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GPL, Copyleft On the Rise

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the GOP-hoping-it-can-beat-romney dept.

GNU is Not Unix 277

paxcoder writes "Contrary to earlier analyses that predicted a decline of copyleft software share to as little as 50% this year, John Sullivan, the executive director of the Free Software Foundation, claims the opposite has happened: In his talk at FOSDEM 2012 titled 'Is Copyleft Being Framed?,' Sullivan presented evidence (PDF) of a consistent increase of usage of copyleft licenses in relation to the usage of permissive licenses in free software projects over the past few years. Using publicly available package information provided by the Debian project, his study showed that the number of packages using the GPL family in that distribution this year reached a share of 93% of all packages with (L)GPLv3 usage rising 400% between the last two Debian versions."

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277 comments

Cherrypicking sources (5, Insightful)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39231723)

The earlier study looked at a much broader base of projects, not just cherry-picking by limiting itself to packages in a distro.

Re:Cherrypicking sources (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39231817)

"The earlier study looked at a much broader base of projects, not just cherry-picking by limiting itself to packages in a distro."

Good point. The update in the On the continuing decline of the GPL [the451group.com] article also mentions this: "UPDATE – It is has been rightfully noted that this decline relates to the proportion of all open source software, while the number of projects using the GPL family has increased in real terms. Using Black Duck’s figures we can calculate that in fact the number of projects using the GPL family of licenses grew 15% between June 2009 and December 2011, from 105,822 to 121,928. However, in the same time period the total number of open source projects grew 31% in real terms, while the number of projects using permissive licenses grew 117%. – UPDATE"

Re:Cherrypicking sources (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233057)

I find it funny how most geeks who espouse the wonderful benefits of Linux and other open source software now hate Firefox and love Chrome.

Re:Cherrypicking sources (2, Insightful)

andydread (758754) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233307)

No me. I use Firefox not Chrome.

Re:Cherrypicking sources (3, Interesting)

MatthiasF (1853064) | more than 2 years ago | (#39231875)

And doesn't Debian actually actively work for make sure the packages it distributes are GPL?

So, not only is he cherrypicking but he picked a project that strives to use Copyleft.

http://www.debian.org/News/2012/20120219 [debian.org]

The actual study mentioned in the talk came out last month and was written up here.

http://www.itwire.com/business-it-news/open-source/52838-gpl-use-in-debian-on-the-rise-study [itwire.com]

John Sullivan even called picking only one distribution as "scientific". I'm not sure he knows what the word means.

Re:Cherrypicking sources (5, Informative)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#39231995)

And doesn't Debian actually actively work for make sure the packages it distributes are GPL?

Not at all. They just tend to make selections of the projects which actually work rather than the hundreds of projects that never go anywhere. The Debian Free Software Guidelines [debian.org] mean that main distribution software has to be free, but basically anyone who has motivation and acceptable software can get their package in.

Simply put, if a package isn't in Debian then it mostly very specialised, quite new or isn't worth touching. If there are several Debian packages and you don't know which to go for, then go for the one which is in Red Hat since that will be the most professionally maintained package.

The first survey may have been representative of packages which people start developing, but this is more representative of packages which are actually useful.

Re:Cherrypicking sources (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232047)

Well that's neat. Are they using packages that aren't three years old in stable yet? No? Well fuck Debian then.

Incidentally, your kind's elitism ("isn't worth touching" indeed) is the _second_ biggest reason for that same sentiment

Re:Cherrypicking sources (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232275)

Well that's neat. Are they using packages that aren't three years old in stable yet? No? Well fuck Debian then.

Incidentally, your kind's elitism ("isn't worth touching" indeed) is the _second_ biggest reason for that same sentiment

Your anti-Debian anti-elitism elitism is the _first_ biggest reason why you're an irritable menstruating douchebag.

Perhaps, but... (-1, Troll)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233021)

The GPL poisons commercial code -- intentionally -- and that keeps GPL'd software from ever bringing mainstream software developers into the fold. This is why the "year of the linux desktop" never comes. Those big packages everyone wants, from Photoshop to Office etc., the companies that create them simply can't afford to mix in with that kind of licensing. Well, that and the hugely fragmented nature of the various linux distributions. And the lack of a standard, royalty-free and non-poisonous-license GUI (other than x, but x... ugh)

I'm very happy with linux as a server platform, with pretty much all that implies, and I often write freeware for it (non-GPL, of course) but I'd never attempt to put commercial software out under it. IMHO, the GPL was the very worst thing that ever happened to linux -- it isolated and emasculated the platform in one easy step.

Ok, I know, here comes the mod-bombing, lol. :)

Re:Perhaps, but... (1)

snakeplissken (559127) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233157)

it isolated and emasculated the platform in one easy step.

when the gpl was first applied to the linux kernel it was still a hobby project,
to compare linux today to linux then is hardly to see an "emasculated" linux, whether on the server or desktop, you might think that if linux had a different license it would rule the world - mwahaha :) and perhaps it might've; but that doesn't mean it hasn't achieved much under the gpl, even if quite a lot of computer users don't know of it. popularity is not equivalent to achievment.

snake

Re:Perhaps, but... (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233165)

The GPL poisons commercial code -- intentionally -- and that keeps GPL'd software from ever bringing mainstream software [...] Those big packages everyone wants, [..] simply can't afford to mix in with that kind of licensing.

Yes, that's so right. Look at how Oracle became free software straight after they ported it to Linux. Bankrupted the company too.

Ok, I know, here comes the mod-bombing, lol. :)

I know I know. The mods here; so damn biased. What next? Discrimination against Goatse posters?? I think you both have an equally valid reason to demand to be modded up. In fact I'm surprised that the BSA hasn't managed to put through legislation to guarantee that for you.

Re:Perhaps, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233189)

Matlab runs perfectly under Linux.

Re:Perhaps, but... (1)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233289)

Actually, for a commercial entity, the GPL (or other copyleft license) is really the best choice--for releasing their own code! It means that your competitors can't make and sell a version with proprietary enhancements and gain a competitive edge on you based on your own code. Any improvements made by your competitors have to be shared with you, meaning that both of you gain an advantage over any third competitor who isn't participating in the sharing.

