GPL doesn't require, but maintenance kills you
Posted Oct 21, 2009 15:00 UTC (Wed) by dwheeler
In reply to: KS2009: How Google uses Linux
Parent article: KS2009: How Google uses Linux
Correct, the GPL doesn't require the release of this internal source code. However, the GPL does have an effect (by intent): Google cannot take the GPL'ed program, modify it, and sell the result as a proprietary program. Thus, what Google is doing is almost certainly wasting its own resources, by trying to do its own parallel maintenance. They could probably save a lot of money and time by working with the kernel developers; it's a short-term cost for long-term gain. And as a side-effect, doing so would help all other kernel users.
There's probably some stuff that will stay Google-only, but if they worked to halve it, they'd probably save far more than half their money.
Google can do this, in spite of its long-term inefficiencies, because they have a lot of money... but that doesn't mean it's the best choice for them or anyone else.
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