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New Mozilla License

CmdrTaco posted more than 15 years ago | from the words-for-the-legal-types dept.

Netscape 80

An anonymous reader sent us a link to, the new license and the FAQ. FAQ. The new version protects against lawsuits, and now allows code to be released under multiple licenses. The JavaScript interpreter will be released under the NPL and the GPL.

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Multiple licenses mean splits, fights, and worse (1)

mill (1634) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005141)

I see you are still spreading this FUD of yours. GPL isn't depriving commercial developers of the use of the code. It is depriving proprieraty developers.

Btw, which projects have split because of the GPL?


Free software is for EVERYONE and CAN'T be stolen (1)

dillon_rinker (17944) | more than 14 years ago | (#2005142)

Whoever said that the free software community exists to provide software to lazy and greedy people?
The free software comunity exists to provide free software. What the mass of computing humanity chooses to do with it is beside the point. Kind of like free speech. You either give everyone free speech, or you don't have free speech; you can't limit it.

Why should people put hard work into GPL'd software if some company just comes along and steals it
You can't steal free software. It belongs to everyone. If you're concerned about someone "stealing" your work, you could copyright it and hide the source code. :)

If you work for freedom, rest assured that the majority of those who benefit from it will abuse it, take it for granted, and will not appreciate your contribution. That goes for free software just as much as it goes for political and economic freedom.

GPL compatibility (1)

Tim Moore (1808) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005143)

I just hope that they aren't too surprised when someone adds a chunk of GPL code to JavaScript and releases it under the pure GPL and Netscape has no rights to use that code.

It's clear that they recognize that as a risk, but they decided to test it out to see if it happens. Really, why would someone do that?

"I should be allowed to think" -tmbg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2005144)

Whoever said that the free software community exists to provide software to lazy and greedy people? Why should people put hard work into GPL'd software if some company just comes along and steals it, charges for it, and doesn't offer anything in return like source code changes?

Where is the exorcist... (1)

MarkX (716) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005145)

...when you need one? Brett go back to the Infoworld forums where they probably don't want you either.

"I should be allowed to think" -tmbg (1)

Scott Wood (1415) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005146)

The intention behind the GPL is not to deprive people of money, but to prevent proprietary modifications to GPLed code. The money Red Hat makes is not from selling proprietary versions of GPLed software, nor is the money that O'Reilly or the various other entrepreneurs you mentioned.

The GPL also does not eliminate the ablility for companies to produce proprietary software; it simply denies them the ability to incorporate GPLed software into their own. Nobody is forced to GPL their software, so it isn't depriving anyone of an opportunity to make money.

BSD code can't be GPLed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2005147)

Code published under the original Berkeley license cannot be relicensed under the GPL, because it contains a restriction that is not compatible with the GPL: the advertising clause. However, the developers of Linux have conveniently ignored this when they've needed the code.

--Brett Glass

Language evolution (1)

CodeShark (17400) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005148)

Agreement with much of what you said.

Acknowledgement of ignorance as to all of the code in Mozilla -- I just started looking at it three days ago.

It seems like the only place we are different in what we are saying is the matter of completeness: we would both agree that a system library can exist with only one function in it. But how many users would find that library helpful? My point was that a complete system library isn't as easy as the questioner might have thought.

Counterpoints/Questions: to say LiveWire/SSJS (SERVER SIDE JAVA SCRIPT) is not part of the language seems to be a little disingenuous. Most JS books at least deal with it, and a lot of heavy duty SSJS coding is taking place.

You mentioned LiveConnect. I am speaking from a little bit of ignorance here, but until the ElectricFire (check it out on Mozilla, people!) code is operational,the JavaScript hooks are to non-OSS code, right?

Thanks for the replies. I will be looking at the SRPMS and the sample app later. Could you give us an URL/URLs to where JS sits in the Mozilla distribution?

Trying out Mozilla (1)

MarkX (716) | more than 14 years ago | (#2005149)

What is the easiest way to try out Mozilla on Linux? Has anyone made an RPM? I'd like to try it out but I'm sort of busy doing other things.

"I should be allowed to think" -tmbg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#2005150)

"SGI did not"?

Are you talking about Samba? Samba is GPLed...