Re:Cherrypicking sources (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232101)

The first survey may have been representative of packages which people start developing, but this is more representative of packages which are actually useful.

BSD is dead; rtfa-troll confirms it.

Since NetBSD isn't available as a debian package, and even FreeBSD has only the kernel,, not userland, It''s obviously non-useful.

Re:Cherrypicking sources (4, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 2 years ago | (#39231937)

Or rather, it's cherry-picking by quality. Any useful project that is not fundamentally restricted to Mac or Windows will most likely be ported by someone, and packaged for Debian. Fart apps, not so much.

It's also interesting how fast non-GPL licenses decline. We're talking about falling by a factor of 4.2 in less than seven years.

Re:Cherrypicking sources (2, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#39231949)

Broader? Hogwash. If you dig into the KnowledgeBase figures they list only a little over 13765+984+409=15158 [blackducksoftware.com] GPL family projects. While the Debian stats say:

The last Debian release, Squeeze, which emerged in February 2011, had 28,126 packages of which 26,271, representing 93 per cent, were under the GPL family.

So the one saying there is a decline is missing at least 10,000 GPL projects, plus quite possibly more that are not in Debian. Seems to be it's their figures that are incredibly narrow and wrong.

Re:Cherrypicking sources (1)

klingens (147173) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232091)

Debian packages are not really projects. There are projects which are divided into many smaller packages, like Xorg or Libreoffice, and there are packages which contain many small projects in aggregate, e.g. kdeapps. I'd take both of these studies with large bovine portions of salt.

Re:Cherrypicking sources (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232227)

Debian packages are not really projects. There are projects which are divided into many smaller packages, like Xorg or Libreoffice, and there are packages which contain many small projects in aggregate, e.g. kdeapps.

That really depends on how you define "projects." It's certainly true that most everything in kdeapps was developed by a common collection of people, but is that really the important dividing line? It seems odd to say that, for example, Konqueror and Kate are not separate 'apps' whereas two pieces of software that provide the same functionality are because they happen to have been written by different people or are more often distributed separately.

Re:Cherrypicking sources (1)

Caesar Tjalbo (1010523) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232645)

Debian packages are not really projects. There are projects which are divided into many smaller packages, like Xorg or Libreoffice, and there are packages which contain many small projects in aggregate, e.g. kdeapps.

That really depends on how you define "projects."

That's the problem here. Sullivan initially mentions 'projects' but then counts 'packages'. Does 'number of packages in Debian' say something about 'number of software projects in Debian'? Imho not, for the same reasons as GP mentions. Of course it's a matter of definition how many 'projects' there are in KDE but the amount of packages that make up KDE in Debian is an entirely different and unrelated, probably different again in another distro, if packaging is done uniformly in Debian to start with.

Re:Cherrypicking sources (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232787)

Just because you have more numbers does not make your sampling more accurate. With good sampling you can have less samples and a smaller error rate. This guy's study has clear sampling bias. It's like saying 95% of Americans disapprove of Obama by only calling registered Republicans.

Re:Cherrypicking sources (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232835)

Debian counts each project at least 6 times.:

- 3 branches containing the same packages.
- packages in those branches split into foo and foo-devel.
- different versions of the same project are packaged and counted separately.
- Certain projects are split into multiple packages (say, PHP and its extensions are each separate packages).
- Multiple packages for variants of the same version of the same package (say, Apache with different MPMs).
- Multipackage projects (like XFCE as an example, a dozen or two packages (plus -devel, plus different branches, plus different versions), but only one project.

And of course, broader in the sense that Debian tends to favour copyleft, and it excluse packages that aren't packaged for Debian.

Re:Cherrypicking sources (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39231975)

"a distro" really isn't all that much cherry-picking. Relatively little software is actually developed by the distros themselves. Instead the development happens upstream from the distro (distros may help the development but that doesn't confine it to any one particular distribution. This means that most distributions have a whole hell of a lot more in common than the fans of a particular distribution would have you believe. The GIMP distributed by Fedora uses the same license as the one from Ubuntu. Same with bash, xorg, dbus, kernels, on and on and on and on... really there is a lot in common between distributions. A fuckton. I can't remember if it was a metric fuckton... but the point is it's a whole fucking lot.

Also, much of the differences between distributions is what gets installed by default. But a study of this sort doesn't need to live in that world. It can gather data from all packages available to that distribution not just the ones that are installed. This means that even if it's more of a "Gnome distribution" the KDE packages can still be included in the study simply because they're available too.

The only down side that I see is that such a study would exclude open source software that is only available on other OSes such as Windows and Mac. However the large majority of open source software runs on Linux. There is far less Windows only open source than Linux only open source. Excluding the open source software from other platforms isn't excluding much.

Re:Cherrypicking sources (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39231983)

And a distribution that prefers GPL packages at tha! Bias much?

Hey, we can prove that nobody is using the GPL at all if we limit our survey to the Windows install DVD.

Re:Cherrypicking sources (1)

Caesar Tjalbo (1010523) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232701)

Hey, we can prove that nobody is using the GPL at all if we limit our survey to the Windows install DVD.

"Use of GPL hasn't changed in decades."

Bias isn't a problem here, the original survey might have touched on something interesting or the rebuke presented here might have, nobody's hiding the fact that John Sullivan is from the FSF. Your comment however fails to bring anything new to the table.

Re:Cherrypicking sources (1)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233187)

Say what? Debian is the only major Linux vendor to offer you the option of using a BSD-licensed kernel! They've got absolutely no preference among free/libre licenses.

Re:Cherrypicking sources (1)

noh8rz2 (2538714) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232923)

What's copyleft? Is that like shareware?

Re:Cherrypicking sources (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233037)

What's copyleft? Is that like shareware?

Let me google that for you [lmgtfy.com]

Re:Cherrypicking sources (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232937)

The 'earlier study' included enormous amounts of duplication of trivial apps. Every idiot who clicked the fork-this button for the iFart iphone app on github counts as a new project even if they didn't commit a single change.

Re:Cherrypicking sources (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232971)

Not to mention he is counting packages which last time i checked some applications can have literally dozens of packages connected to them. That would be like counting every little piece required to make Libre Office (what is it with FOSS and shitty names? is it like a rule or something?) and counting it as a separate app.

