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GPL Hindering Two-Way Code Sharing?

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the thank-you-and-goodbye dept.

GNU is Not Unix 456

An anonymous reader writes "KernelTrap has some fascinating coverage of the recent rift between the OpenBSD developers and the Linux kernel developers. Proponents of the GPL defend their license for enforcing that their code can always be shared. However in the current debate the GPL is being added to BSD-licensed code, thereby preventing it from being shared back with the original authors of the code. Thus, a share-and-share-alike license is effectively preventing two-way sharing." We discussed an instance of this one-way effect a few days back.

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BSD (1, Flamebait)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438573)

BSD is a way of giving up control on your code.
Why would anyone trust code on people who cannot even keep on to their own?
It is like lending money to a man who then throws it all across the street.
If i wanted to throw money all around, i would do it myself.
Actually, i would support BSD in a world where there is only GPL and BSD licensed code.
But until that world comes, BSD just hinders freedom.

Re:BSD (3, Insightful)

revengebomber (1080189) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438599)

Exactly. If you don't like people taking your code and not giving back, don't use BSD.

Re:BSD (5, Insightful)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438737)

I've read Theo's rant, and I found the section about not sharing code back to be pretty humorous, considering that's the way the BSD license is written. If you wanted to ensure that code be shared back into your projects, you'd use a copyleft-style license instead of a BSD/MIT-style license, wouldn't you?

I personally prefer the GPL, but I've been around Slashdot for a few years and understand the "more freedom" argument from BSD fans. That "more freedom" is the freedom to relicense or even completely close up the code, returning nothing to the original project.

Why's everyone got their panties in a bunch over something which the license allows? (I also understand the origin of this anger being the removal of the attribution and BSD text from the wireless kernel patch proposed, but it was just proposed, not accepted, and the situation was immediately resolved.)

Re:BSD (3, Insightful)

FigTree (1076935) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438783)

Personally I don't think either one is more free than the other. I think it comes down to the GPL keeping code free and the BSD license keeping people free.

Re:BSD (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438807)

That's kind of what I was trying to get at. The freedom that the BSD folks talk about is the freedom to do virtually anything you want with the code. I find it ironic that there are complaints about code not being shared back in this case.

It's not much different from back when Transgaming first started with Cedega. There were protests from the Wine guys that the code had been taken and nothing was returned. The rational members in the debate were saying "Then why license the code the way you did?" Wine switched to LGPL shortly after that, if I remember correctly. Maybe OpenBSD should do the same if they want to guarantee code sharing.

Re:BSD (1)

nocomment (239368) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438901)

Actually, the true irony is that the GPL was created because they were tired of companies closing their source so they couldn't use it anymore. Now their license is preventing others (the author included if they succeed) from using that same code. Effectively the GPL is locking people out of the code.

Re:BSD (3, Informative)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438945)

When I read the original OpenBSD thread, the author of the driver (originally dual-licensed BSD/GPL) was the one who submitted the GPLed driver to the Linux kernel, so he's not denying himself anything. Additionally, the original BSDed code is still available for anyone to take. No one squirreled that code away. The fork of the BSD/GPL code to a GPL project didn't lock anyone out.

Sure, improvements on the GPL side won't be BSD licensed, but any proprietary company which takes it won't contribute back, either. This is what the BSD license fans call "freedom." "Freedom" here means the ability to do anything you want with the code, including close it up entirely. GPL fans use "Free" tomean that the code stays open. Don't confuse the two.

Re:BSD (2, Insightful)

piojo (995934) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438859)

I've read Theo's rant, and I found the section about not sharing code back to be pretty humorous, considering that's the way the BSD license is written. If you wanted to ensure that code be shared back into your projects, you'd use a copyleft-style license instead of a BSD/MIT-style license, wouldn't you?

Say I just don't like the GPL. Say I don't like the idea of giving a legal ultimatum about how they can use my code--the code that I wrote and want to share. Say I want Microsoft to be able to use it in an operating system, Real to be able to use it in an audio player, etc.

It is still good manners for people that make improvements in my code to send me changes. I helped them, and good people return favors when they can. So why didn't I use the LGPL? Well, that license is just a bit more of a pain, and I want to make people's lives easier. After all, what if the person using my code just needs to make a small change? They shouldn't have to go through the trouble of packaging the source and putting a LGPL notice somewhere in their product where users can see it.

My giving you legal rights to be selfish does not mean you should, and it does not mean I won't rebuke you for it.

Re:BSD (5, Insightful)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438917)

Telling me I can do something and then rebuking me for doing it is kind of a shitty practice, isn't it? If you want me to share code with you, put it in the license. Microsoft and Real won't contribute back, either.

Re:BSD (1)

piojo (995934) | more than 7 years ago | (#20439015)

Telling me I can do something and then rebuking me for doing it is kind of a shitty practice, isn't it?
I'm a little more of a libertarian than most, but I believe people should have rights to do some things that I, personally, believe are wrong. If I'm the only person that can give those rights, I'll do so.

Microsoft and Real won't contribute back, either.
Said Theo de Raadt on the Linux kernel mailing list (yesterday?): When companies have taken our wireless device drivers, many many of them have given changes and fixes back. Some maybe didn't, but that is OK.

So, perhaps not Microsoft and Real, but maybe more than you would expect.

Re:BSD (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 7 years ago | (#20439151)

So its okay for some companies not to do it (e.g. Microsoft) but not okay for other companies (e.g. Red Hat)? Seems like this guy just hates the GPL and is using a situation HE allowed to happen to spread fud about it.

Re:BSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20438969)

When you confuse a license with a eula you make Jesus cry. Why do you hate Jesus so much?

Re:BSD (2, Informative)

nocomment (239368) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438949)

Then you haven't read Theo's rant. When they converted the files to GPL they even deleted the lines at the top that said 'do not remove these lines'. The BSD license does permit use in proprietery code, but does not permit the removal of the copyright notice.

Read these two posts.
1> http://marc.info/?l=openbsd-misc&m=118865605929266 &w=2 [marc.info]
2> http://marc.info/?l=openbsd-misc&m=118865748911976 &w=2 [marc.info]

Re:BSD (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438973)

Before you set yourself upon me, please read my entire post. From the last two line: Why's everyone got their panties in a bunch over something which the license allows? (I also understand the origin of this anger being the removal of the attribution and BSD text from the wireless kernel patch proposed, but it was just proposed, not accepted, and the situation was immediately resolved.)