Stupid question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#2005151)

I had hoped they would take the existing browser and fix it with incremental tweaks. However, my occasional vists to their site have left me thinking that they've essentially started over.

I did grab a copy of the oldest version of the code that they had available, which is presumably the closest to Netscape 4.x. So if they wander too far astray, maybe I or someone else can go back to square one and try a fix rather than a rewrite.

Free software is for EVERYONE and CAN'T be stolen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2005152)

I would call this more of an exception than a limit. Yelling fire in a theater long time ago had a good chance of getting people killed.

As for a comparison of exception to limit, there is a speed limit, but with police escort a driver with an expectant mother is given an exception.

Sean Farley

GPL compatibility (1)

JamesKPolk (13313) | more than 14 years ago | (#2005153)

The combined version would only be covered by the GPL. It could not be included by Netscape in proprietary releases.

I think the point of the thing is that anyone who develops for the Mozilla project should also release their code under MPL, NPL, or one of the two + GPL. without MPL or NPL it won't make it into the project.

VPL - The Vaporware Public License (1)

pohl (872) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005154)

I know it's a matter of opinion, but I would call the work that I've seen "substantial". It would be cool if a good beta came soon, but that doesn't mean that their work has no substance. I'm sure that the average user (i.e. you?) will be serviced when the code is ready -- and, fortunately, no sooner.

Huh? (1)

ralphclark (11346) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005155)

Could someone explain this to me? I tried to read it but I think my brain just melted.

Are they talking about an author's modification being released under both NPL and GPL, or about the whole modified Mozilla package being released under both NPL and GPL?

What does releasing under the two different licences simultaneously mean anyway? In real terms?

Actually... (1)

deepone (554) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005156)

You know a contract is _short_ when it
_doesn't_ need a FAQ... : )

PHP & JavaScript (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2005157)

Wouldn't JavaScript & PHP be a good team?

VPL - The Vaporware Public License (1)

Cassius (9481) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005158)

Still nothing substantial from the Mozilla team...Yawn.

"I should be allowed to think" -tmbg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2005159)

1) The NPL is the GPL, with a couple minor changes.

2) Can you name 3 large projects that split into different branches because of the GPL?

3) "...depriving commercial developers of the use of code." Duh. That's the point. The GPL only shares with those who share back. Don't think of it as "infective", think of it as "policed cooperation". For a fuller discussion, see

The Vaporware Public License AOL conspiracy (1)

SimonK (7722) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005160)

You know this really isn't funny. Someone was telling me the other day how annoying they find free software advocates. When I read paranoid rantings like this directed at people who have not only done you no harm, but done their best to do the right thing, I can see why.

GPL compatibility (1)

dveditz (11090) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005161)

With JavaScript under pure NPL various GPL'd project for which it might prove useful could not use it. (I happen to think that's the GPL's own fault but that's a different flame war.)

Now GPL projects *can* use the engine. With JavaScript in wider use it will also get wider scrutiny and thus more bugfixes and enhancements.

It is possible that those fixes and enhancements could be released GPL only in which case could not use them. That would be pretty selfish considering GPL is supposed to be about sharing code. It also might discourage the Netscape lawyers from allowing other parts of Mozilla to be dual licensed.

Brett Glass, go back to InfoWorld forum (1)

Andy Tai (1884) | more than 14 years ago | (#2005162)

Everyone, please check out Brett Glass's past actions and reputation in the InfoWorld forum run by Nick Petreley. Basically, he will do whatever it takes (even lies) to bash the GPL. For a sample, check out this forum [] and look for Glass's postings.

Brett Glass, please go back to the InfoWorld forum. The people there still worry about you.

Multiple licenses mean splits, fights, and worse (1)

juuri (7678) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005163)

Ergh uh uhm.

Perl is not GPL'd.

Lynx? (1)

Chris Siegler (3170) | more than 14 years ago | (#2005164)

Probably more interesting would be to make a text front end for Mozilla. You could use the code from the old Mozilla that converted HTML to text to get started. I'm sure you could get a lot of help from the mozilla folks (try the netscape.public.mozilla.* newsgroups)

How hard would it be? (1)

sab39 (10510) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005165)

This is amazing. Is this code dual-licensed, or will it be? (hmm... looking at the page it looks more like the current license is "WYSIWYG, YMMV, HAND." :) )

What I really, REALLY want to see is JavaScript hooks so that you can write scripts to access and modify CORBA objects, and Java RMI objects. Then, if GNOME has corba as pervasively as it says it does, the whole of GNOME would instantly become scriptable... and ditto for KDE 2.0 (from what I hear).