Now I'll probably get hate for this, which will be ironic and sad since /. is supposed to be libertarian, but WTF I don't care. We ALL know why GPL is going down, its because TINSTAAFL and with GPL V3 RMS has gone so damned anti business he's scared away too many folks. I actually kinda feel sorry for RMS in this, i really do. What happened is the all to human and all too often response to trolling and that's overreaction. the TiVo guys basically went "LOL Goatse" to RMS and he went "I'll get you bastards!" and promptly shot himself in the foot in the process. Now ironically if FOSS truly WAS a community and collective effort then right about now a large group of devs, users, and businesses would get together and hash out what the problems are and fix them, basically cooperate for the betterment of all, and if RMS didn't want to participate they'd just fork which is the standard way that FOSS routes around damage.

But sadly RMS doesn't want a democracy, he wants a dictatorship. he believe this is some mythical battle of god VS evil, that he is a neckbearded Luke Skywalker. Problem is IRL communist utopias simply don't exist and most of the major projects have been actually paid for by businesses. Now RMS has made the terms of GPL so nasty companies are afraid to touch it, hell even Torvalds won't use V3 for the kernel. if that don't smack you with a cluebat i don't know what will.

No personally i hope things change, that the community routes around the damage and gets better, although I'm not holding my breath with so many "RMS is God" true believers out there. But if there is zero ways for businesses to get a ROI then they simply will stay away and surprise! That's not good for anybody. look on the desktop scene where Mandriva is DOA [linuxinsider.com] and Canonical won't be far behind [linuxinsider.com] . The simple fact is you NEED companies to pay for all the work that needs doing, without that pay you end up with the "busted shitter" problem where nobody wants to do the lousy jobs like bug fixing, QA, regression testing, writing decent docs, so they just don't get done.

As a retailer I really hope things change, i really do. You have less than a year and a half before XP is DOA and Win 8 is released in just 7 months. But its obvious that GPL V3 simply isn't the way to go from looking at the numbers. Maybe its time for a new license, one that respects your freedom to tinker while accepting that those that pay for something have a right to get paid for their labor? Something like "You are free to look at and modify the code, but if you distribute you have to pay for it"?

Re:Cherrypicking sources (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233009)

First thing I thought of when I read the summary. Just picking from Debian? Nothing like narrowing down the scope to help make the numbers look good.

Reality? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39231747)

The reports are all wrong and based off personal bias because there really isn't any good data. But we put it in PDF forum so that makes it a "paper" not blog jaw jacking. Keep reading suckas!!!

Makes sense (4, Interesting)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39231803)

IMO, if you're writing or releasing software, the GPL is preferrable. You benefit from patches, even being able to take those people don't intentionally contribute. You keep your code unusuable to those competitors who follow a closed management model. You also get to use it as advertisement if you're willing to offer an alternate license for money.

If you're looking to use somebody else's software though, of course the BSD is best. But the thing is that once you spent a few months working on code, a BSD license can be a bit of a hard sell for anything important, because you have nothing of the above. I think for most people some degree of attachment and desire of control develops after spending a lot of time on something.

Re:Makes sense (4, Insightful)

oiron (697563) | more than 2 years ago | (#39231907)

The way I'd do it is, GPL for applications, BSD/MIT/LGPL for libraries, depending on the level of participation, the commercial and legal aspects, etc. And all university research should always be permissive, so that it can be incorporated into either GPLed, proprietary or whatever else.

Isn't it easy enough to see that all the licenses solve different problems? Some are good to bring a piece of research out into the open, and some are great for protecting freedoms... No point mixing the use cases...

Re:Makes sense (1)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39231969)

Actually agreed there. I was really speaking of personal or commercial projects. Things made by universities definitely should be permissive.

Closing off sources never makes sense in Edu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233097)

Just the opposite for universities and for education in general. Their materials need to be open forever so that study and learning and developing new derivatives is never thwarted.

The permissive licenses provide the extra "feature" that code can be closed off. That is of no benefit to education at all, but a clear loss. Only the profiteers gain from it.

And beyond that, GPLv3 has the extra pro-education feature of its patent retaliation clause. It's not as powerful as it should be, but at least it's a start. Software patents are the ultimate attack on open source, learning and community development, because unlike copyright they cannot be bypassed by cleanroom development.

Re:Makes sense (1, Flamebait)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233101)

GPL for applications

So that no commercial interest can benefit from your source code, thereby intentionally pushing the freeware / non-commercial approach, yes?

And all university research should always be permissive, so that it can be incorporated into either GPLed, proprietary or whatever else.

Thereby enabling all approaches equally, and may the best approach succeed. Well, that seems much more even handed, fair, and so forth.

So... if you want to do that with source code that comes from a university, why not with source code that comes from elsewhere, given that you're handing out the source code anyway? Did I miss a philosophical point here, or is your approach as contradictory as it looks?

Isn't it easy enough to see that all the licenses solve different problems?

Well, no, not really. Seems to me that the GPL causes a problem -- it creates a reserve of software that can't make it to the broader marketplace because it can't go commercial (because it can very easily convert what was private IP into public IP.) That's why when I write software that I intend to share, I never use the GPL.

Re:Makes sense (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233117)

The way I'd do it is, GPL for applications, BSD/MIT/LGPL for libraries, depending on the level of participation, the commercial and legal aspects, etc. And all university research should always be permissive, so that it can be incorporated into either GPLed, proprietary or whatever else.

Generally agree, but I'd also give serious attention to the Apache License (2.0) for libraries. It's also fairly open, but also provides a patent license as well, and that's an important consideration what with all the trolls around. I think this is the only thing missing from the non-GPL licenses in your list.

Re:Makes sense (2)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#39231947)

It depends what your goals are as well. In academic releases, I see two main drivers of the choice:

1. BSD/MIT-style if your #1 goal is to get your code used as widely as possible. Maybe you have a strong personal belief that some method should be widely adopted; maybe you hope to benefit from the publicity of saying "as seen in Excel 2015!" about one of your methods; maybe you just consider it not worth putting any restrictions on; or various other reasons. Lots of examples of these.

