wxPython Licence vs GPL

Steven D'Aprano steve at REMOVETHIScyber.com.au
Sat Nov 26 02:30:39 CET 2005

On Thu, 24 Nov 2005 16:00:29 -0500, Mike Meyer wrote:

> I believe in GPL'ed software - I use it regularly. On the other hand,
> I don't believe that it represents the best license to release
> software if the goal is to improve the lot of humanity. The
> restrictions are on "distribution", not on use, 

Why would you want to restrict use?

Perhaps if you wrote an evil program that does evil things, and you wanted
to restrict who can use it. But the best way of dealing with that would be
just to not write the evil program in the first place, which has the
happy side-effect of saving you a lot of time too.

The GPL doesn't restrict distribution. I don't understand where people get
this bizarre view of the GPL from. The GPL *encourages* distribution, by
allowing cost-free redistribution. The only restriction the GPL has is
that it prevents the re-distributor from taking away rights which
were granted to them from the people they redistribute to.

If you don't like that clause, you have two very simple options: don't
redistribute the GPLed software. Or use some other software provided under
a different licence. There is no shortage of developers out there willing
to create new software that can be distributed under whatever licence you

> so it doesn't really
> keep people from using said software commercially. 

Why would you want to stop people using your software commercially? That
seems like a good way of making sure your software languishes in
obscurity. If you did, then obviously the GPL is not the licence you
should be using.

> For instance, one
> or more of your examples may have been worth developing for internal
> use. They then decided there was a profit to be made in distributing
> it commercially, and proceeded to do so because they could.

I don't quite follow you. Are you saying this is a bad thing or a good
thing? Regardless, the GPL allows the commercial redistribution of
software. What makes you think it doesn't?

Perhaps you think that "commercial program" is a synonym for "closed,
hidden, secret source code". If so, I suggest you check the dictionary.

> Without
> the profit motive, they may not have done the extra work involved in
> preparing the IP for distribution and doing the distribution.
> Personally, I release stuff under a BSD-like license, historically
> having included requirements that I be notified of bug fixes, and/or
> that I be given copies of commercial software that included my code.

That would make it NOT a BSD-like licence then.


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