Properties of the GPL leading to wider use
Posted Oct 13, 2008 18:53 UTC (Mon) by Felix.Braun
In reply to: Properties of the GPL leading to wider use
Parent article: LK2008: The values of the Linux community
Good point, that I was propagating the meme myself :-) I should have been more careful :-)
Anyway, my main point is, that what you discribe is not a property of the GPL or even GPL'd software. It's the lazyness of people who shy away of re-inventing the wheel. People who moan that the GPL is viral are just too lazy to do all of the work themselves. They want to base their work on work done by others and claim the end result as their's to do as they whish.
Nothing in the GPL prevents them from doing all the ground work, coming up with their own solutions to age old problems long solved by some other piece of code. Nothing except their own lazyness. That is not bad at all. As we all know the correct mix of lazyness and hubris lies at the heart of all innovation ;-)
However, it strikes me as pretty disingenuous to start whining that all the people how have come before you, whose work you are building on, somehow force you to choose the GPL. The the GPL "infected" your work without your consent. That the GPL is doing something.
In fact, all the GPL does is to pander to a very powerful human trait: lazyness. The GPL allows you to stand on the shoulders of giants, or, more specifically, those giants allow you to use their previous work by means of placing the fruits of that labour under the GPL. You are by no means forced to do that. So if we'd have to label the GPL by some adjective, I'd say it is "seductive" because it attracts lazy people who like to innovate and allows for that lazyness through the exchange of ideas.
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