This is something that could really hit MS hard, because it's something they're just adding now (scriptability of everything through an object model exposed to VBs"crap"t).


Lynx? (1)

mattc (12417) | more than 14 years ago | (#2005166)

Why? So lynx can have popup geocities spam too? :)

GPL compatibility (1)

gavinhall (33) | more than 14 years ago | (#2005167)

Posted by

> The combined version would only be covered by the
> GPL. It could not be included by Netscape in
> proprietary releases.

While it is _possible_ for people to produce GPL-only derivatives of dually-licensed code, we ( and Netscape) will encourage them not to do so.

In fact, will not accept changes back into the mozilla CVS that are GPL-only; it would complicate our licensing story too much, and it's not the kind of development we want to encourage. Changes that are dually-licensed will be accepted with open arms, of course.

Don't think that we didn't consider the prospect of a GPL-only fork: we certainly spent a lot of time worrying about it, since I and a few others first hatched the plan to release the JS engine under (L)GPL in November of 1997. (Yes, before the Mozilla source release. What a long, strange trip it's been.)

You will note that the FAQ contains a quote from Richard Stallman, exhorting developers to contribute under the dual license as a way of returning Netscape's co-operative gesture. Other GPL luminaries, such as Miguel de Icaza of GNOME, have pledged that they would dual license any contributions to the JavaScript engine, and might even dually license other, non-derived code as a way of encouraging this sort of co-operative licensing.

We hold out Perl as our shining example of how to correctly handle dually-licensed code without the painful and wasteful splitting: you make sure that you have firm, reasonable leadership of development, and manage the source base such that there's no reason to ever split.

People could split the MPL/NPL'd code too, so this may not be as much of a new risk as people think.

Stupid question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2005168)

What is the purpose of the mozilla project? Are they gonna be hacking the mozilla source forever or they eventually plan to release something usable?

GPL compatibility - is a myth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2005169)

Unfortunately *no* other license is surely compatible with the GPL (except LGPL), in fact dual licensing is the only way to achieve this.

The FSF likes to state that the X or newer BSD licenses are compatible, but that's not clear at all. It's just that the FSF doen't object to that notion.
In fact several (European) lawyers have credibly stated that e.g. the X license is incompatible with the GPL, as it does not *explicitly* state that code under this license can be relicensed under GPL. But this is what the GPL demands (art 0.): An *explicit* consent written by the *copyright holder* of the code.
Even if you can basically do what you want with the code, you're not the copyright holder, and you can't add such a statement (i.e. it would be pointless in the eyes of the GPL).

Thus, all GPL code linked to X is illegal.

You could of course use the 'system library exception' of the GPL for X, but the FSF apparently doesn't want to do this, as they would also have to grant this right to Qt, xterms etc. as a consequence...

All in all, the GPL has become a nuisance. A new version is desperately needed.


:(( (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#2005170)

Smbmount....!! Gaaaaaaarghh! Agony...ACK!!

Multiple licenses mean splits, fights, and worse (1)

HoserHead (599) | more than 14 years ago | (#2005171)

The GPL doesn't give you the freedom to make a proprietary program. It, however, gives you the freedom to do pretty much whatever else you wish with the code - as long as you release what you do under the GPL too.

Multiple licenses mean splits, fights, and worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2005172)

It's a bad idea to attempt to allow any of the code to be placed under the GPL. "Infecting" the code with the GPL It runs the risk of splitting the code into branches that are licensed under different licenses, and of depriving commercial developers of the use of code. Bad idea.

--Brett Glass

"I should be allowed to think" -tmbg (1)

Eccles (932) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005173)

>Why should I (hypothetically) provide you with an opportunity to support your family?

Let me put it this way. Suppose you do something, and you have a choice of GPLing it or some other license. Assume for the sake of argument that as far as you can tell, your choice will have no effect on you, including effects on future software available to you. However, choosing a non-GPL license will allow someone else the opportunity to make a living. Which would you choose?

