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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Abolishing Misunderstandings
by Luka Woititz on Tue 24th Mar 2009 20:35 UTC
Luka Woititz
Member since:
2009-03-24

Quotation: "Eric S. Raymond is one of the three big figures in open source, together with Linus Torvalds and Richard Stallman."

Mr. Stallman has absolutely nothing to do with the open source initiative. He's an important figure in our free software movement.

Quotation: "Eric S. Raymond questioned whether or not we still need reciprocal licenses like the GPL in a world where abusing open source code by making it closed source is pretty much a death sentence for your company. It's simply never a successful strategy, he argues, and as such, how much sense does it make to have reciprocal licenses like the GPL?"

These statements show, why mr. Raymond is a typical figure in the open source initiative. For him, the proprietary software is just a strategy question; for the free software movement is it a social problem and free software (the GNU GPL license) is the solution for it.

Quotation: "That is why I don't think you really need GPL or a reciprocal licenses anymore. It is attempting to prevent the behavior that the market punishes anyway. He added that the BSD license is a good alternative to the GPL."

Users need and deserve freedom. Someone must defend these freedoms, this is why we need the GPL license.

Reply Score: 4

sbenitezb Member since:
2005-07-22

Users need and deserve freedom. Someone must defend these freedoms, this is why we need the GPL license.


Aha, except the GPL protects the code, not the users of it. Your argument is flawed. If you have software A which is licensed under any license bar GPL like, some company "steals" the code to "close" it and make money of it, tell me, how the hell are you, as a user, less free? The code is still there, not like it vanished after being downloaded by company X to make money of it. You can already and will be able to download, study, modify, run the code without problems at all. It really doesn't matter if a billion companies around the world take the code and use it, as long as you can do it too.

The freedom you are talking about is not your freedom, is the freedom of something material, not of an individual. GPL accounts only for the code, not the programmer or the users. Look carefully: it tells you what you can do with the code, but also what you can't. It's in there, you can't modify it and redistribute the compiled code without also making the changes public. So in fact, you are being restricted, as a user of the code, you are actually, take this, less free.

Reply Parent Score: 3

tziobro Member since:
2009-03-25

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.

Like you are living in free country, but you dont have right to cheat, steal or kill anybody you want. Do you consider those limitations as a drawback?
It is about what is fair or what is not.

How are you going to guarantee those freedoms in other way than limit some other rights? Some rights will always be in contradiction to each other.

Anyway, sometimes it is better to give right to "kill other people".

Reply Parent Score: 1

StaubSaugerNZ Member since:
2007-07-13

"Users need and deserve freedom. Someone must defend these freedoms, this is why we need the GPL license.


Aha, except the GPL protects the code, not the users of it. Your argument is flawed. If you have software A which is licensed under any license bar GPL like, some company "steals" the code to "close" it and make money of it, tell me, how the hell are you, as a user, less free? The code is still there, not like it vanished after being downloaded by company X to make money of it. You can already and will be able to download, study, modify, run the code without problems at all. It really doesn't matter if a billion companies around the world take the code and use it, as long as you can do it too.

The freedom you are talking about is not your freedom, is the freedom of something material, not of an individual. GPL accounts only for the code, not the programmer or the users. Look carefully: it tells you what you can do with the code, but also what you can't. It's in there, you can't modify it and redistribute the compiled code without also making the changes public. So in fact, you are being restricted, as a user of the code, you are actually, take this, less free.
"


As Mr T. would say, "Protecting the code is protecting the users, fool!"

You must be very new to software to not know about historical cases like the Windows NT Kerberos debacle. Taking a standard, extending it, so that other non-NT Kerberos users cannot connect. If the code was open then the original Kerberos folks could modify their stuff with a "compatibility mode". Code was closed though so it was not possible.

Who suffered as a result? sure the Kerberos "codebase" did but more importantly *actual users*. Could that bullsh!t happen with GPL, No Way!

And it is not only Microsoft that have done this. Other companies have tried to do the same thing. Make money off the work of the community (which is both allowed and encouraged) but not giving any modifications back (which is not).

Saying GPL only protects code not users shows how little you understand about both the subject and the shenanigans that have gone on in the past. It is not a matter that companies might exploit

GPL is not anti-capitalist (even if some adherents are). You can make money off GPL software and talented people do. It is against the erection of artifical barriers to preserve inefficiencies and exploitation by those with greater avarice than talent.

Reply Parent Score: 9

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

Mr. Stallman has absolutely nothing to do with the open source initiative. He's an important figure in our free software movement.


"We're NOT the Judean People's League - we're the People's League of Judea!"

Reply Parent Score: 5

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Mr. Stallman has absolutely nothing to do with the open source initiative. He's an important figure in our free software movement. "We're NOT the Judean People's League - we're the People's League of Judea!"


To be fair ... that is not really a valid criticism.

Open source software ~= everyone has permission to read and use the source code.

Free software ~= everyone will always have permission to read and use the source code.

A small difference, perhaps, but nevertheless an important one.

Reply Parent Score: 6