Choosing a free software license
Posted Jun 7, 2007 7:47 UTC (Thu) by hozelda
In reply to: Choosing a free software license
Parent article: A day at the Open Source Business Conference
>> If Apple had used a proprietary UNIX OS (NeXTstep) as the foundation for OS X, porting would have been more difficult. In my mind, wasting developers' time is a far greater crime than selling a mixture of free and proprietary software.
Good BSD code allows proprietary companies to thrive, while good GPL code/competition forces them to join the competition and open up.
I and many that support GPL software absolutely care about not wasting developer time. We also care about not wasting end user's time. This is why we don't see why we should use licenses that help large proprietary companies to thrive, especially in a way where through the very powerful lock-in mechanisms, mixed with closed source, a few such entities eliminate a lot of business (and with it money to support even more FLOSS) for many others and put the end users in shackles, forced to accept inferior products than what they would otherwise have.
If all noncommercial entities benefit from BSD the same as from GPL, but if commercial entities (the competition not the incumbant) benefit more from GPL, then it seems to me that if the noncommercial entities join the commercial companies and adopt GPL, they will do two things to improve their position. One is that they will ultimately help to lead to a situation where there is more FLOSS code available for them (5 items of GPL vs. 1 of BSD, 2 of GPL, and 1 of proprietary (.5 of which reinvents the other .5); 5>3). Two is that they will have insurance so if they leave academia or whatever their nonprofit status is (especially true of students) they are more likely to have an interesting job because no very small number of companies dominate, setting the agenda on their closed systems for everyone else. And of course, I haven't even discussed that these non commercial developers are first and foremost end users, and have friends that are end users but not developers, etc. This is one more reason to help proprietary companies (like Apple) change to a FLOSS model and to make sure there is as much free (both senses of word) software as possible, ie, to add to the pool of good GPL code without adding to the pool of good BSD code.
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