2. GPL-style if you don't want Excel or Matlab to be able to incorporate your code without negotiating a separate license. This is often chosen when the goal is to do a split commercial/open-source release, with the hopes that Microsoft et al will pay for commercial licenses, while free-software projects are allowed to use the code freely. This is sometimes promoted as an alternative to another license commonly used in academia for that purpose, "free for non-commercial use" (and variants like "free for research/educational use"), which is not a free-software license. An example is the Stanford Parser [stanford.edu] and related NLP tools.

3. LGPL-style if you have a large enough piece of software to constitute a nontrivial library, and are okay with it being incorporated into major commercial software without a separately negotiated license, but are worried about proprietary extensions not being shared back with the original project. An example is the Waffles [sourceforge.net] machine-learning library.

Re:Makes sense (2)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232003)

For most people I personally talked with about licenses, the reason is "if there is a fork of my software, I want to be able to use it", with being able to incorporate improvements into their version as close second.

Re:Makes sense (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232499)

For most people I personally talked with about licenses, the reason is "if there is a fork of my software, I want to be able to use it", with being able to incorporate improvements into their version as close second.

There is no license that guarantees that code changes will come back to you. They only guarantee that code will reach those who buy/download the fork. Unless you go for RPL [wikipedia.org] , which is GPL-incompatible. That code comes back to you in GPL is an emerging effect.

Copyright is not merely theft. As a form of censorship, it's a crime against humanity.

Copyright is a tradeoff between creators of content and users, that society has decided on as a useful concept. Such a statement can only come from someone who doesn't create and wants to use everything for free. Supporting GPL and opposing copyright doesn't go together.

Re:Makes sense (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233029)

Supporting GPL and opposing copyright doesn't go together.

Wrong. I, and no doubt others, support the GPL as long as copyright exists. Eliminating copyright would automatically give everyone freedoms 0 and 2 [gnu.org] over any software package, making the GPL less important.

No GPL if taxpayer funded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232249)

It depends what your goals are as well. In academic releases ... GPL-style if you don't want Excel or Matlab to be able to incorporate your code without negotiating a separate license ...

I think it should depend on the funding for the project. If the University or project is publicly funded, i.e. funded by taxpayers, then you should not go the GPL route or dual licensed GPL / paid license route. Commercial entities are taxpayers and should have access to the code they are funding. When the University or funding is public a dual license approach like GPL and BSD would be proper, both communities can incorporate the code without hassle.

Re:No GPL if taxpayer funded (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233071)

There's absolutely no point in releasing it under both the GPL and the BSD, since if you use one of the new BSD licenses (like the one used by FreeBSD), it's completely GPL compatible.

Makes sense to the ill-informed ... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232045)

IMO, if you're writing or releasing software, the GPL is preferrable. You benefit from patches, even being able to take those people don't intentionally contribute. You keep your code unusuable to those competitors who follow a closed management model. You also get to use it as advertisement if you're willing to offer an alternate license for money. If you're looking to use somebody else's software though, of course the BSD is best. But the thing is that once you spent a few months working on code, a BSD license can be a bit of a hard sell for anything important, because you have nothing of the above. I think for most people some degree of attachment and desire of control develops after spending a lot of time on something.

That is terribly ill-informed. BSD projects benefit from patches and contributions, both from individuals and corporations. GPL is perfectly usable in a closed management model when the code is used internally, for example when you provide a service not a software product like google. Second, it is a political belief, not a fact, that denying access to the close management model is beneficial. Your license it for money under an alternative license argument is in conflict with your patches from 3rd parties argument, you can not license code that others own the copyright to - look at the Linux kernel being locked into GPL v2 because all the contributors of patches and new features/functionality can't/won't authorize a switch to GPL v3. BSD licensed projects have been easier sells for some, for example Sun Microsystems and Apple Computers.

You are correct that people who are emotional and controlling would probably prefer the GPL.

Re:Makes sense to the ill-informed ... (1)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232225)

GPL is perfectly usable in a closed management model when the code is used internally, for example when you provide a service not a software product like google.

That doesn't apply to software that's intended to be sold to end users, which can take advantage of the GPL. For the rest, there's the AGPL. Google doesn't seem to like it.

look at the Linux kernel being locked into GPL v2 because all the contributors of patches and new features/functionality can't/won't authorize a switch to GPL v3

Actually that's in a way a benefit. Part of what I like about the GPL is precisely the situation with the kernel. By mixing together so much code from authors that would disagree with a change, are unavailable, dead, etc, it'd take the rewrite of a huge amount of code to relicense the kernel, to the point it's not worth trying. It exists in a weird category of its own where nobody really owns it, and nobody can ever become the owner. I consider that state to be desirable, even if there are problems like with the GPL3.

BSD licensed projects have been easier sells for some, for example Sun Microsystems and Apple Computers.

They like it better for sure, but why would be that a good thing for me? Darwin last time I looked at it was unusable and pretty much dead, for instance.

Re:Makes sense to the ill-informed ... (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232375)

BSD projects benefit from patches and contributions, both from individuals and corporations.

Exactly, which is why all of MacOS X is BSD licensed. Wait.

You clearly must have missed the part of the GP that says "even being able to take those people don't intentionally contribute."

GPL is perfectly usable in a closed management model when the code is used internally, for example when you provide a service not a software product like google.

Except that if you're concerned about that then you use the AGPL.

Second, it is a political belief, not a fact, that denying access to the close management model is beneficial.

Your opinion regarding the empirical consequences of closed management is rejected on the grounds of it not being a fact.

Your license it for money under an alternative license argument is in conflict with your patches from 3rd parties argument, you can not license code that others own the copyright to - look at the Linux kernel being locked into GPL v2 because all the contributors of patches and new features/functionality can't/won't authorize a switch to GPL v3.

OK, they're in conflict. Which one does that disprove? It's neither of them, isn't it? It's that you get a choice between reincorporating changes from unwilling contributors (without copyright assignment, as with the Linux kernel) or requiring copyright assignment from contributors before incorporating their contributions so that you can license them on different terms while preventing prospective licensees from just taking the code and incorporate it into proprietary software without your consent. You don't get to do either of those with BSD.

Re:Makes sense (1, Insightful)

hydrofix (1253498) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232185)

GPL is a horrible piece of sh*t.