Re:BSD (1)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 7 years ago | (#20439021)

The BSD license does permit use in proprietery code, but does not permit the removal of the copyright notice.
This is a very important point that alot of other posters to this thread, and the previous Theo thread seem to be completely ignorant of. The BSD license might permit you to use the code in a closed source project, but you have to credit the original author and leave the license intact.

Once a piece of code has been released under a BSD license, and a few people have contributed patches which are also released under a BSD license it becomes very difficult to remove the BSD license as you need everybody's permission who has contributed something.

So before you contribute to this thread, go and read both licenses, otherwise you are just spouting on about something you know nothing about.

http://www.opensource.org/licenses/bsd-license.php [opensource.org]
http://www.opensource.org/licenses/gpl-license.php [opensource.org]

Re:BSD (2, Insightful)

georgeb (472989) | more than 7 years ago | (#20439107)

That's only because Theo, in his latest rant, is conveniently ignoring the fact that the code was dual-licensed, even though he did acknowledge that not too long ago.

Theo's last post stated that dual-licensed code cannot be distributed with only one of the licenses still attached. BSD/GPL dual code, he says, cannot be distributed under the GPL unless you keep it BSD/GPL dual. That's a theory of it's own, which deserves some clinical therapy imho.

Theo's current post deals with the aspect of re-licensing pure BSD code. His theory is that, because the license says you can distribute/copy/modify only if you keep copyright notice and "this" notice intact, this means that you are not allowed to distribute under a different license. I will now prove him wrong.

Here's a file with the BSD clause attached. It's copyrighted to me under the BSD:

------
Copyright (c) 2007 myself
Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this software for any
purpose with or without fee is hereby granted, provided that the above
copyright notice and this permission notice appear in all copies.

Some text that is supposedly copyrightable.
------

Now, say that somebody wants to GPL it. Here's how he would do it:

------
Copyright (c) 2007 myself
This file is distributed under the provisions of the GPLv2 license.
This file is based on work under the following permission notice:
Permission to distribute this file was granted by the following BSD clause:
    > Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this software for any
    > purpose with or without fee is hereby granted, provided that the above
    > copyright notice and this permission notice appear in all copies.
------

What I did was legal: I kept the copyright notice intact, I kept the BSD clause intact. This does _not_ mean that I also kept the distribution license as BSD. Compare the BSD notice with the GPL requirement:

You may convey a work based on the Program, or the modifications to produce it from the Program, in the form of source code under the terms of section 4, provided that you also meet all of these conditions:
  [...]
  c) You must license the entire work, as a whole, under this License to anyone who comes into possession of a copy. [...]

Notice that BSD's requirement is to keep a text attached but does not say anything about keeping the license.
GPL on the other hand explicitly requires that redistribution be done under the GPL.

Re:BSD (1)

temcat (873475) | more than 7 years ago | (#20439181)

But wouldn't your GPL recipients be free to remove that BSD clause? After all, they received your code on the terms of the GPL which does not require keeping that BSD clause, and moreover, prohibits such additional requirements?

Re:BSD (1)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#20439165)

Well, the GPL-using people often portray themselves as friends of the BSD-using people. When a proprietary vendor takes code and gives nothing back, no one expects anything else of them. But you expect more courtesy from people you work with and are allied with on many matters.

More generally, I think the issue is this: Yes, the BSD license allows you to take code and do (more or less) whatever you want with it, including not returning changes. However, that this is possible does not mean it is ethical. BSD licensing people would prefer that you do return code; they just don't want to force you to do that (perhaps since they see such forcing as immoral in and of itself).

Note: I use the GPL for my own FOSS code, personally, so perhaps I have not accurately presented the BSD point of view. BSDers, please correct me if so.

Re:BSD (1)

ForumTroll (900233) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438851)

If you don't like people taking your code and not giving back, don't use BSD.
This pretty much sums up the whole issue.

Re:BSD (2, Insightful)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438627)

But until that world comes, BSD just hinders freedom

So the license that allows the most use of the code hinders freedom?

Re:BSD (1, Insightful)

Solra Bizna (716281) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438739)

So the license that allows the most use of the code hinders freedom?

Yes, in a roundabout and counterintuitive, yet valid, way. GPL code stays "free" no matter what happens to it, whereas BSD code can always be rendered un-free.

Personally, when I want to write free code, I pick either the LGPL or a BSD variant. The GPL is a little too clingy for me.

-:sigma.SB

Re:BSD (1, Insightful)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438759)

Right. It has the same issues as freedom of speech.
BSD is like letting people who hate freedom of speech to talk against it.

Re:BSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20438947)

The usual counter to this idiocy is to point out that there are laws against slavery, or stealing, or mugging, or murder -- and those laws, which RESTRICT our freedom, do in fact ENHANCE our freedom.

I suppose the way to sum it up is: you're an idiot.

Re:BSD (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438733)

Why would anyone trust code on people who cannot even keep on to their own?

Trust them to do what?

Because specific BSD people help us. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20438895)

> Why would anyone trust code on people who cannot even keep on to their own?

I understand your point. Companies like Microsoft encourage BSD style licenses specifically because they know that in the long run it gives them a chance to destroy an hijack free software. Working for the BSD seems like supporting that destruction. However, there are specific "BSD" people who have a long term record of providing Free software. The OpenBSD project and the new X.org projects are examples (though the history of XFree86 and The Open Group's attempt to hijack X [wikipedia.org] show why you should be very careful with releasing code to the BSD license). These specific "BSD" people's positive contribution massively outweighs the damage their "collaberation" with the enemies of freedom does. Their long term commitment so far gives good evidence that they won't hijack code, so small contributions which give them a big benefit are a good idea. Especially (as is the case with WiFi) where the proprietary world already has a separate solution. Further, these people's collaberation is more of the order of the open and fair help the red cross gives to enemy soldiers in times of war. It's something that you have to accept as an outcome of their ethical beliefs and without which you couldn't have the same organisations.

The reason you should help specific BSD projects is that they provide useful software to yourself and people who you are trying to help. Helping them helps everybody. That help outweighs the damage they do by helping people who are trying to fight freedom. It's that simple.

