wxPython Licence vs GPL

Ed Jensen ejensen at visi.com
Fri Nov 25 03:34:32 CET 2005

Paul Boddie <paul at boddie.org.uk> wrote:
>> I'm aware of this concern.  I don't think it's justified.  Unless
>> you'd like to point out all those closed, proprietary Python
>> implementations that are destroying civilization as we know it.

> Well, there was some concern voiced at EuroPython that a certain large
> software-patent-lobbying organisation wouldn't release the shiny port
> of Python that they'd done for their mobile telephone products. Now,
> one can either emulate that well-practised foot-stamping routine of
> yours...

Has this seriously harmed the Python community?  Or CPython?  Has it
caused evolution of Python/CPython to stall?  Did it have the
unfortunate consequence of causing any CPython code to become closed
source or proprietary?

Show me the harm done.

> In another recent licensing spat, some people are apparently unhappy
> with one Python-related project's use of the GPL, since the code they
> originally contributed to an older, related project ends up being
> redistributed under the GPL in the former project whereas the latter
> project cannot redistribute the former project's original code without
> putting a GPL licence on the distributed work. Now, if the latter
> project, with its advantage of having come into existence first had
> chosen a GPL-incompatible licence, it's quite possible that they would
> have avoided the situation that some seem to bemoan, but then one has
> to consider the likelihood that people actually do want GPL
> compatibility in their favourite open source projects.

I agree that mixing and matching licenses can be a problem, which is
yet another reason I lament the proliferation of source code licenses.

It's like a whole generation of software developers have become
armchair lawyers, which I find unfortunate.  Think how much farther
along free software could be if all this energy and concern weren't
expended on source code licenses.

> My point about the freeloading was that business understandably likes
> to do it. I don't feel any sympathy for participants in various Apache
> projects that are hugely popular in business, for example, if those
> participants dislike the lack of contributions from those companies
> using their software to make money, because those who founded those
> projects made a conscious licensing decision and that decision defines
> the kind of sharing (or otherwise) around such projects.

I don't feel sorry for them either, and I don't think they feel sorry
for themselves.  And the success of projects like Apache are even more
proof, in my opinion, that heavy handed licenses like the GPL aren't
necessary for the success of free software projects.

> So if you're not personally affected, as you claim, why does it bother
> you?

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.

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