wxPython Licence vs GPL

Steven D'Aprano steve at REMOVETHIScyber.com.au
Sat Nov 26 03:14:07 CET 2005

On Fri, 25 Nov 2005 02:34:32 +0000, Ed Jensen wrote:

> Because I think a lot of well meaning software developers writing free
> software don't performance due diligence to determine the true
> motivation behind, and the chilling effect of, the GPL.

It took me seconds, seconds I say, to open a web browser and google for
"gpl" and discover www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html

And such chilling effects they are too! Why, if I use GPLed software, I'm
forced to, er, um, well actually I'm not forced to do anything if I merely
use GPLed software.

I'm not forced to pay a licence fee. I'm not forced to maintain licences
at great cost to myself. I'm not forced to get their permission before
publishing benchmarks. I'm not forced to open up the rest of my source
code to others. I'm not forced to redistribute the program to others. I'm
not forced to contribute source code back to the developers. I'm not
forced to allow the BSA to audit my software if they ask. I'm not even
forced to send the developers a post card telling them how much I love
their work.

And if I *choose* of my own free will to redistribute that GPLed work, or
a derivative work of such, the only restriction is that I may not take
away rights granted to me from those I redistribute to. I'm not even
forced to give the software away for free -- I am free to charge as much
or as little as I wish, so long as I don't charge extra for the source
code (excepting reasonable distribution costs of shipping extra media).

Such chilling effects. That explains why Linux and other GPLed software
has languished in obscurity over the last decade, while companies like
IBM, Novell and Red Hat have flocked to support the much older
BSD-licenced code.

Yes, no wonder you hate the GPL, with all those chilling effects.


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