Freedom for WHOM? To do WHAT? (4, Insightful)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 7 years ago | (#20439093)

Honestly, the way some people talk about "Freedom", you'd think it was something you could buy by the wheelbarrow load. Freedom isn't something that exists in and of itself. It only exists in relation to people and activities.

To say that the BSD licence hinders freedom is just insane: it grants close to maximum freedom TO users, developers, and distributors TO DO pretty much whatever they like. v The GPL on the other hand deliberately restricts the freedom of one of those stakeholder groups - the distributors - in order to preserve the freedom of the users and developers in the longer term.

If you say that the GPL licence is more or less free than the BSD licence, all you are really doing is criticising a group of developers for their failure to share your own priorities. That always strikes me as an ugly, intolerant, narrow minded way of thinking.

This whole mess has the stink of FUD about it. There are a lot of people who would like nothing better than to get the GPL devs and the BSD guys together and say "hey, why don't you and them fight?"

I have a suggestion to make: let's disappoint them.

Re:Freedom for WHOM? To do WHAT? (1)

PietjeJantje (917584) | more than 7 years ago | (#20439183)

The more and more I see these trolls attacking BSD with ridiculous redefinitions of freedom, it makes me wonder if these guys are paid by Microsoft or something. It would be a perfect strategy to divide and fracture the open source world. Either way, they must be laughing their asses off.

Re:BSD (1)

Otis_INF (130595) | more than 7 years ago | (#20439147)

Control: yes, copyright: no. The original copyright holder of the BSD code will always have that copyright unless it's signed away by a notarial contract. So if a linux developer writes 2 extra lines in the code and changes the license, the linux developer never gains copyright over the rest under the GPL, that will always be BSD licensed.

Re:BSD (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 7 years ago | (#20439195)

BSD and GPL promote freedom in different ways. BSD maximizes freedom for each developer, GPL maximizes freedom for anyone who likes that developer's work based on GPL code. I prefer BSD's philosophy (by far), but it's ludicrous to say that either license hinders freedom.

Linux is theft? (0, Offtopic)

saskboy (600063) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438575)

This is something that the Linux community doesn't need, because if another open source project starts accusing Linux of using stolen code, us Linux promoters will lose our "moral" highground. Sometimes that's all we have, since we still don't have a marketing machine needed to push Linux into millions of homes.

Re:Linux is theft? (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438643)

This is something that the Linux community doesn't need, because if another open source project starts accusing Linux of using stolen code, us Linux promoters will lose our "moral" highground.
I have to disagree with you on this one, we don't lose our higher moral ground by being accused, we lose it if we actually stole the code to begin with.

Sometimes that's all we have, since we still don't have a marketing machine needed to push Linux into millions of homes.
the whole idea isn't solely to push linux into every computer we can find, the goal is to make things better and the larger adoption of FOSS software should be a nice side benefit.

Re:Linux is theft? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20438743)

I have to disagree with you on this one, we don't lose our higher moral ground by being accused, we lose it if we actually stole the code to begin with.

I guess you've lost the moral high ground then. If you ever had it, that is.

Re:Linux is theft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20438763)

Hey Saskboy,

Take a look at this [ytmnd.com] and then tell me all that crap again.

Re:Linux is theft? (1)

WhiteWolf (95535) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438771)

According to the OBSD Journal here [undeadly.org] from the diffs of the driver in question, found in the ath5k_base.h and ath5k_base.c files:

- * Alternatively, this software may be distributed under the terms of the - * GNU General Public License ("GPL") version 2 as published by the Free - * Software Foundation.

So, as I understand it, the stink is that they're taking drivers that they may distribute under GPL 2 and redistributing under that license. Huh. Ok.

Admittedly, the GPL clause doesn't show in ath5k.h - but only the original authors of the code can say if that was by intent or just an oversight.

It does seem common courtesy would dictate that any bug-fixes / improvements they make also be fed back to the *BSD teams under a license they can use for their project, but calling this theft? This seems like a tempest in a teapot.

You are in a maze (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20438579)

You are in a maze with twisty little passages.
Do you tag this article:
* noshitsherlock
* duh
* wateriswet
* slownewsday
* cowboynealsayalloftheabove

Sigh.

Re:You are in a maze (1)

Yaztromo (655250) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438827)

You are in a maze with twisty little passages.
Do you tag this article:
* noshitsherlock
* duh
* wateriswet
* slownewsday
* cowboynealsayalloftheabove

Sigh.

I keep trying to tag the story with one of those, but every time I do /. tells me that I've been killed by a grue [wikipedia.org] .

Sigh.

Yaz.

The Apple Tree (1, Interesting)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438581)

A parable for software:

There once was a fabulous apple tree. No matter how many apples one would take from it, there were just as many as before! When this was heard by the villagers they all rushed to the apple tree and took apples. But no matter how many they took, there were just as many apples as before. But some of them came and took apples and locked them within a chest, so that none could steal them. And they laughed at the other villagers, saying, "Look, they do not protect their apples. Surely a thief will come and steal them."

Re:The Apple Tree (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20438639)

That's nice, but it doesn't really have anything to do with this situation. Code doesn't grow on trees, and especially not magical, self-replenishing trees.

Re:The Apple Tree (1, Insightful)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438755)

That's nice, but it doesn't really have anything to do with this situation. Code doesn't grow on trees, and especially not magical, self-replenishing trees.

Actually, it has everything to do with the situation. Software is like that apple tree. No matter how many times you copy software, it remains undamaged. So there is no reason to "protect" it with restrictive licenses.

Re:The Apple Tree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20438787)

Actually, it has everything to do with the situation.
Again, no, it does not.

So there is no reason to "protect" it with restrictive licenses.
Do you even know what source code is?

Re:The Apple Tree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20439137)

Again, no, it does not.
Again, yes it does too.

Do you even know what source code is?
Do you?

Thank You (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20439217)

I would like to draw an apple tree and village and print up a wall plaque with that parable, to replace all those "Footprints" ones.

First Post! (-1, Troll)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438583)

It seems to me that if BSD simply going the FSF/GPL party this problem would go away.

BSD was created early and available before linux was really practical.

Since the GPL/GNU/Linus Kernal have gotten together things have been looking up from the slide under BSD towards Microsoft products.

