Choosing an open source license (NewsForge)
Posted Jul 27, 2004 21:34 UTC (Tue) by khim
In reply to: Choosing an open source license (NewsForge)
Parent article: Choosing an open source license (NewsForge)
Oooh... not again...
If you'll count "freedoms" then GPL is actually offer one very important freedom to use: ability to combine.
Basically both BSD and GPL encourage forks - and that's good things in short term. It's good to see Inkscape go in different direction from Sodipodi and it's good to have FreeBSD/NetBSD/OpenBSD diversity.
But! Over time with BSD-originated code all you can see are endless forks and branches - very few large-scale fusions. The only way to fuse something is to induce large scale riot when X/MIT (or BSD) license freedom is used (think about X11R6 and later XFree86 history if you need sample). With GPL fusions are trivial: when it's feasible to fuse/or borrow code you are always free to do so - no need for large-scale campaigns or active license patrols (yes, you always need to check code you fuse borrow but with BSD-originated projects you also need to track changes in licenses and act not when you really need to fuse/change something but way in advance - when this or that subtle change in licensing makes future fusions impossible.
So balanse is following:
BSD: the end user gets "right to screw" - executed countless times and almost always with disastrous results (X11R6, Xfree86, countless local *BSD dialects without support and wirthout sources, routers with forever unpatched security holes and so on; sometimes a lot of pressure from end-users prevented wide-spread harm, sometimes not)
GPL: the end user gets "right to combine" - executed countless times as well and always with good results for end user since even if end-user is not active programmer there are others who can do programming for him (Sveasoft's ROM for WRT54G, a lot of different ROMs for Zaurus and so on)
So with X/MIT (or BSD) you exchange valuable (for end-user) right for other right - mostly useless for end-user (who, after all, is end user and not interested in software reselling) and usefull really only for quick bucks of middleman...
Now please explain to me once more how exchange of valuable freedom with other useless one gave me more freedom as result. I can not see how but may be it's just me?
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