Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 23rd Mar 2007 17:49 UTC, submitted by anonymous
GNU, GPL, Open Source Bruce Perens writes: "There's been a lot of talk about GPL version 3: whether it goes too far to be acceptable to business, whether the Linux kernel developers will ever switch to it, whether our community will fork or undergo unrest over it. Much of that talk is based on a poor understanding of the GPL3 terms, and with release of the new license imminent, it's time to clear that up."
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Let me get this straight: Your parent poster wanted an answer to this question:

What, they didn't read the license terms before modifying GPL software? Name one instance of "tricking" companies/progammers.

Your answers (in the order of appearances) were:
All the contributors to Linux (including Linus Torvalds, who originally used a superior license);

As this is sometimes a little bit difficult to understand for some folks, I will try to word it very carefully, to avoid confusion:

To my knowledge, both under the original ("superior") license and under the GPL, the author (e.g. the Linux kernel dev) remains the holder of copyright for his/hers contribution, as it is not transfered/assigned to one single entity. If anybody of those folks contributing under the original ("superior"? it was basically already compatible with the GNU GPL despite an additional "no commercial redistribution" clause) license got "tricked", they must have somehow not read the change logs[1]:

The Linux copyright will change: I've had a couple of requests to make it compatible with the GNU copyleft, removing the "you may not distribute it for money" condition. I agree. I propose that the copyright be changed so that it confirms to GNU - pending approval of the persons who have helped write code. I assume this is going to be no problem for anybody: If you have grievances ("I wrote that code assuming the copyright would stay the same") mail me. Otherwise The GNU copyleft takes effect as of the first of February. If you do not know the gist of the GNU copyright - read it. (emphasis mine)

I was no regular on the kernel mailing lists back then, but it took me 1s to dig it out via google.

As with the rest of your examples:
all supporters of the Mozilla Foundation; Sun Microsystems, who lost their office suite and soon will lose Java to ignorant bandwagon-happy middle management; et multiple cetera.

I'm a little bit confused by your arguments. In some posts, you say, that large companies (like Sun) betray programmers and developers by making money from their hard earned yet unpayed work without telling them before. I have asked you to provide testimonials of actual, real-world developers that have had this problem and I'm still waiting.

Then, you say, that Sun has lost its Office Suite because of (I guess?) You are aware, that, although is no longer dual licensed (by request/initiative of Sun, btw.), they still can link their proprietary StarOffice suite against the LGPL licensed libs, yes? Could you please tell me what I am missing? Either Sun has lost its Office Suite, or it squeezes the life force out of an army of basement programmers (personally, I'm a big fan of the third possiblity, that says that neither is true: Sun has helped the FOSS community by opening up the sources for StarOffice, helps in the ongoing development process instead of being the sole developer of its own product and benefits due to the LGPL from the results. No one gets squeezed out), as you can't have it both ways.

Furthermore, I would like to add that most larger FOSS
projects (the Linux kernel is a notable exception) require the assignment of copyright to a single entity to simplify the process of switching the license for
the whole project. Some projects offer an irrevocable,
royalty free license back to the author, others have found different ways to keep the developers happy. But
I have so far not found a FOSS project, that does not state crystal clearly what the terms of the license (or a required copyright assignment) where and "tricked" the developers. As with the individual developer testimonails before, I'm still waiting for a concrete example from your side.

I suggest, you try to apply similar thoughts on your other examples (would there even be a IE7 without the
pressure of Firefox / Seamonkey / KHTML? Can somebody
rip of SUN over Java?)

Said contributors could have got a job instead of working for free, and said companies could be doing much better commercially.

I won't hold you back from your success in the proprietary software business any longer by engaging you into long discussions, I promise that. As hearsay goes, The SCO Group is laying of technical personal and is staffing up their business / lawyer teams, perhaps you can help them to turn around their proprietary software business to finally compete against IBM and the likes.

Instead, they fell for the siren song of open-source, and they're paying the price for it.

Well, given that Netscape was pretty much dead in the water (browser war lost, AOL drastically reduced its investments in the browser development and finally went for IE to base its AOL Browser on, you know) I would say the Mozilla Foundation is for example doing quite well, even for a non-profit. I don't hear doom and gloom from RedHat, IBM and Sun either, but I forgot, these are the ones, that squeeze out the blood from innocent programmers, my fault. Furthermore, I have always lived under the impression, that in a true free, capitalistic socienty, everybody is free to make his/hers own mistakes, may they be caused by sirens or not. If you are of course a follower of a more
centralised, non-capitalistic and - err "non-free" approach, your statement makes absolutely sense. Otherwise not.


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