So that's the historic argument, currently trusted computing means there will be less and less total control over hardware. The GPL has taken steps to deal with this, while also freeing phones, routers (WRT54G)and PDAs. So in future BSD will be less successful in preserving freedom then it has been in the past.

It would be nice if the GPL had provisions for seperate running code... oh wait it does, and people still don't use it. Well I wonder why :(

bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20438585)

The Devil eats the Penguin...

How fitting to pick a penguin as symbol for Linux... a bird who wants to fly, but cannot.

For fucks sake, it's forking... (4, Informative)

msimm (580077) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438591)

This is nothing new. Provide a permissive license and expecting everything to be returned to you is contradictory to the very license you've chose. Forking happens all the time, usually around licensing or management issues. So aside from the little dust storm we've seen recently regarding the wifi driver and the copyright clause I don't see how this is news.
The GPL and BSD type licenses coexist perfectly, so long as both parties take the time to understand each other. Which is mostly the way it's happened. Kind of making this a none story.

Re:For fucks sake, it's forking... (0, Troll)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438701)

Provide a permissive license and expecting everything to be returned to you is contradictory to the very license you've chose.

First, it's rude. You don't deny a derivative work to the original author. Second, it's ilelgal. You may not file off someone's license just because you disagree with it. A few Linux developers have demonstrated that they're rude scofflaws.

Re:For fucks sake, it's forking... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20438725)

And third, you're an idiot [slashdot.org] .

Re:For fucks sake, it's forking... (2, Insightful)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438823)

It's not rude.

Is it nice to give back under the BSD? Sure! But not doing so is not rude. They could have used the GPL if wanted it to be given back under the same license. Instead by using BSD they explicitly give you the legal right and moral OK to not give back.

Erasing the copyright info is definitely illegal. No arguments there.

Re:For fucks sake, it's forking... (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438847)

First, it's rude. You don't deny a derivative work to the original author.
It is not rude if the original author explicitly gave you permission to do it. And that's exactly what the BSD license is -- explicit permission to deny any derivative works to the original author.

Second, it's ilelgal. You may not file off someone's license just because you disagree with it.
Hey Don Quixote, nice strawman. Nobody here is 'filing off someone's license' they are strictly obeying the terms and conditions of the license.

Re:For fucks sake, it's forking... (2, Insightful)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 7 years ago | (#20439085)

You're dead wrong about it being "rude" to "deny" derivative work to the original author. That's the whole fucking point of BSD, isn't it? That granting access to ANYONE of the derivative works is not required. This is usually the main (only?) point put forward when arguing that BSD is "more Free" than GPL. People using the GPL to create derivative works owe nothing legally or ethically to the BSD originators that close sourced developers using the same BSD code do not, and to suggest otherwise just because the original authors can look but they can't touch is ridiculous at best.

If Theo de Raadt wants to make the point that people shouldn't be cutting out the original BSD license that is fine, and it should definitely be done. But it's a completely different argument than this whining about "community" and "losing friends." He's just upset because he realized that people can use the BSD code and give away their versions without having to give it back to him, too. For that he's just being a prick.

Re:For fucks sake, it's forking... (1)

josephdrivein (924831) | more than 7 years ago | (#20439153)

First it's not rude, it's exactly what the license allows you to. Second, it's not illegal, as it's allowed.
How can this possibly be insightful?

Re:For fucks sake, it's forking... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20439163)

You know, I was considering using a BSD license for a project until yesterday when I read Theo's latest rant and the reaction from BSD-zealots like you. Now I'm using GPL 3.0.
Just thought you should know that all the trash-talking, threatening and lying is not making you guys more popular.
HAND

Re:For fucks sake, it's forking... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20439091)

The problem is the only real reason these people are forking the BSD code into a GPL license is because they are GPL zealots. They have no other reason to do it, just that they enjoy fucking RMS's back fat.

Re:For fucks sake, it's forking... (2, Insightful)

crayz (1056) | more than 7 years ago | (#20439211)

Maybe the BSD license should be altered to say code can be closed-sourced but not open-sourced without retaining the original BSD license(adding an additional license to the code would probably be fine). Seems like BSD's intent is to allow code to be used anywhere(including closed-source) without the viral effect, and its understandable that taking the code, modifying it, and applying a viral license to it would anger some developers

Simple solution (1)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438597)

Why do they feel obliged to remove the BSD license from the Linux port of the driver? If they just keep it dual-licensed, there isn't a problem. Or did someone issue an edict that Linux kernel code can't be dual-licensed, at some point when I wasn't paying attention?

Re:Simple solution (1)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438679)

It seems to me that some Linux developers want to deny derivative works to the original authors. I guess they think that their not a part of a community, but a members-only club, and damn anyone not using the home team kernel.

Re:Simple solution (5, Interesting)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438767)

Or did someone issue an edict that Linux kernel code can't be dual-licensed, at some point when I wasn't paying attention?

I think the point of the story is the following:
1. Developer A writes some code for OpenBSD (or whatever)
2. Developer B says "that's cool, I wish Linux had that"
3. Developer B ports developer A's code to Linux
4. Developer B then starts improving on A's code

However, developer B doesn't want to release his changes under the BSD license, so the improved version goes out GPL-only. Developer A says "hey, wait, that sucks", because now he can't incorporate those changes back into OpenBSD, which does (I assume) have a policy that all code must be BSD-licensed.

One one hand, it's unfortunate, because OpenBSD loses out. On the other hand, the original author wrote the code knowing that someone could take it and not release changes (for instance, incorporate it into Windows or Mac OS X or SunOS or something like that), and this really isn't all that much different.

So the GPL works as designed then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20438621)

Ehm, that's sort of the point of the GPL, innit? To keep code from being able to become prorietary.

how ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20438629)

Thus, a share-and-share-alike license is effectively preventing two-way sharing."
sounds like a troll to me. GPL- you borrow code you share code right back, BSD- you borrow code well do whatever you want with it including not sharing any of the code back. so which one is less likely to share code again?

Two words! JELLO WRESTLING! (1, Flamebait)

Chas (5144) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438631)

If nothing else, it'll be a bit more entertaining than the stupid little bitchslap contest that's going back and forth now.

Personally, I don't see what the problem is.

If the BSD guys don't like the license provisions placed on them by the GPL then DON'T USE THE GPL CODE IN FUTURE RELEASES OF YOUR TREE!

