro-big business. If the little guy writes a library and releases under the GPL, any major corp. can come along and *yoink* (technical term) it. Assuming said little guy finds out, he probably cannot afford to do anything about it. There's places that'll probably help (EFF? ACLU? I don't recall specific cases, but I am mildly intoxicated right now), but that doesn't change the advantage.

The GPL is especially annoying when you find the ONLY library that does a certain thing, and you really don't feel like releasing code while at the same time being unable to write an equivalent (whether that mean skill or time-wise). Just about the only thing I can immediately think of that should be GPL is standard libraries for a programming language (C++ STL for example).

People talk about "code freedom". It seems ridiculous (to me) for code to have freedom. What about my freedom? If I make something awesome with a library that is GPL and I'm feeling altruistic, I can't let people sell it without distributing source? That's ridiculous.

And how many people care about source code anyway? About half the planet is populated by females ya know (ie Natalie Portman)!

Beans.

Re:Might as well say it first (1)

Hangin10 (704729) | about 5 years ago | (#29033573)

* standard libraries always linked dynamically.

I'm totally to brunk to post on /.

Re:Might as well say it first (1)

QuantumG (50515) | about 5 years ago | (#29033649)

Yeah, cause all that litigation that the SFLC has done has been for big business.

Idiot.

Re:Might as well say it first (1)

Hangin10 (704729) | about 5 years ago | (#29033787)

A) First time I've ever seen this SFLC. (Can you point me to other /. articles about this SFLC. I wiki'd, but it reads like an ad).
B) Seems like an assumption that they would choose to help. After all, they can only help so many, and its not like they get paid (unless you pay them with winnings or something).

Re:Might as well say it first (3, Insightful)

Sir Homer (549339) | about 5 years ago | (#29033883)

A big business is more liable then a small business, they have more assets to lose, assuming they lose a copyright infringement case. Lawyers like to sue people with money.

Big business historically have been the target of GPL lawsuits.

So I don't buy your theory.

GPL is a probably the best open source license for distributing software you actually want to make money from. What you do is charge a fee for people who don't agree to the GPL terms. With BSD, it's not quite as easy to do this. Notice some of the most profitable open source products (eg: SugarCRM, and MySQL) are GPL.

Re:Might as well say it first (1)

Hangin10 (704729) | about 5 years ago | (#29033923)

"Big business historically have been the target of GPL lawsuits."

That is exactly what I meant in that most people can't afford to sue. I don't dispute your last paragraph, but it still means you need to be large company to accomplish such a feat. Otherwise you are, at this point in time, rather better off staying completely proprietary and creating a coolness cult around your product (even though Apple uses plenty of free software themselves. portions of LLVM come to mind.).

Here is a comparison table for those interested (5, Informative)

bogaboga (793279) | about 5 years ago | (#29033581)

Folks at KDE [kde.org] have a comparison table for various software licenses. The table might throw some light on the reason why the GPL is where it is today.

Erroneous article (4, Informative)

pnot (96038) | about 5 years ago | (#29033625)

From TFA:

To force the free distribution of source code, the GPL requires publishers to place the source code on the disk they distribute their applications on

False; they simply have to make it available.

Under GPL, "you've got to give it away for free, and you've got to give the source code away for free as well," says analyst Kiewe.

False; RMS himself used to charge $150 for tapes of the GNU system. The GPL FAQ specifically states that you may charge for software under the terms of the GPL. Here's [nmon.net] a current example of GPL software being sold for money.

So in short: either they didn't do their homework, or they're deliberately spreading FUD.

Re:Erroneous article (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | about 5 years ago | (#29033889)

It says that you can charge for it, but that doesn't make it at all effective.

RMS charged for tapes when it was impractical to toss around the programs in no time flat via the Internet. Now, unless you charge a million bucks for that first copy, you're going to lose your shirt if just one client decides to pass it around.

Re:Erroneous article (2, Insightful)

matria (157464) | about 5 years ago | (#29034015)

That doesn't change the fact that there are outright false statements here.

Alex King is a freetard moron (1, Troll)

ZakuSage (874456) | about 5 years ago | (#29033655)

"Adam King said... matthews, Make a post on one of those accounts right now and I will believe it is you. "

All-or-nothing mentality of the GPL is the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29033715)

A lot of companies are willing to release some of their software under a free license, but not other. Generally, newer and innovative software is the best candidate for getting a free-license chance, whereas old established sofware, the monopoly on the copyright of which is considered essential to the company (let's not go into discussion whether or not the consideration is justified, the point is that this is what companies think) -- not so much. But companies also want to integrate their freely-licensed software with their commercial software.

With the GPL, guess what, you can't do that, at least not in any cohesive way. So companies must either release software they don't want to release, not integrate the software, not release the innovative software under any free license at all, or release it under a license different than the GPL. The first two options result in a (real or perceived) business disadvantage to the company and thus are usually not taken, the third one is clearly a loss for the open source community, and the fourth one is what we see here (but may also be an indirect loss since companies can't integrate their code with 3rd party GPL libraries, even for the sake of their open-source components. Time and again we observe how GPL radicalism and it's "all or nothing mentality" cause the open source community to actually lose freely-licensed code that would otherwise has been produced, and who won absolutely nothing by their radicalism for the open source community.

