Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 24th Mar 2009 18:02 UTC, submitted by google_ninja
GNU, GPL, Open Source Eric S. Raymond is one of the three big figures in open source, together with Linus Torvalds and Richard Stallman. During a talk for the Long Island Linux User Group, he made some interesting statements about the GPL, namely that the GPL is no longer needed due to the way the open source movement works.
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Free software is movement and philosophy. GPL and few others "constitutions" only describe it. Of course, it gives you some freedoms in cost of some limitations.

Well, it doesn't give me any more freedom than other free licenses. Compare with BSD, for example. I'm still able to use and redistribute freely. So it's not something only the GPL provides. So that argument about freedom for the user being what makes GPL interesting is pure bullshit. GPL only can guarantee that any changes to the code will be available for you to download, study, use and merge with the original source, which is fine. Other than that, I fail to see any real benefit.

So what would happen if some major project changed its license from GPL to say MIT? Would the project be any less free? Would you as a user be any less free? Not at all. What could happen is some player in the industry to use that code to build and sell a product, based on it, like Apple did with FreeBSD code. But look, Apple gave FreeBSD new life in a time where FreeBSD 5 really sucked. So how bad was it?

The only real reason to use GPL is when the developer really doesn't want any other entity to profit from that code without giving back. That's what makes the GPL attractive, and only that. And ESR is right about the current trends. We are moving to a software as a service style of computing. So offloading all that work to the open source community makes a lot of sense.

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