Plain and simple. It's then up to the GPL code provider to continue retrofitting their patches to your updates, or fork.

And, either way, they need to retain the BSD license notices.

I don't see why one would NOT have a problem with someone taking the code for a commercial product and rendering it binary-only, yet it's such a huge EEEEEVIL "inhuman" (thanks for that useless bit of idiotic irrelevancy Theo) thing for an open-source license to use the code, retain the license for your portions, and place a separate license on theirs.

Remember, BSD doesn't give you complete control over what someone does with your code. It merely tell them that the licensing requirements must be adhered to.

And, as for the mental cripples who think they can use the GPL as a superceding license to virally GPL blocks of BSD code.

BZZZT!

If you want a particular function, app, service, etc to be completely GPL, WRITE THE FUCKING THING YOURSELF!

Stop trying to use the GPL as leverage in stealing code from others. You'd hate it if it were done to you, and is completely anathema to the intent and wording of the GPL. So stop it you lazy bastards.

Re:Two words! JELLO WRESTLING! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20438717)

Thank you for giving everyone a reminder once again what complete pieces of shit GPL loonies are.

The software development is getting sick of the the viral GPL.

Re:Two words! JELLO WRESTLING! (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438835)

Stop trying to use the GPL as leverage in stealing code from others.

Uh oh, developers are using the BSD license in the way that it was intended, somebody call the wambulance.

Divisive BS. (1)

Erris (531066) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438857)

If you want a particular function, app, service, etc to be completely GPL, WRITE THE FUCKING THING YOURSELF!

That might not be so hard with free code sitting in front of you. That's the beauty of free software. As easy as it may be, it's a duplication of effort and it kind of makes the dual licensing look silly.

What exactly is a dual license if the GPL provisions don't apply or have force because of the BSD portion? There's a fundamental difference in licensing philosophy [gnu.org] that can't be ironed out by using both. People who strongly believe in the gpl don't want people using their code the way bsd allows and will never be able to "give back" in any other way than with gpl'd code of their own.

At the same time, what's the big deal with people stripping out the bsd portion? If the bsd people are really OK with the software being distributed as binaries by people who will NEVER give back anything, why would they be so angry at people who will only give them gpl'd code?

It all looks like a tempest in a teapot from lists that have have been played by the usual suspects in Redmond. When someone is an implacable ass [essential.org] , there's often a reason [edge-op.org] .

GPL and BSD people can live and let live. While it might be argued that BSD code can be used directly by the enemies of software freedom, no one would seriously propose that either the BSD or GPL camp would like to eradicate or subjugate the other.

Do the BSD proponents understand "Alternatively" (4, Informative)

gowen (141411) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438635)

Reyk Floeter (et al) [madwifi.org] put the following license on their code:

* Alternatively, this software may be distributed under the terms of the
* GNU General Public License ("GPL") version 2 as published by the Free
* Software Foundation.
If you think adding this to Linux would do anything the code's original authors did not want to happen, you don't understand what "alternatively" means.

Clue: it doesn't mean "as well as".

Re:Do the BSD proponents understand "Alternatively (2, Informative)

gwk (1004182) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438775)

No you idiot the files reyk contributed were never dual licensed.

Re:Do the BSD proponents understand "Alternatively (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20439001)

And the error has been corrected - they will not be GPLed.
(Though there's discussion if they even are copyrightable work)
Seems like you are the idiot.

Re:Do the BSD proponents understand "Alternatively (1)

georgeb (472989) | more than 7 years ago | (#20439161)

I don't have a problem accepting what you just said, but then please tell me who did dual-license them? And was it a legal change?

What do you expect from a bunch of communists? (0, Flamebait)

ZWithaPGGB (608529) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438641)

It's always about how everyone contributes according to their ability, but the Politburo gets according to their greed.

Is anyone surprised at yet more socialist hypocrisy? Socialism is incompatible with human nature, so of course it gets abused.
> I'm no fan of MS, but at least they get that the profit motive is basic human nature. Channeling it, as opposed to denying it, works better. In the latter case, the altruists get abused by those who pretend to play the game, but take control for their own benefit.

What the GPL fans miss is that they are required to dual license the resulting code. That bugs them, because they want a world in which all software has to be GPL. So they ignore the BSD license, on the same basis as corps ignore the GPL "So sue me".

Re:What do you expect from a bunch of communists? (1)

Workaphobia (931620) | more than 7 years ago | (#20439201)

> "What the GPL fans miss is that they are required to dual license the resulting code."

I'm having trouble understanding this part. My understanding was that a dual license means that there are two, totally independent pieces of the same code available to you, under two totally independent terms. It's as if the author had two different source trees available on a server, with two different licenses for their use.

Put it this way: If it were true that derivative works of dual-licensed code must be dual-licensed, what is the point in a BSD+GPL combo? Since BSD is the less restrictive of the two, it would seem that the net effect is exactly the same as having a pure-BSD licensed project. Everyone who received the source would be required to license modifications under the combo, and would be free to redistribute their changes under BSD. Care to enlighten me?

Isn't closing them out the point (4, Insightful)

lordlod (458156) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438651)

Having talked to a few BSD licence fans most of them like the licence because it allows another group to take their code and close it off.

This is exactly what the Kernel and other guys are doing, they are taking the code and putting a GPL header in there, closing it off from the BSD developers.

The only difference here seems to be that because the BSD developers can see the changes and improvements being made they want to include them. Whilst putting the GPL on may be against the spirit of cooperation it seems to me to be exactly the kind of closing off of the code that the BSD developers want to allow.

You're missing the point. (2, Insightful)

Estanislao Martnez (203477) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438995)

Having talked to a few BSD licence fans most of them like the licence because it allows another group to take their code and close it off.

Yes. That's because there are situations where it makes sense that somebody should be able to do that. The argument in this case is that this isn't one of them.

That's the problem with your reasoning. You are accusing people who've released code under the BSD of not having considered the cons of the license. In fact, you can be sure that plenty of them were well aware of the cons from day 1, but simply judged the pros to outweigh them. They've chosen to deal with the cons in question here through argument, appeal to ethics and persuasion, rather than by legal action, which would have costs they deem unacceptable.

Now please stop setting up strawmen.