Now, you can certainly make a case that releasing under the GPL makes it more likely that extensions, bug-fixes, etc. will appear also under the GPL, so your motivation for GPL'ing stuff is that. That's perfectly reasonable. What I object to is the "I'm not making money off this, so I'll be damned if anyone else can either" stance. Choose your license based on how it affects you, not on the fear that it might help someone else make money.

Not stolen. Hoarded. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#2005174)

Read for a fuller account, or right here for a synopsis.

If we share with non-sharing individuals, they have a larger universe of software than we do to use and re-use for their purposes (all of ours, plus theirs--which we can't see). And since they are non-sharing, those purposes are by definition selfish.

By excluding non-sharers we have an aggregate universe larger than each of their individual universes. This gives the sharers an advantage thus furthering the cause of freedom.

It sounds paradoxical to promote the cause of freedom by excluding people, but don't think of it as exclusion--think of it as a refused invitation.

re: Stupid question (1)

trey (115202) | more than 14 years ago | (#2005175)

i know how you feel, i get to think this mozilla stuff is a joke myself.
heck there is even a window maker theme called mozilla, yet barely anyone uses it, or can even get it to compile, cause the cvs is always so broken, and who wants to download the source from ftp that hasnt been updated in 3 months. "pFFT."

I'm sorry to hear they're "worried." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#2005176)

They seemed to be all too eager to bash anyone who dared propose any alternative to the GPL -- which they preached as gospel.

They'll even go as far as to call anyone who critiques the GPL a liar -- as you do above. Anything to avoid listening.


He has a point, Joe. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2005177)

It seems as if proponents of the GPL are much more bitter about people not giving their code away for free. This may be because the very creation of the GPL was motivated by animus against those who made money from commercial software.

I think that the GPL's "us vs. them" orientation is counterproductive and hurts us all. We realize the maximum benefit when open source code can be reused for any purpose, commercial or not. This can be shown by looking at the BSDs, BIND, Apache, and similar works. All have greater penetration in their respective areas than Linux. (Note: While Linux currently has more installed units than any of the BSD operating system packages, code from the BSDs is in far more systems than Linux -- for example, in every Windows machine. This shows the advantage of being able to reuse parts of the code in something new.)


so when will Mozilla final be coming out? (1)

EddyGL (15300) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005178)

I welcome someone to correct me. In fact I hope they do.
Just it seems to me, that Mozilla project, isn't about a product, in and of itself. I got the impression, from my ( VERY ) quick look at the MPL, that once Mozilla had nailed the technology down enough, Netscape could "package" Mozilla into a "Netscape 5.0".
Also the MPL would allow other people, to "package" it another way, and distrubute that. Say as KDE or GNOME with a Mozilla core, for HTML rendering.
I just felt that Mozilla itself, as a browser, is more of a demonstrator of the technology, which others could use, and not ment to be a seperate browser product itself.
Did I misunderstand????

so when will Mozilla final be coming out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2005179)

It looks like IE5 will be shipping March 12th or so.

Stupid question (1)

trey (115202) | more than 14 years ago | (#2005180)

man you are smart.

can you feel the sarcasm in the room?

so when will Mozilla final be coming out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2005181)

I was under the impression Mozilla was going to be Netscape 5. Since I got quite a rude response to my question previous to this I'll assume I'll be using IE5 for quite a while before Mozilla ever sees my desktop.

Multiple licenses mean splits, fights, and worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2005182)

Those looking for a free lunch are upset by this.

Maybe or maybe not. I hope this was not an attempt at spreading FUD about people who disagree with your position since not all people are looking for a free lunch.

Playing devil's advocate, I could say those who develop GPL projects are looking to lock in all source code under the GPL. When they can't, they complain that they are not getting their free lunch. Waaaah, RealPlayer G2 is not open source! Waaaah! OTOH, maybe this is true. ;)

Sean Farley

P.S. Before I get flames for the last paragraph, I would like to point out ';)' was included. I don't think all that many people remember what it means anymore.

re: Stupid question (1)

William Wallace (18863) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005183)

Nah, he thinks mozilla is a joke because he's
too stupid to look into further into the site before taking the easy, critical, way out...

sheesh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2005184)

I dunno. Is the FAQ legally binding? If not,
whats the point.....

