Shuttleworth: Unity shell will be default desktop in Ubuntu 11.04 (ars technica)
Posted Oct 26, 2010 17:23 UTC (Tue) by rsidd
In reply to: Shuttleworth: Unity shell will be default desktop in Ubuntu 11.04 (ars technica)
Parent article: Shuttleworth: Unity shell will be default desktop in Ubuntu 11.04 (ars technica)
The FSF promises to *never* make their software proprietary.
True, the software will remain free, for their definition of "free". It will never actually be "proprietary" but the licensing can and has become more restrictive: ie, GPLv2 -> GPLv3. Contributors to GCC and other FSF projects have seen their contributions relicensed under GPLv3, because of the "v2 or later" clause that accompanied all FSF GPlv2 projects.
Projects like FreeBSD consider GPLv3 too restrictive, and have refused to include recent versions of GCC into their base.
When you say you trust the FSF completely, you mean the GPLv4, whatever its terms, will be acceptable to you. I trust neither the FSF nor Canonical, but it doesn't really matter to me. Even if Canonical "makes their software proprietary" at a future date, they can't erase the free versions that are already out there and users who are dissatisfied are free to fork. Worst case, it's like the BSD licence and there's nothing wrong with that licence. This is a less likely scenario than the FSF introducing an unsatisfactory GPLv4: because the GPLv4 will still be "free software" by most definitions, the motivation to fork will be less, whereas if Canonical "makes their software proprietary" and the software has any value to others, a fork is pretty much guaranteed.
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