It's fine as long as you don't need to use that software commercially. But in the commercial world you need to be able to edit the source code of the software to make any use of it. GPL does the exact opposite of what it pretends to promise: it restricts you from editing the source code, because you become liable to all sorts of legal responsibilities if you do so. Not understanding these caveats in supposedly "free" software can be very costly, when you implement a large application that relies on a slightly modified version of a GPL source code, and after two months of development realise that you have painted yourself into a corner and made yourself into a copyright criminal – just because you naïvely thought "free software" was actually "free".

If you want to write free software for the benefit of the IT community and not a certain unemployed American self-righteous zealot, you should definitely release it into the public domain or – if you want attribution – use some easier and more relaxed license (both to understand and read) than any GNU license. GPL is anyway a dying ecosystem, because both Apple [zdnet.com] and Microsoft [arstechnica.com] have banned it from their current and future distribution platforms. And no Slashdot, this is not because they are bad evil corporations that hate penguins and kittens, but because GPL is an ambiguous, incomprehensible myriad of rights and responsibilities that no sane company in the software distribution business would ever touch.

Re:Makes sense (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232253)

If you spend 2 months with someone else's code without bothering to read the license it's on your own head ... be glad for the GPL to teach you a valuable lesson in life.

Re:Makes sense (1)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232255)

If you want to write free software for the benefit of the IT community and not a certain unemployed American self-righteous zealot, you should definitely release it into the public domain or â" if you want attribution â" use some easier and more relaxed license (both to understand and read) than any GNU license.

I don't want any of those things.

I write for my own benefit, not for the "IT community". I want attribution, and your improvements to my code, or your money in exchange for a different license. I have no reason to give you code with no strings attached, no matter how much that might displease you.

Re:Makes sense (3, Insightful)

hydrofix (1253498) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232353)

I write for my own benefit, not for the "IT community". I want attribution, and your improvements to my code, or your money in exchange for a different license. I have no reason to give you code with no strings attached, no matter how much that might displease you.

And how is this free software? I think most people would intuitively think that something "free" comes without strings attached. And this is where the deception of GPL lies: it is not really a free software license (except in some idealistic form as defined by the GNU foundation), but a restrictive license that actually discourages free use of the author's creation.

Re:Makes sense (1)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232461)

Heh! I don't care for terminology arguments. It's not important to me what it's called. It does precisely what I want it to do, and that's why I use it, and not because I'm committed to some philosophical concept of freedom.

But, most practical freedom does come with strings attached. Even back when everybody was proudly saying that America is the Land of the Free, it wasn't by any means anarchic.

Re:Makes sense (5, Informative)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232307)

it restricts you from editing the source code, because you become liable to all sorts of legal responsibilities if you do so.''''

No it doesn't. You can edit privately and use the software internally in your company and never even have to touch the terms of the GPL. On the other hand, if you never edit the software, but you distribute the software then you normally need to follow the terms of the GPL even if you have never edited it.

Interestingly enough, some of the largest IT companies, like IBM, Oracle, RedHat, Ubuntu and even Microsoft disagree with you and happily work with and distribute GPL software.

Re:Makes sense (1)

Surkow (1202815) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233103)

Exactly, I think people tend to forget that the GPL is a distribution license. These restrictions are only in place the moment you start distributing your software.

Re:Makes sense (0)

Dwonis (52652) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232469)

GPL is a horrible piece of sh*t.

It's fine as long as you don't need to use that software commercially. But in the commercial world you need to be able to edit the source code of the software to make any use of it.

Defamation [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Makes sense (0)

ilguido (1704434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232735)

GPL is a horrible piece of sh*t.

The only successful and widely adopted open source OS says otherwise.

It's fine as long as you don't need to use that software commercially.

Buy some old DOS game from GOG or DotEmu and you'll know that GPL is very widely used in commercial software. (Pro hint: that GPL license note, that you read when you install a DOS game, is there because those games are emulated by dosbox or scummvm).

Re:Makes sense (3, Insightful)

hydrofix (1253498) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232927)

The only successful and widely adopted open source OS says otherwise.

Ermm.. Nope. UNIX is the most widely-adopted open source OS. One brand of it currently has 15% market share [osxdaily.com] in the North American consumer market. And key to its success? It's not GPL!

Linux is open source, but not free for commercial reuse. It has been exploited in some embedded devices (while more than not totally ignoring the copyleft/ShareAlike properties of GPL). A notable example is the unwillingness of Google to open their Linux source code, but there are thousands of smaller corporations out there who simply ignore the GPL when reusing Linux.

Re:Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233091)

Hi, as a Linux user, I can tell you: we don't care about the market. At all.

UNIX is the most widely-adopted open source OS. One brand of it currently has 15% market share [osxdaily.com] in the North American consumer market.

So you have the source code of OS X?

Re:Makes sense (1)

hydrofix (1253498) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233221)

Hi, as a Linux user, I can tell you: we don't care about the market. At all.

Well. call me when you start caring. There's no point in dealing with people who live in a zealotry-fueled Socialist dreamworld, where money grows on trees and the government pays you a monthly citizen's salary, and nobody has to do anything to earn a living.

So you have the source code of OS X?

That's the beauty of free software: the author does not have to release the source code back to the public if they choose so. No need to force them to do something they don't want through legal traps.

Re:Makes sense (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233213)

It's fine as long as you don't need to use that software commercially. But in the commercial world you need to be able to edit the source code of the

GPL does the exact opposite of what it pretends to promise: it restricts you from editing the source code, because you become liable to all sorts of legal responsibilities if you do so.

Wrong, completely wrong.

First, nothing restricts you from editing the source code.

Second, what restricts you from distributing the code as you want is copyright. The GPL unrestricts it, as long as you comply with a few requirements.

Re:Makes sense (0)

hydrofix (1253498) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233335)

First, nothing restricts you from editing the source code.

Well technically yes. But that's only unless I want to make use of those modification by e.g. publishing the application that contains some GPL code – even if the GPL part of my application is just a tiny part of the larger application.

The GPL unrestricts it, as long as you comply with a few requirements.

Few? Have you ever actually tried reading [gnu.org] the GPL? It is not on par with an MS EULA's, but doesn't come very far. If I wanted to distribute my creations to the greater public, I would choose a license that is very easy to understand in a few sentences, like the BSD license.

