wxPython Licence vs GPL

Ed Jensen ejensen at visi.com
Wed Nov 23 16:34:49 CET 2005

Paul Boddie <paul at boddie.org.uk> wrote:
> That would be "free as in freeloading", right? (And no, I'm not
> intending to start a licensing flame war with that remark, but I think
> it's inappropriate to ignore central licensing concepts such as
> end-user freedoms, and then to make sweeping statements about how
> "free" the GPL is or isn't. If people want to use the GPL as a
> convenient punchbag, I think they have to work a bit harder justifying
> their gym subscription.)

Blame the GPL and FSF for the confusion.

Try this little experiment: Walk up, at random, to 100 people on the
street.  Show them a software CD-ROM -- a game, a word processor,
whatever.  Tell them it's free.  Then ask them what they think that

99 times out of 100, they'll think it means it's free-as-in-beer.
They *won't* think it means they'll get the source code, and the right
to tweak that source code.  They *won't* think it means they have the
right to infinitely redistribute it.

At best, the GPL/FSF engaged in what I consider false advertising.
Free Software (note the capital 'F' and 'S') *isn't*, by the most
widely understood and assumed definition of "free".  They should have
called it "liberated software" or "share and share alike software" or
"free as in herpes" software.  Free Software is certainly not free
software, since it comes heavily encumbered by licensing issues.

The success of things like Python -- which is not GPL licensed, afaik
-- pretty much proves the GPL is unnecessary for the success of free
projects.  The GPL is just some bizarre social agenda being pushed by
some crazies, and a lot of programmers (who are not lawyers) fell for
the hippie nonsense.

So, you may like to bandy around the mildly offensive "free as in
freeloading", but then that gives me the right to refer to GPL'd
software as "free as in pushing my personal social agenda".

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