Posted May 23, 2007 6:04 UTC (Wed) by xoddam
In reply to: Google ?
Parent article: A day at the Open Source Business Conference
Moglen is arguing that private development of copylefted software for
public consumption is contrary to the spirit of copyleft, not that it
violates the letter of the GPL.
No-one is raising doubts that Google is in compliance with the GPL. It is
definitely a good Open Source citizen, making major contributions to the
free software ecosystem with Summer of Code, by directly employing key
Linux kernel maintainers, and even with some distinct projects of its own.
But it is also true that Google does a lot of in-house development,
possibly based on GPL code (how would I know?) which is *used* by the
public -- on Google's servers -- but not *released* to us. There isn't
much pressure to release it because most of the Google infrastructure
software is only of interest to people with a large distributed network of
storage servers. There is no doubt that such things as GoogleFS could be
useful to people outside of Google, but now if you want to play with them
you basically have to use them on Google's machines. The most attractive
option is to get Google to hire you.
The Affero Public Licence is something Moglen has developed with the
intention of keeping server software enhancements in the public realm. I
have no idea if this, or other legal measures, have any hope of bringing
Google to heel while the company itself is so magnificently
The public, no matter how freedom-loving, is not going to boycott Google's
services because the source code to the infrastructure is not available
Maybe Eben Moglen would do better appealing to Google's famous non-evil
conscience than sending "stern warnings".
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