GPL is bullsh*t because it presents itself as a free license and makes a loud claim of freedom etc. etc., but it actually takes those freedoms away from your users and restricts their use of your source code – thus it's anti-innovative and anti-progress (unless you subscribe to GPL as well – but then again, that's rarely possible in real world end user applications.)

Obvious problem with the research (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39231843)

So one study, which looks at the wide ecosystem of open source software finds copyleft is on the decline. But a study which only focuses on a Linux distribution which has a strong focus on GPL finds copyleft is increasing? Isn't that a bit like going to a Green Peace rally and saying a majority of people surveyed support saving whales?

Pro-GPL study from authors of GPL ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39231913)

So one study, which looks at the wide ecosystem of open source software finds copyleft is on the decline. But a study which only focuses on a Linux distribution which has a strong focus on GPL finds copyleft is increasing? Isn't that a bit like going to a Green Peace rally and saying a majority of people surveyed support saving whales?

You left out the part where the pro-GPL study comes from the authors and advocates of the GPL.

Re:Pro-GPL study from authors of GPL ... (5, Insightful)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232063)

You left out the part where the pro-GPL study comes from the authors and advocates of the GPL.

Thanks for the hint (its astounding the way that accusations from shills so often point you in the direction of what they themselves are doing). You left out the fact that the original data came from a Microsoft partner [blackducksoftware.com] involved in Codeplex. Immediately I saw your post I thought to search for that.

Re:Pro-GPL study from authors of GPL ... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232651)

(its astounding the way that accusations from shills so often point you in the direction of what they themselves are doing)

No, it's not. If you are doing it yourself, it's on your mind, and therefore you'll more likely spot it elsewhere.

Re:Pro-GPL study from authors of GPL ... (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233043)

Well; "spot it" kind of implies it's hidden. I don't know if you have Read The Fine Article, but even looking at the summary above you will see that the FSF is straight up and clearly involved. In Caos Theory article there is absolutely no declaration of Microsoft's involvement whatsoever. It seems a bit foolish to bring attention to something like this.

Re:Obvious problem with the research (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232059)

The open source ecosystem exists on other platforms? Last I checked Linux was one of the few that actually had such an ecosystem. Microsoft's Codeplex really isn't an ecosystem in the same sense of the word. There are strong dependencies in an ecosystem. The Linux kernel doesn't stand by itself, for example. I don't see much of an open source ecosystem outside of Linux. What do you expect people to study open source on? Let's throw Linux out and use Codeplex? HA HA HA HA. That must by why you're modded funny. Wooshh... my bad.

Re:Obvious problem with the research (3, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233035)

Your point was funny and well illustrated, but I'm not sure it's correct. Is Debian actually biased toward the GPL over other F/OSS licenses? Their Debian Free Software Guidelines and Software License FAQ [debian.org] explicitly suggests the BSD and MIT licenses for authors who want their code to be useable by everyone. They also call out the Artistic License by name in the "What Does Free Mean? [debian.org] " section of the "Introduction to Debian".

I've never thought of Debian as particularly pro-GPL in particular so much as pro-Free Software in general.

The sad part. (4, Interesting)

philip.paradis (2580427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39231849)

I've seen so many developers just slap the GPL on their code because it's perceived as the "default" choice. When asked why they chose to use the GPL, they can't even explain its basic provisions. When told how it works, many of those same developers will say "oh, that's not really my intent." Sadly, because of the original "default" perception, a ton of code gets licensed this way.

I aggressively support the right to license something any way creators see fit, and happen to license my most of my stuff under the BSD and Artistic licenses. That said, people really need to understand what different licenses provide before they run off using them. When in any doubt whatsoever regarding any of it, it wouldn't be a terrible idea to pay for an hour of a lawyer's time (if possible).

Re:The sad part. (3, Insightful)

Qubit (100461) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232005)

I've seen so many developers just slap the GPL on their code because it's perceived as the "default" choice. When asked why they chose to use the GPL, they can't even explain its basic provisions. When told how it works, many of those same developers will say "oh, that's not really my intent." Sadly, because of the original "default" perception, a ton of code gets licensed this way.

Do you think this is because many programmers see "open-sourcing" their software as a kind of "throw it over the wall" kind of exercise? Perhaps they don't have much invested in the benefits of a shared community around the code?

My guess would be that for programmers who plan a livelyhood based on writing wholly (or near to it) FOSS code, something like the GPL protects their interests and future business possibilities in the market more than a permissive license like the 3-clause BSD. For programmers who write a lot of code under proprietary licenses, I can totally understand that they would (1) want (or rather NEED) to use permissively-licensed libraries, and (2) thus would be much inclined to release their code under those same permissive terms.

I aggressively support the right to license something any way creators see fit, and happen to license my most of my stuff under the BSD and Artistic licenses. That said, people really need to understand what different licenses provide before they run off using them.

Licenses are very tricky things. Given the entry barriers to writing some PHP code vs. understanding the provisions in the Artistic License, the GPL, what advertising clauses mean, etc..etc..., computer code is often easier than its legal counterpart.

When in any doubt whatsoever regarding any of it, it wouldn't be a terrible idea to pay for an hour of a lawyer's time (if possible).

Oh, it's certainly a good idea, but how many lawyers (or laypeople -- Hi, Bruce!) do you know who are expert enough to consult about ip, copyright, FOSS licensing, etc..? I know a handful, and I believe that they make over $300/hr -- some probably make a lot more than that!

Re:The sad part. (1)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232157)

My guess would be that for programmers who plan a livelyhood based on writing wholly (or near to it) FOSS code, something like the GPL protects their interests and future business possibilities in the market more than a permissive license like the 3-clause BSD. For programmers who write a lot of code under proprietary licenses, I can totally understand that they would (1) want (or rather NEED) to use permissively-licensed libraries, and (2) thus would be much inclined to release their code under those same permissive terms.

Actually I'm not so sure of that. In my experience, companies don't like to help their competition. My company releases an open source product, and you can bet every bit of code has the GPL3 on it. There's no good reason for BSD licensing anything. We have competitors, why would we help those for free? With the GPL at least if we solve some thorny problem and they take that code, we can then get the improvements to that.

