The Industry choice

Stefan Axelsson crap1234 at hotmail.com
Thu Jan 6 12:20:35 CET 2005


Bulba! wrote:
> Nope. IMHO, GPL attempts to achieve the vendor lock-in. For different
> purposes than another well-known vendor, but it still does.
> 
> It's actually even worse: the only thing you can't share  on a
> well-known vendor's platform is the software written by that
> well-known vendor -- you can choose to share or choose not to 
> share whatever you or other people write on this platform. 
> 
> If GPL folks had their way, it would not be possible not to "share"
> _anything_ you create. It is widely acknowledged that GPL
> license has the "viral" aspect of extending itself on your 
> software - can you point to closed-source licenses that would 
> have this aspect? None of the licenses I've read except GPL has 
> this aspect.  

Then you haven't read very many source code licenses, many (perhaps 
most?) that state that if you've as much as looked at the code you're 
not even allowed to write somethings similar twenty years down the line, 
or anything that remotely resembles something similar. (Most do in fact 
go a bit further than that, but the legality would be in question. Still 
it would take you lawyers to get off the hook). Where do you think the 
'clean-room approach' came from in the first place? Furthermore, you're 
most often not allowed to change, disseminate, compile, discuss, etc the 
code but in fact just look at it. (And when it comes to Microsoft's 
binary licenses it's not as rosy as you would like to put it, read 
through them sometime there's a lot more you're not allowed to do than 
just 'share' it with others.)

Can you say NDA? Knew you could.

Now, Stallman might or might not want to achieve world domination, not 
by sharks with lasers on their heads, but by aiming for all software to 
be free software, but the GPL is actually a lot less ambitious than 
that. All the GPL says is that: if you received a binary, the person who 
  provided you with it, must provide you with the source code that built 
it. *All* the source code, not just what he happened to receive, on the 
off chance that he's modified it. And as having the source code without 
being able to modify it would be rather pointless, you're allowed to do 
that too, it's a given. If you don't want to distribute binaries, that's 
fine, and all of the GPL falls. The GPL doesn't *force* you to share 
anything. It only says what must happen if you do.

And I'm rather tired of the GPL's so called 'viral' nature. Look, if 
you're using my code, you play by my rules, that's called copyright. If 
you don't want to play by my rules, fine, don't use my code. So far I'm 
no better than Microsoft, or Sun (though that might change) or IBM for 
that matter. With the GPL I'm actually not as bad as that, I'll even let 
you look at the code, modify it, and distribute copies willy nilly 
(though you I'm not forcing you to), in fact, I'll even *forbid* others 
from taking that right away from you. If you use it, however, as a small 
token of your appreciation, you'll have to also agree to not take the 
same rights you had away from others.

Finally, what *you* do with *your* code is of no concern to the GPL. As 
long as you don't use *my* code you can do whatever you please. But, and 
that's a big 'BUT', it really irks me when people release code under 
e.g. the BSD (or as has happened to me in the past, public domain), and 
then bitch and moan when I incorporate parts of it in *my* software and 
release the whole under the GPL. As if that was somehow 'unfair'. Look, 
(and I'm obviously not saying this to the parent poster as he never 
expressed any such sentiment, I'm just venting) that's what *you* wanted 
when you released the code under that license. If you don't want me to 
do that, then don't use those licenses, mkay.

Stefan,
-- 
Stefan Axelsson  (email at http://www.cs.chalmers.se/~sax)



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