Re:Isn't closing them out the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20439189)

But this in itself shows the true nature of the GPL; it is not to allow open sharing of code among developers, it is to use developers to create a GNU operating system. By GPLing BSD code, they're making the code less open and less able to share.

Options (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438663)

People release code under the license they like. If you can't abide by the license then you should not use the code. It's not a complex issue, you either play by the rules or you can't use the equipment supplied by the other team. If you don't like their rules you can make your own stuff and set your own rules.

Long story short (0, Troll)

Orthuberra (1145497) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438671)

The BSD crowd is pissed because people abuse the cruddy license they came up with in the first place and want to throw a tantrum at the linux/gpl/fsf/gnu crowd.

What the original author of the code has to say: (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20438685)

Quote Sam Leffler, the original author of the code, in http://uwsg.indiana.edu/hypermail/linux/kernel/070 9.0/0159.html [indiana.edu] (emphasis added by me):

I dual-licensed the code so folks could adopt and use it however they saw fit. As I've said before I don't care what people do with the work I give away so long as they don't claim it's their own.

[...]

I am speaking up as the author of the code that set the dual license in place. I have the definitive say and I have said that any of my code that is dual-licensed can be made gpl only.

Sam


So Theo and the rest of his OpenBSD-Trolls better shut up.

mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20438839)

Theo isn't the author of the code, Sam Leffler is and he said GPL only is ok with him. Theo is suffering a massive case of the "omg ubuntu shipping on dell, I couldn't shut my mouth and lost huge grants and OpenBSD will never be big wawawa wawa".

Just because it was dual licenced under a licence theo happens to use also doesn't mean he speaks for the author of the code.

Re:What the original author of the code has to say (1)

Epsillon (608775) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438937)

Please mod parent up. This seems to be the definitive answer to all of this. Sam has the final say and he's saying that what was done is fine. He (and Atsushi Onoe in the case of the onoe rate control algorithm) hold the copyright to the code and specifically released it dual licence to allow this sort of co-operation.

So, yes, Theo had better shut up. He's damaging the BSD relationship with Linux developers, from whom we get a lot of useful code (think ports).

I'm already seeing "except for GPL" licenses (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438723)

Netrek 2006, for example, has a BSD/MIT style license that says "Do what thou wilt except re-license under a (L)GPL or similarly viral license". The author of that license specifically identifies GPL as reducing the freedoms of the developer, which to be fair I'm inclined to agree with.

Re:I'm already seeing "except for GPL" licenses (5, Insightful)

nurhussein (864532) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438813)

Netrek 2006, for example, has a BSD/MIT style license that says "Do what thou wilt except re-license under a (L)GPL or similarly viral license". The author of that license specifically identifies GPL as reducing the freedoms of the developer, which to be fair I'm inclined to agree with. So, what the author of the license is basically saying is, it's even okay if you re-license the BSD code under an anally-restrictive proprietary license which allows that restrict every kind of freedom for everyone (users and developers included), just as long a those dirty, dirty GNU/hippies don't share the code their way. Because... it's... restrictive sharing in a way that we snobbishly disapprove of! Yeah. Because no sharing at all is better than GPL-style sharing.

Re:I'm already seeing "except for GPL" licenses (3, Insightful)

CowboyBob500 (580695) | more than 7 years ago | (#20439117)

The problem I thnk a lot of people have with the FSF and GPL is that it's moving away from a "this will protect your code whilst allowing others to use it" licence, to a "we have a philosophy about how the software should be used" license. This is why I have removed the "and any later version" clause from my GPL v2 code, and why these restrictions are being placed in other licenses.

It's not that people like me don't want to share the code, just that we don't want to join the Cult of the Gnu either. For it is, almost, turning into a religious issue of whether you swallow the FSF dogma, rather than a practical one of whether you just want other people to benefit from the code.

Bob

Re:I'm already seeing "except for GPL" licenses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20439209)

At least it's a lot less insulting.

BSD is like putting candy out for halloween for people to just take as they come by.

Ideally, everyone will take one and everyone will get candy. (BSD -> BSD)

Sometimes, someone's a bastard and takes all the candy. (Proprietary)

Other times, someone takes all your candy, eggs your house and gives your candy to everyone in your stead without saying anything.. (GPL)

Both ways you end up with no candy, but I think the GPL thieves are much more insulting.

Re:I'm already seeing "except for GPL" licenses (1)

Guido del Confuso (80037) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438863)

I can understand the temptation to license code like that, but it seems to me to be self-defeating, as well as probably unenforceable. After all, if you can do whatever you want except relicense under the GPL, you could relicense it under the traditional BSD license, then relicense that version under the GPL. Unless, of course, the license says that any derivative code, if the source is released, must not be licensed or licensable under the GPL, and must contain this clause. In that case, the license is so similar to the GPL that it defeats the purpose. Effectively, the only difference becomes that modified code under the GPL license must be released under the GPL, whereas modified code under the "No-GPL BSD License", if released, may only be released under the same license. Not much difference, if you ask me.

I think that these developers should take the moral high ground and release under the traditional BSD license. I can sympathize with wanting to stick it to some of the more zealous GPL promoters, but doing this only lowers you to their level.

Re:I'm already seeing "except for GPL" licenses (1)

farkus888 (1103903) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438881)

The GPL only reduces the freedoms of the developer if the code is licensed GPL by someone other than the original author. The original author does get to "do what thou wilt" with their own code. What I got out of Theo's comment was simply that the GPL is rude to people who write and license with BSD/MIT licenses because they can see the improvements made to their original code but they can't touch. [I'm sure they find it equally rude to find their code taken for MS style closed licensing but they can't see that so easily] The GPL requires the courtesy of sharing back to your on terms you are cool with but BSD licensing does not. I think it was perfectly fair for Theo to point out that its a slap in the face for them to add the GPL to BSD code because it seems easy for GPL fans to overlook that courtesy after being used to having it guaranteed in their license.

Re:I'm already seeing "except for GPL" licenses (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438903)

The author of that license specifically identifies GPL as reducing the freedoms of the developer, which to be fair I'm inclined to agree with.
The author of that license would be correct; however, what is not mentioned is that some freedom for the developer is traded off for the guarantee of freedom of the user.