Smaller than...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2005185)

When you say smaller, do you mean smaller than Opera? Or just NS4.5?

if Opera, then me much impressed :-) Go Mozilla!

Perl's licensing (1)

pohl (872) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005186)

The following is not authoritative, but it's probably more accurate than juuri's claim that Perl is not GPL'd.

The perl distribution contains two files ("Artistic" and "Copying"), each of which is a license for the software. The second file is GPL (v1). You, as a perl user, are allowed to choose the terms under which you redistribute the (possibly modified) perl source. One of these choices that you can make, is to distribute it under the GPL. Perl's dual licensing scheme was probably the inspiration for the recent changes in the NPL.

The Vaporware Public License AOL conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2005187)

You can go out there and download all the latest
code to the rendering engine. I don't think AOL
has any plans to try to make it proprietary again.

sheesh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2005188)

Ya know a contract is long when it needs it's
own FAQ.

Multiple licenses mean splits, fights, and worse (1)

Stiletto (12066) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005189)

I don't usually respond to such obvious trolls, but I think this is why they are allowing multiple licences. If you want to use the GPL version use the GPL version. If you want to use any other version, go ahead. Multiple licenses actually means there will be more people getting along!

Sort of busy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#2005190)

Too busy to use rpmfind?

excuse the typos (1)

CodeShark (17400) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005191)

Java, not Jave. Etc. Missed the preview button again. Flame not, okay? :^)

Disagreeing is OK....such as with Brett Glass? (1)

Andy Tai (1884) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005192)

Remember what you said, and repeat that to YOURSELF.

The problem in the InfoWorld forums seems to be that too many of the regular participants "have religion" and attempt to shout down alternative viewpoints. People should be willing to listen even if they eventually decide that they still disagree.

You know, one Brett Glass is guilty of this. Whenever someone brings up the GPL, he would go banana and attack it without any willingness to accept alternative viewpoints.

Oh, you are Brett Glass, so do it yourself first, in InfoWorld forums and elsewhere.

Brett Glass, go back to InfoWorld forum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2005193)

Funny, if I remember correctly, Brett was more
than just an InfoWorld forum poster, he was also
an InfoWorld writer for a number of years.

While I don't always agree with his opinions
(Like "You should be allowed to have as much carry-on luggage as you want.") His articles
and postings have always shown him to be

"I should be allowed to think" -tmbg (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 14 years ago | (#2005194)

GPL only shares with those who share back

Actually that's not true at all, since a majority of GPL'd software users probably don't ever contribute code to a GPL'd program.

But if you want to base your commercial product on GPL'd software, you have to pay the original authors the licensing fee for doing so -- and that licensing fee is GPL'ing the result. If you don't like that licensing fee, either roll your own or try to make some other licensing arrangements with the original authors. Possible in some cases, not in others.

Like with Perl? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#2005195)

All the different branches of the Linux kernel would be a better example. Perl is not GPL'd.

"I should be allowed to think" -tmbg (1)

Eccles (932) | more than 14 years ago | (#2005196)

>Whoever said that the free software community exists to provide software to lazy and greedy people?

Are you upset that Robert Young of Red Hat is making good money selling GPL'ed software?

Are you upset that Tim O'Reilly is making good money on books about GPL'ed software?

Are you upset that numerous internet entrepeneurs are making good money selling services using GPL'ed software?

Then why are you so upset that someone might make money selling proprietary extensions to your open source code? That person is at least as likely as the others to make open contributions to the tools that help him or her build their extensions.

I note that based on Rob's poll, you can make a reasonable assumption that very few Slashdot'ers have ever had to support a family. Eliminating opportunities for others to make money to support their family is not in and of itself a good thing.

If you think this is a good idea.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#2005197)

...try thinking harder of the repercusions of distributing the same code with two very different licenses. Do you think either would be legally defensible?

Stupid question - You're right! (1)

William Wallace (18863) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005198)

The purpose is obviously just to hack the mozilla
source forever! I mean, seriously, it couldn't possibly be
that rewriting 90% of a piece of software meant to
surf a few protocols and parse a dozen document
types takes longer than a year, right? Surely these
engineers working on this project must be a bunch
of glue-sniffing morons, with nothing better to do
than infinitely hack away on code and listen to
complainers like you.

