Posted Sep 20, 2007 15:37 UTC (Thu) by man_ls
In reply to: Fractious BSDers
Parent article: The case of the unwelcome attribution
It is their usual attitude: Linux (and other GPL software) is not really free because you don't have the basic freedom of turning it proprietary. But then when people take their code proprietary (or GPL) they complain loudly. Is it inconsistent? Not really; granting you the freedom to do something doesn't mean you think it is right to actually do it, at least in their view.
In a sense they are right. The GPL does not grant the freedom to go proprietary because of a conscious choice: it is a compromise. I think Stallman's way of thinking is more solid. First define the freedoms you think are desirable, then go for them, and try to avoid unsocial attitudes in the process.
The BSD approach works well for certain kinds of code. You can see the same arguments in Apache land (although they tend to be more polite), and their libraries are usually top quality. In other places it does not work so well, and OpenBSD seems to be one of bad ones.
Let me close this inane message with the inevitable cheap analogy. BSD is like a protestant religion: you are free to do as you wish, even if some actions are frowned upon (and others plainly wrong). GPL takes an approach more similar to Catholicism: it acknowledges human weakness and tries to help us stay away from them, while working with our strengths. And if still you sin, Father Moglen will approach you and let you confess your sins, and repent. While the protestants will condemn you to eternal Hell for having sinned; you have crossed the chasm and there is no way back. Which is indeed what we see in this case.
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