Guys, i dont get the whole discussion. (3, Interesting)

drolli (522659) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438833)

I summrize my view -developer develops code and is kind enough to say that people may use this code in GPL way or in BSD way. -Linux developer derives work fron this code, take away BSD licensing terms, and by that the rights of the people who wanted to use the code and derived works under BSD license. If I, as a developer, for whatever reason, license code under my copyright to somebody, I demand that he agrees with the terms of the licence which I put, because after all I am still the copyright holder. Since GPL and BSD mainly collide in the handling of derivative works in respect to dristributing final products, it would seem to me that only the distributor in the end may chose not to distribute the source code of the device. And since the linux developer cut this right when he removed the license from the file, he is definetly violating the spirit of the dual licensed approach. The dual licensed apporach in nothing else but a "keeping both doors open" policy. While I wont comment on the legal terms i find this behaviour rude. When developing cond in our lab i several times encountered a similar spirit. People who do not honour the idea under which I gave them code which they modified (sometime actually causing work for me). If i give code to anybody it is not an invitation to missionate me into any license

Err, no (1, Offtopic)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438843)

``Proponents of the GPL defend their license for enforcing that their code can always be shared. However in the current debate the GPL is being added to BSD-licensed code, thereby preventing it from being shared back with the original authors of the code. Thus, a share-and-share-alike license is effectively preventing two-way sharing.''

Err, no. What is preventing the two-way sharing is (1) people using the GPL with (portions of) the code in a originally BSD-licensed project, and (2) the people in the original project not being willing to accept the GPL-ed code.

This has much more to do with people being uncooperative than it has with the licenses per se. Taking a project and adding code to it that cannot be distributed under the project's license is not a very friendly thing to do. On the other hand, if the license permits it (as both the BSD license and the GPL do), you have every right to do so.

In the other direction, there is nothing _really_ preventing the original project from using the code that uses the new license. The only thing is that terms of distributions (etc.) of the original project would have to change to be compatible with the new license. I fully understand if the authors of the original project are unwililng to do this. However, "we are unwilling to do X" and "it is impossible to do X" are not the same thing.

Since this discussion (probably) started with the whole saga surrounding the Atheros driver, I would like to point out that that story is a bit more complicated than what I have pointed out above. So please, don't reply to this post with details about the Atheros driver case; that's not what I'm talking about.

9/11 Was an Inside Job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20438875)

and you know it.

a brief FAQ on this controversy (5, Informative)

drabgah (1150633) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438897)

Q: What happened?
A: A contributor of a patch to the linux kernel didn't notice that it contained both dual-licensed and BSD-only code, and posted a diff that GPL'ed the whole thing.

Q: What happened then?
A: Several things. 1) The mistaken (and clearly incorrect) change of license on BSD-only code was rectified. 2) Theo de Raadt leaped upon this golden opportunity to accuse the linux kernel developers of stealing code and eating babies 3) Separate issues of the legal and ethical obligations related to license changes, dual-licensing, proprietary software, and the price of peanuts in Perth were immediately injected in the discussion and a classic internet blizzard of bullshit blanketed the land of free software.

Q: Latest news?
A: Several developers involved have attempted to help the situation by saying they want collaboration and harmony and dual-licensing their code, but these positive efforts have gone mostly unnoticed as everyone on all sides proceeds to get angry and confused. Apparently high intensity behind the scenes consultations with Eben Moglen have resulted in a daring mission to dual license an OS/2 + Novell Netware application stack under GPL 3 as translated into Babylonian Cuneiform, thus simplifying the situation for everyone.

Q: What's the moral of the story?
A: Sometimes, cooperation is harder to achieve than competition, or "the greedy fox gets stuck debugging the rotten oysters".

Yes, but! (4, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438907)

In one sense, the GPL does hinder two-way code sharing. You can't distribute, modify, etc. a project as a whole under the terms of the BSD license if some code in the project is under the GPL. So adding GPL-ed code to a BSD-licensed project does hinder two-way sharing.

However, the fact to the matter is that it is the _BSD_ license that allows you to do this. The BSD license simply does not require you to share your changes.

So, if you are asking yourself why changes aren't being shared back, the answer really is that the original authors (who put their code under the BSD license) said it was OK to use their code without sharing back.

Of course, you can still call into question the behavior of people who take something willingly shared with them and then put up obstacles for sharing back with the original authors.

Stop telling us what everybody already knows. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20439049)

So, if you are asking yourself why changes aren't being shared back, the answer really is that the original authors (who put their code under the BSD license) said it was OK to use their code without sharing back.

They didn't "say it was OK." What they did is something very specific, that you're not acknowledging: they renounced their rights under copyright law to deny others of certain uses of their own work, and to be compensated for infringing uses. The legalese involved here is quite clear, and all parties involved know it.

Authors who release under the GPL are trying to use copyright law to force people who use, distribute and modify GPL licensed works to share the modifications under the same terms. Projects that release under BSD are trying to use informal persuasion and appeal to community values and ethics to get people to release changes under the same license. They also believe that in some cases, it is good that their code can be incorporated into proprietary products. They, however, do not believe in using extremely complicated legalese to try to delimit the two kinds of cases.

Re:Yes, but! (4, Interesting)

An Onerous Coward (222037) | more than 7 years ago | (#20439089)

Here's an analogy for you: Say that I have a magic jellybean, and that magic jellybean can make as many red jellybeans as you like, but only five black ones each day. So I take my magic jellybean to the market, where I see Theo DeRaadt, and try to exchange my magic jellybean for a cow. It has a bit of a limp, but it makes chocolate milk on Thursdays. That's pretty nifty, so I offer him fifty black jellybeans. Then he says he'd also like a date with my sister, and I say, "I have two, and you'd better not mean the married one," and he fires back with, "Hey, you promised this analogy would be relevant to this discussion."

No, Theo, I promised no such thing. Just like nobody promises to share their changes with the BSD team when they take advantage of BSDL'ed code. The BSD'ers say people ought to be able to do what they like with their code. Well, what the GPL'ers would like to do is protect their modifications from being appropriated by people who won't share the code. If they automatically hand their changes back to the BSD folks to distribute as BSD code, then they lose the protections they wanted from the GPL in the first place.

Theo is basically saying, "The Linux people are hypocrites because they say they believe in software freedom but they don't believe in my definition of software freedom." Which is pretty lame.

Everybody seems to have missed the key part of TFA (5, Informative)

Estanislao Martnez (203477) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438933)

The Linux code is being patched to fix the license problem, says TFA. Here's the content of the patch [marc.info] .