Same goes for me personally. I have no interest in helping a competitor in my free time, and if unemployed I don't want to be working for free for some company earning good profit.

To me, BSD people seem to have mostly an anti-copyright and academic background.

Re:The sad part. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233217)

"In my experience, companies don't like to help their competition"

This is an argument for BSD. BSD doesn't require you to release all changes, GPL does. If you don't want to help your competition, then don't release the changes.

"There's no good reason for BSD licensing anything" should be "For us, [...]" as it sounds like BSD is "never" useful.

People who use BSD source are already encouraged to commit changes upstream, otherwise they will be forced to re-patch every time a change happens.

BSD and GPL are both useful today, but I think BSD is more ideal and practical in the long run. GPL rubs me like a "walled garden" approach. You get full access to everything, but you're still limited to play by their rules. Not to mention, people can't "steal" ideas.

The best society will always be the one with the most freedom.

Re:The sad part. (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232389)

computer code is often easier than its legal counterpart

Ok, the next time I'm having a deadlock situation with more than 10 threads involved, I'm calling my lawyer.

Re:The sad part. (3, Informative)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232699)

computer code is often easier than its legal counterpart

Ok, the next time I'm having a deadlock situation with more than 10 threads involved, I'm calling my lawyer.

I don't think you'll want to wait until a federal court has decided on the ownership of those mutexes. :-)

Re:The sad part. (1)

Qubit (100461) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232863)

computer code is often easier than its legal counterpart

Ok, the next time I'm having a deadlock situation with more than 10 threads involved, I'm calling my lawyer.

About as much fun as dealing with a deadlocked jury?

Re:The sad part. (1)

sydneyfong (410107) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232053)

I don't think any run of the mill lawyer would be able to explain the GPL better than what you'd find on the first page of googling "GPL".

Unless said lawyer regularly deals with software licensing issues, it'd probably take that lawyer more than an hour to read and understand the GPL himself/herself (possibly poorly), before he/she'd be able to explain it back to you.

What you'll get is a warm and fuzzy feeling that you've spoken to a lawyer and got expert legal advice, but in reality it's like asking slashdotters to explain P?=NP (because they're related to computers, right?)... sure there are some people who know what they're saying, but the others simply have no clue.

Re:The sad part. (1)

mpoulton (689851) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232109)

I don't think any run of the mill lawyer would be able to explain the GPL better than what you'd find on the first page of googling "GPL".

Unless said lawyer regularly deals with software licensing issues, it'd probably take that lawyer more than an hour to read and understand the GPL himself/herself (possibly poorly), before he/she'd be able to explain it back to you.

What you'll get is a warm and fuzzy feeling that you've spoken to a lawyer and got expert legal advice, but in reality it's like asking slashdotters to explain P?=NP (because they're related to computers, right?)... sure there are some people who know what they're saying, but the others simply have no clue.

That's why you choose a lawyer who is already familiar with the GPL. Pretty much any lawyer with some technical background has delved into it, even if software licensing isn't their main practice area. And you don't want a lawyer handling software licensing who doesn't have some technical background. Paying for a liberal arts major to learn what libraries and classes are so he can comprehend your work before giving legal advice is probably not a good investment. There are plenty of technically competent lawyers out there who can help.

Re:The sad part. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232113)

You make this sounds like it's a bad thing. The copyleft ideal really is a "greater good at all costs" idea that frees a body of a work from the tyranny of it's own creator. I know this idea doesn't set well with a lot of the libertarian types that hang out here but the gist of it is that:
1. All works, no mater how "original" are in some part (probably mostly) derivative of previous public works and ideas.
2. The value of the work to the public far exceeds the value of you controlling your own works.
3. A copyleft license (Over a BSD style license) grants extra protection not to you as the creator, and not to future programmers that work on the project, but to the public that will benefit from the body of work.

YOU don't put a copyleft license on something because of what YOU want. That's not the point. I know, sounds weird, but some of us are able to recognize something beyond our own wants and desires.

BSD license advocates complain that copyleft licenses like the GPL are anti business. This isn't true. They're only bad for certain business MODELS that the promulgators of copyleft licenses feel are bad for computing as a whole.

Re:The sad part. (1)

philip.paradis (2580427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232545)

You make this sounds like it's a bad thing. The copyleft ideal really is a "greater good at all costs" idea that frees a body of a work from the tyranny of it's own creator.

This is false. In terms of what it actually says and how it's actually applied, the GPL is used as a tool to limit the rights of others using the licensed work, and specifically as an attempt to guarantee ongoing benefits for the creator. Let's look at two example scenarios.

Scenario 1: I create SuperDuperWidget and distribute it under the BSD license. You can use it for your own purposes and freely distribute modifications in source or binary form according to the terms of the license. I can't prevent you from incorporating that version of my code into a commercial product, but I can always change my license later to prohibit such things. You're still protected against my potential "tyranny" with respect to the code you already have.

Scenario 2: I create SuperDuperWidget and distribute it under the GPL. You can use it for your own purposes and distribute modifications in source format under the same terms as the original code, and if you distribute binaries you must offer the modified source available under the terms of the license as well. You cannot otherwise distribute the work.

Which of these examples gives you more freedom to do what you want with the code? Which gives you more latitude in terms of my being able to tell you how to behave? I'm sorry, but in terms of freedom, BSD licensing clearly wins out here. Unless, of course, you want to redefine what "freedom" means.

Re:The sad part. (5, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232749)

The only freedom the GPL restricts is your freedom to restrict the freedom of others.

Re:The sad part. (1)

philip.paradis (2580427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232827)

False. It enforces restriction of the freedom of others. Please reread the post you replied to.

Re:The sad part. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233053)

It enforces restriction of the freedom to enforce further restriction of freedom. That's it. Reading a thousand more times won't change that.

Re:The sad part. (1)

philip.paradis (2580427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233093)

I must say, that sounds like some serious Newspeak. How does that equate to actual freedom? Really, this is starting to sound like a prime example of something the Ministry of Truth would disseminate.

Re:The sad part. (1)

philip.paradis (2580427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233119)

Sorry for the double reply, but I'd also like to point out the fact that code getting incorporated into a closed source project in no way restricts your ability to use the same code that got incorporated. This is the fundamental flaw in your reasoning.