It's a pity the LGPL isn't as popular as either GPL or BSD, as it's a very good middle ground in such cases -- it keeps itself and its modifications free and prevents abuse of the actual code in question from being hijacked by 3rd party proprietary companies, but doesn't have any of that viral evangelical all-or-nothing crap which tries to encroach on code that is not even a part of the originally licensed code, and that, frankly, causes much less benefit and much more damage to the open source community than the FSF fanatics would like to believe.

Re:All-or-nothing mentality of the GPL is the prob (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 5 years ago | (#29034005)

But companies also want to integrate their freely-licensed software with their commercial software.

And what would stop them? The copyright holder to GPL code can do whatever they hell they want to do with it. The terms of the GPL apply to third parties who use the code.

Let's guess who the poster is... (3, Informative)

True Grit (739797) | about 5 years ago | (#29033755)

Lesse, midnight on a boring middle-of-the-week Wednesday, just got through watching an old rerun of Clint Eastwood in A Fistful Of Dollars on the WGN Late-Nite-At-The-Westerns, but there's nothing good on now, and nothing else to watch on DVD, so what is kdawson's answer to this dilemma?

"Eureka! A flame-fest between the BSD Zealots and the GPL Fanatics, that ought to keep me entertained for the next 4 or 5 hours!"

[rummages through the inbox looking for good dry kindling, a match, some dynamite, and ...]

Come on, Guys and Gals, this is a setup piece for a flame-war, if I've *ever* seen one, you've *all* been had...

percentage of GPLd projects is irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29033771)

The relevant number is the percentage of vibrant open source projects that are GPLd. But anyway, who cares? The majority of developers don't see themselves as competing with others. Free and open software is about cooperation, not competition. Many business types can't get their brain around the concept of cooperation.

Hard to believe but... (1, Insightful)

julian67 (1022593) | about 5 years ago | (#29033895)

Hard to believe but the article show there are *still* 'analysts' who despite having not even the first idea what the GPL asserts, get their opinions into these kinds of articles.

From TFA:

"To force the free distribution of source code, the GPL requires publishers to place the source code on the disk they distribute their applications on. Under GPL, "you've got to give it away for free, and you've got to give the source code away for free as well," says analyst Kiewe."

Yes, and the moon is made of cheese and bad things don't happen to good people.

Open Core License (1)

blackorzar (954183) | about 5 years ago | (#29033899)

In the debate between BSD like licenses and GPL licenses, we have to look a new way to license commercial GPL software: A limited functional GPL version without commercial support plus a full-featured commercial version with support.

Let's remember the most succesful open source database software (and commercial) is GPL: MySQL.

The MySQL model have been changing to a somewhat popular dual-license style, that is been called open core license, you can read an excellent article from Mathew Aslett here: http://blogs.the451group.com/opensource/2008/09/01/andrew-lampitt-defines-open-core-licensing/ [the451group.com]

The described model is used on some open source projects like Hyperic, Zenoss, Groundwork, Mindtouch and more coming.

Moderate Article As Troll -1 (5, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | about 5 years ago | (#29033933)

Fer crissakes.

This is a big whiny piece about how poor poor kleptocrats can't use GPLed code without giving back. Well, don't use it. Duh. There's no shortage of proprietary code.

And then it ends the article with the old fragmentation canard.

I expected to see Dan "Lyin'" Lyons in the byline.

Yellow journalism, anyone?

"Fair and Balanced"

--
BMO

Important Note from Steve... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29033941)

Attention ALL Free-Software Developers: Please ignore the aforementioned article and continue your wonderfully self-defeating habit of using the GPL for all your code instead of adopting something commercially viable, such as the BSD, Apache, or MIT licenses. We here at Microsoft really do not want competition from growing and successful open-source software companies, and your use of the GPLv2 (or GPLv3, even better!) practically guarantees that your so-called "free" software projects will never become a self-reinforcing economic engines of growth and prosperity, capable of benefiting both end-users and developers alike. Instead, please stick with your day job writing proprietary software, either for us, or for that "G" company down south. We desperately need more developers like you, who understand well that open-source software should never mix with, complement, or have anything at all to do with proprietary code. All that free software stuff - it's just a fun hobby for geeks, right? Swell! No need to get money involved - nope, none at all. Thanks a Million - wait, no - thanks a Billion! - Steve B.

surveyed some two dozen software vendors!? (1)

ysth (1368415) | about 5 years ago | (#29033991)

Why, oh why would you choose a license based on a popularity contest? Pick the licenses that meet your legal needs.

Re:surveyed some two dozen software vendors!? (0, Troll)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | about 5 years ago | (#29034071)

Why, oh why would you choose a license based on a popularity contest? Pick the licenses that meet your legal needs.

Perhaps the assumption is that because these people/companies are in the business of selling software, they probably know a bit about what's good/bad for companies in that business? If I wanted to start a catering business, I'd probably go talk to some actual caterers (probably from safely out of town) to get an idea of how to do things.

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