Note what the patch is doing, very carefully. The patch is changing the copyright notices on top of the modified files to say that these files are licensed under the GPL, but are also based upon an earlier work licensed under the BSD, and then reproduce the copyright and license statements as required by the original BSD licenses. This makes completely transparent the following things:

  1. The new work is released under the GPL license only. Anybody who uses, modifies or distributes this new work must abide by that license. They don't have any other license to that work.
  2. The new work is based on older work whose authors released under the BSD license, and the authors of the new work received the original under that license. In order for the authors of the new work to comply with the license that allows them to release a derivative of the original work, they reproduce the copyright and license notices of the original. These license notices only apply to the portions of the new work that are taken from the original one.

Try "BSD license hindering code-sharing" (1, Redundant)

ElMiguel (117685) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438943)

It's really this simple: there is no clause in the BSD license to enforce code-sharing. In fact, this is perhaps the major difference between the BSD license and the GPL, and has been often touted as an ethical advantage by many BSD license proponents. Now apparently some of them have decided that they would like to enforce code-sharing after all, but through moaning and name-calling instead of making their demands explicit in the license.

Well, cry me a river. A license is a legal document and if you agree to one without knowing what you're doing, it's no one's fault but your own.

Re:Try "BSD license hindering code-sharing" (1)

dysprosia (661648) | more than 7 years ago | (#20439029)

I don't think the BSD camp is interested in enforcing code sharing, my interpretation of things is that the BSD camp would like some contributions back on an ethical basis. I don't know how that's going to be achieved, whether some Linux people dual-license or whatever, or release some things as BSD targeted for the BSD people to use.

Re:Try "BSD license hindering code-sharing" (1)

ElMiguel (117685) | more than 7 years ago | (#20439105)

I don't think the BSD camp is interested in enforcing code sharing, my interpretation of things is that the BSD camp would like some contributions back on an ethical basis.

So apparently they think it's wrong to demand legally what they believe it's right ethically. Furthermore, they demand other things legally, just not what they actually want. And when it turns out that people outside the BSD camp don't follow that twisted logic, it's time to call them names.

Well, their apparent position makes absolutely no sense to me, so perhaps I'm misrepresenting it. If so, perhaps someone more familiar with it can make me see where I've got it wrong.

BSD is hindering two way sharing. (2, Funny)

Alsee (515537) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438993)

In related news a debate that the BSD is being added to public domain code, thereby preventing it from being shared back with the original authors of the code.

-

It's a problem of attitude... (2, Insightful)

edashofy (265252) | more than 7 years ago | (#20439013)

I'm a big fan of the BSD and BSD-style licenses. I have written a lot of code under the BSD-style license and been happy about it. It has let me apply that code in places where corporate policies are too anal to allow GPL code. The extensions that ARE made are so application-specific that nobody else would want them anyway. However, my code would never have been used at all in these circumstances if it were GPL licenced.

"No, I'm sorry, you can't integrate my small component into your giant proprietary and ITAR-restricted satellite system unless you agree to give away the entire code to your giant ITAR-restricted satellite system to anybody who wants it. But hey, RMS says that freedom is good, so you can do that, right?"

Does the BSD license allow people to make extensions and GPL the base code plus those extensions? Absolutely. Do BSD-style developers, then, have a right to be miffed if this is what happens? It's a hard question.

I think most of the miffed-ness of the situation comes from the attitude of GPL zealots. A basic tenet behind their license is "if you take code then you have to give it back under the same terms under which you got it." A part of their philosophy seems to be "you should not be allowed to benefit from our code without giving back improvements to it." They are the ones who decided on this policy, and they claim a moral (yes, moral) high-ground because of it. But really, they only mean this within the context of their own ideological community. It's really a difference of attitude.

"Hey, thanks for the code; we are going to use it to further our cause of announcing to the world how much better we are than you."

As an analogy, let's say I go up to you and ask for $20 for an art project. You oblige. For my art project, I make up posters around the city that say:

"[YOU] IS A GIANT ASS"

with your face on them, and plaster them around town. Now, you didn't explicitly stipulate I couldn't, and I was certainly within your legal and artistic rights to do what I did. You have no cause to be angry, right?

I remember a documentary I saw once about land mines. They showed a small mine being dismantled by some poor sap whose job it was to go out and dismantle land mines. In it was a Motorola chip. It was probably some terribly generic part like a 555 timer or 4-input NAND gate or something; it's not like Motorola was in the business of making land mines.

Now, if Motorola saw this, do they have a right to be a little miffed? "Ah," say the slashdotters, "Motorola sold their 555-timer on the open market to any buyer, they have no right to be miffed when someone uses it in a device that blows the legs off little children!" Right?

Re:It's a problem of attitude... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20439167)

However, my code would never have been used at all in these circumstances if it were GPL licenced.

If your code were GPL - you have much better business options. You write GPL code - and it is available for anyone who cares.

For the corporations, who like it and who do not like GPL - they just get the code from you code under any license they like for an amount of money you agree or even for free. This is your code, you can do anything you like with it, use any license you like. You can release your code as many times as you like under any license or combination of licenses. This is your code
When you use BSD license - you have no option to demand anything. The corporations just take your code and go away. In such situiations BSD license is good only for such altruists, who are not looking for any monetary compensation.

Thats exactly whats BSD made for (3, Insightful)

Crass Spektakel (4597) | more than 7 years ago | (#20439053)

Thats exactly whats BSD made for. Get everything you like and then throw back into the developers face everything you hate. No need to say thanks. Apple did it, Linux did it, dozends of others do it all day.

Seriously, bragging about this is a sign of total ignorance about the BSD philosophy: Giving away everything without asking for anything. They should feel honored that they are getting ripped like they wanted always to be.

Think of BSD license like citing sources (3, Insightful)

pschmied (5648) | more than 7 years ago | (#20439203)

If you think about the BSD license in terms of an academic citation, it makes more sense.

In the original patch, it appeared that some Linux folk took some code, stripped the BSD copyright notice and put it under a GPL license. Viewed through an academic mindset, it sounds less like "building on existing research" and more like plagiarism. Were they legally entitled to do what they did? I suspect probably so. Still, it seems like bad form not to cite your sources.

-Peter
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