Vapour, what vapour? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2005199)

What is this vapour of which you speak?

Are you referring to the browser I use every day,
to read silly messages like your's?

If you've got any other 'real' browser for Alpha Linux, speak right up!

Multiple licenses were already possible (1)

armb (5151) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005200)

The author of a piece of code has always been able to release it under multiple licenses.
The new MPL doesn't change that just because it explicitly points out the possibility - the possibility of dual licensing (e.g. with LGPL) was discussed when the first version of the MPL came out.

Lynx? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2005201)

Would it be feasible for Lynx to incorporate the Javascript interpreter?

Making it a standard system lib? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2005202)

How hard would it be for something like the JavaScript intrepreter a standard system library installed by default with most installations? It seems like it would be a "good thing" for this to be available for standard use by many applications, or maybe as a shell for scripts...

Imagine the kickass Beowulf cluster you could.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2005203)

make with this... oh, sorry. Nevermind.

This has been your typical response, Brett... (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005204)

...even when asked serious and (at least AFAICT) well-meaning questions by regular participants on the IWE fora.

Do you wonder, then, why so many of us are having a hard time taking you seriously in the context of open source software licensing discussions?
-Rich (OS/2, Linux, Mac, NT, Solaris, FreeBSD, and OS2200 user in Bloomington MN)

Relicensing X/BSD code is illegal? Probably not so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2005205)

He did not say that the BSD license was at fault.

From the GPL:
0. This License applies to any program or other work which contains a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it may be
distributed under the terms of this General Public License. ...

It appears that the GPL itself makes the requirement that the copyright holder must be the one to allow for distribution under the GPL. IOW, a BSD project cannot be distributed under the GPL due to a requirement from the GPL unless the copyright holder allows for this.

I never realized this restriction existed.

Sean Farley

2nd Law of Thermodynamics (1)

Derek S (19004) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005206)

Yeah, sorry. It occurred to me a few minutes after I posted, but by then it was 3:30am and I was mostly asleep.

I don't really like the idea of putting libraries under the GPL. It's coercive in a way that I normally associate with Microsoft.

GPL accomidates other licenses (1)

Brian Ristuccia (2238) | more than 14 years ago | (#2005207)

The fact that the GPL doesn't accomodate other licenses is disturbing.

You're forgetting that many free software developers are open to relicensing their code under another comparable free software license to help out folks working on other free projects. This happens all the time with XFree86, where authors of GPL'd code relicense portions of their code under the BSD license so they can be used in the X server and X libraries.

Like with Perl? (1)

C.Lee (1190) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005208)

He's confusing the BSD's with Linux....

P.S. (1)

Scott Wood (1415) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005209)

Actually, the Linux TCP/IP stack is not BSD-based, although other parts of the kernel are (several drivers, for instance).

However, do FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD not all ship with gcc? And though it's not the default shell on BSD, bash is quite commonly used on most Unices. There are even ports of bash and other GNU utilities to windoze.

So, in terms of number of users, neither the BSD license nor the GPL have any distinct advantage over the other.

2nd Law of Thermodynamics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2005210)

I definitely see the point of having the kernel and foundation libraries (stuff like glibc and GNOME) under the GPL.

I assume you mean the LGPL rather than the GPL. Once glibc goes under the GPL, only GPL software will exist on Linux.

Sean Farley

Your whole point is invalidated by one statement (1)

sab39 (10510) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005211)

Your claim that "he attempts to claim credit by calling it GNU/Linux after the fact" instantly discredits your whole point.

The only "vital" part of what is commonly known as Linux that is not written as part of the GNU project is the kernel. The kernel is the heart of the system - but how useful is a heart without the rest of the body?

The name "GNU/Linux" is not an attempt to claim credit, but an attempt to have credit given where it is due.

Stuart (not affiliated with the FSF, and I disagree with Stallman on many other issues... but that one is simple fact).

Brett Glass lies here (1)

Andy Tai (1884) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005212)

Brett Glass wrote:

Incidentally, if Richard Stallman has his way, GCC will not be able to be used to write commercial (or even non-GPLed!) products in the future, because its runtime libraries will be released under the GPL rather than the LGPL. See Stallman's remarks at ot-lgpl.html

Brett Glass, you know that RMS said in the article that libraries like libc would not be GPLed. So what you said above is total lies.