Re:The sad part. (1)

oiron (697563) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232873)

Freedom for down-stream of AC, I'd guess.

Freedom for the receiver of the code or binary (not necessarily the first circle of adopters) to do what they want with it.

Re:The sad part. (3, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233245)

GPL is used as a tool to limit the rights of others

No. That's copyright. The GPL doesn't add any restrictions, it eliminates them, under certain conditions.

Re:The sad part. (4, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232129)

On that note, the GPL is probably the "safer" choice. Releasing GPL code as BSD is simple, oh now you can use the code in proprietary code too. Going from BSD to GPL is trying to put the cat back in the bag, often leading to a fork and drama from those who no longer can/want to use it. If the developer is clueless it's less harmful that people can't use the code the way he intended than that people can use the code in ways he didn't intend. "Oh you want the code under the BSD, here you go" is a lot easier to fix than "OMG WTF you mean Apple and Microsoft can just take my code for nothing now? That's not what I wanted!"

Re:The sad part. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232921)

This. This. A million times this.

Remember... just because something is GPL-licensed, doesn't mean it can't be used on a closed-source proprietary project: it just means that they have to ask you FIRST.

So.. yes, I'd have to agree with you: when in doubt (or if you don't know any better), it's better to use GPL than BSD. If, later on, you see there's demand for BSD-licensing your code, you can act accordingly, if that is your wish.

Re:The sad part. (1)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232131)

I've personally witnessed the opposite happening: a project releasing under the BSD, then getting upset about it being forked and after I talked to one of its developers, it changed to GPLd afterwards.

Yes, people really don't think enough about licensing, but that goes for both those who choose permissive and strict copyleft licenses. People should think for a bit on subjects like "What if my code ends up in every computer on the planet, but I still get nothing from it? Will I be proud to say 'I contributed this bit', or will I be really pissed off?". Some people might choose the first answer, but my general impression is that people on the whole aren't all that altruistic and quite a few would fall into the second. I don't think it does anybody much good to pretend to be more altruistic than they really are.

In my experience at least many people who choose BSD have this IMO weird idea: that despite the permissive licensing, people should still be polite, and treat it as if it was the GPL in some cases. You can take the code, but you should contribute back. You technically can incorporate it into a GPL project, but it pisses them off (probably because the improved code is out there in plain sight, but they still can't use it), so you should be nice and contribute a BSD licensed version back.

The GPL is a more legalistic approach: here are the rules, if you don't like them then go away and write your own code. It also has a few more ways to adjust to the creator's wishes with options like the LGPL and AGPL.

Re:The sad part. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232151)

It's only sad if you want to take that code and put it in a proprietary project. For the rest of us it's a good thing whenever someone doesn't choose BSD.

Re:The sad part. (1)

philip.paradis (2580427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232577)

For the rest of us it's a good thing whenever someone doesn't choose BSD.

How is it a good thing? BSD licensed code going into a proprietary project doesn't limit your access to or right to use the same code.

Re:The sad part. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233099)

Don't you get it? This is a war or team sport (whichever term makes you feel better, they're the same thing). Anything that hurts the "other guys" is good for us. If you refuse to accept this, you're obviously a shill for the "other guys" and cannot be trusted.

(Same goes for politics, and pretty much everything else. Humanity -- we're really a bunch of horrible dicks, and it takes work to rise above it. Work GGP is unwilling to put in, I guess.)

Re:The sad part. (1)

lhunath (1280798) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232159)

Might I point out that this is not a destructive tendency at all? Contrary to if people were to choose much more permissive licenses as the default without understanding them.

At least the author can at any point relicense any of his stuff. If you want to use the code and the license isn't permissive enough, contact the author and see whether he's OK with it. Problem solved.

If the author defaults to a very permissive license, there's no going back. Once the permissively licensed code is out there, it's too late to license it more restrictively later once the author finds out what his license really means.

Re:The sad part. (1)

philip.paradis (2580427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232303)

Might I point out that this is not a destructive tendency at all? Contrary to if people were to choose much more permissive licenses as the default without understanding them.

Given the fact that the free software movement is supposedly all about freedom, I do view that as destructive. I would consider more permissive to equate to better, not worse.

I take issue with those who claim the GPL is all about freedom, when it is clearly a fairly restrictive license when contrasted with some other licenses. To me, freedom means freedom, not "freedom with strings A, B, and C attached."

Re:The sad part. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232327)

To me, freedom means freedom, not "freedom with strings A, B, and C attached."

Exactly.
GPL: If you have the software, you have the freedom to modify it.
Permissive: If you have the software, you have the freedom to modify it, unless it's been re-licensed.

Re:The sad part. (1)

philip.paradis (2580427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232443)

That's not true at all. In both cases, you have permission to modify the code you already have. The differences lie in how/whether you're allowed to distribute the modified work.

I think the FSF might be a bit biased (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232019)

I think the FSF might be a bit biased. Don't you.

Re:I think the FSF might be a bit biased (3, Insightful)

ClickOnThis (137803) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233207)

I think the FSF might be a bit biased. Don't you.

Undobtedly the FSF is biased. That can hardly be disputed. But are they wrong?

Applications vs. Core Libraries and Services (4, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39232023)

While non-copyleft licenses like the Mozilla, Apache, and LGPLv3 are quite popular for core services and libraries, most applications I've used over the years were copyleft/GPL type licenses.

If you're building a core service, you want it used by as many people and projects as possible. But if you're developing a tool, utility, or application, often your concern is more to prevent any one company or individual from seizing that work and selling it as their own product.

Personally I use both LGPLv3 and GPLv3 licenses as a result, because the goals of the different software components are not the same.

Re:Applications vs. Core Libraries and Services (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232703)

Er, two of the three licences you just cited as non-copyleft licences are indeed copyleft. Mozilla's licence is copyleft at the file level, whilst the LGPL was originally known as the Library General Public License because of the level the copyleft works at.

So says the FSF. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39232065)

John Sullivan, the executive director of the Free Software Foundation, claims... a consistent increase of usage of copyleft licenses in relation to the usage of permissive licenses in free software projects over the past few years.

Who would have thought?

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