wxPython Licence vs GPL

Steven D'Aprano steve at REMOVETHIScyber.com.au
Sat Nov 26 14:02:34 CET 2005

On Sat, 26 Nov 2005 04:46:15 -0500, Mike Meyer wrote:

> Steven D'Aprano <steve at REMOVETHIScyber.com.au> writes:
>> But if you *do* redistribute it, then you must live up to conditions in
>> the licence. If you aren't willing to do that, use software with a
>> different licence. 
> That's a restriction on redistribution.

ALL licences make that "restriction". There is no licence that allows you
to distribute the product in contradiction to the terms of the licence.

>> The only restriction is that you can't give those people fewer, weaker
>> rights than you got
> That's a restriction on redistribution.

Well now we're getting somewhere. 

Fine. If you want to take rights away from the people you redistribute
somebody else's software to, then the GPL is not for you.

That's a restriction that actually *increases* freedom, so I don't see it
as a restriction at all -- I see it as something that enables rather than

What you see as a restriction to the GPL is, in my opinion, not
restrictive at all. After all, there are plenty of other software written
under other licences if you prefer. But the GPL's technical restriction
actually increases freedom rather than decreases it, in much the same way
as the Constitution of the USA increases freedom by restricting the laws
which Congress can pass. The framers of the Constitution understood the
ways in which even well-meaning governments could destroy freedom, and
took steps to try to prevent that.

There is something seriously wrong with saying that "the Constitutional
right to free speech is a restrictive law", even if it is technically true
that the Constitution restricts the ability of the government to prohibit
freedom of speech. Describing the GPL as restrictive is much the same.


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