Choosing a free software license
Posted May 24, 2007 17:17 UTC (Thu) by njs
In reply to: Choosing a free software license
Parent article: A day at the Open Source Business Conference
>Or imagine if Apple were unable to use the FreeBSD operating system as a basis for their proprietary UNIX system. They would have used the NeXT kernel and userland instead, spent a lot more time and resources maintaining the codebase, and the resulting Mac OS X would have been of lower quality and more incompatible with the rest of the UNIX family.
Or imagine if Apple were unable to use GCC as a basis for their proprietary compiler system. They would have used EDG or something instead, spent a lot more time and resources maintaining the codebase, and the resulting compiler would have been of lower quality and more incompatible with GCC and other compilers...
Well, except that they actually decided that they didn't want their compiler to be proprietary so badly that they were willing to put in that effort, and now are a major contributor to GCC proper -- so on net, way more people are getting way more benefit than they would have if GCC were under a BSD license, because we all benefit from Apple's code.
Their compiler and kernel are totally different matters, of course, and probably if the only kernels available had been GPL they would still have made the extra effort to keep it proprietary, because it's much more central to their business model. But the point is that you can't just say that BSD licenses provide the greatest good for the greatest number of people; that's only a rule if you look in the short term and ignore system effects.
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