Now you are caught lying, what will you do about it? Will you admit your mistakes and apologize, or you will ignore it or just hide?

2nd Law of Thermodynamics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#2005213)

When you share open source code with "non-sharing individuals," you lose nothing.

Don't you?

Let's define a program's success by the number of users. Let's also postulate that a user will choose the program that has the most features (increased stability can be considered a feature).

Now, which program will have the most users? Well, an open source program will have all the features the community adds. The closed source program will have all those features (because of the nature of the open program's license) PLUS any that the closed programmers write.

Clearly someone lost something here.

One rebuttal would be that increased features do not constitute a reason to choose one program over another, but think again. Why do we (here on /.) prefer Linux? More features. Not "features" like ActiveDirectory, but real features like extra filesystems, high reliability and flexibility.

A harder to answer rebuttal notes that a program's success isn't necessarily equal to the number users. All I can say to that is: what else do you use? Higher moral ground?

VPL - The Vaporware Public License (1)

sbuckhopper (12316) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005214)

other from the fact that the got the source code from the browser freed up...

Lynx? (1)

trey (115202) | more than 14 years ago | (#2005215)

why in the world do you think they 'cruise porn sites'?

perfectly legal (1)

JamesKPolk (13313) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005216)

The author of a work can give permission to use as many licenses as he wants. He can also do whatever he wants with his own code. I mean, if I wrote something and released it to the world with the GPL, I could perfectly legally sell it as a compiled binary, without source.

Now, this dual licensing will only work if people who write patches to the javascript stuff license their patches under both the GPL and the N/MPL. Of course, the js maintainers will probably only accept patches which give permission to use both licenses.

addendum (1)

pohl (872) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005217)

I'd like to add that dvdeug's observation about Perl's dual-licensing scheme serves to refute Brett Glass's claim that multiple licenses encourage fragmentation.

GPL compatibility (1)

Tim Moore (1808) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005218)

One of the criticizms of the original MPL and NPL is that you couldn't combine code covered by those licences with GPL-covered code (including just linking to a library). If my reading is correct:

  • You still can't combine GPL'ed and [NM]PL'ed code, but
  • You can combine GPL'ed code with dually-licensed code, but
  • The combined version would only be covered by the GPL. It could not be included by Netscape in proprietary releases.

This seems like a very good thing to me. In particular, it means that GPL'ed code can include code from and link to dually-licensed libraries (like the forthcoming JavaScript library).

How hard would it be? (1)

CodeShark (17400) | more than 15 years ago | (#2005219)

Because the language is still evolving, not as easy as we might hope. Additionally, Javascript has hooks to Jave, which is also still evolving. On the server (LiveWire), platforms continue to gain functionality that LiveWire is supposed to be able to take advantage of.

So, we are talking about a many headed development effort here. However, I do believe that any coders working on an OSS JavaScript Interpreter would do well to keep the development of a standard system library near the top of their design priority list

Number of users as a success criterion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#2005220)

It depends upon how you count the "number of users." If you count the number of users as including users of derived products, both open and closed source, then you will want commercial developers to make use of the code. This, in general, is the philosophy of the developers of BSD-licensed software. As Jordan Hubbard eloquently puts it:

The goals of the FreeBSD Project are to provide software that may be used for any purpose and without strings attached. Many of us have a significant investment in the code (and project) and would certainly not mind a little financial compensation now and then, but we're definitely not prepared to insist on it. We believe that our first and foremost "mission" is to provide code to any and all comers, and for whatever purpose, so that the code gets the widest possible use and provides the widest possible benefit. This is, I believe, one of the most fundamental goals of Free Software and one that we enthusiastically support.

In short, the criterion for success of open source software should be the number of people it benefits overall. These people might be users of open source products, developers writing open source products, or developers writing commercial products, or users of commercial products. The GPL doesn't include the latter two categories, and hence is not beneficial to the largest number of people.

The greatest benefit is realized when the license allows reuse of the code for any purpose, public or private.

By this criterion, the BSD license is much more successful than the GPL, because it does not set itself at odds with commercial developers (and, hence, the users of their products). This is true sharing, with no strings attached. I think it's what we should strive for.


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