Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 2nd Sep 2009 12:41 UTC, submitted by nitsudima
GNU, GPL, Open Source David Chisnall casts a critical eye over the GNU General Public License and asks whether it's done more harm than good for the Free Software movement. "Looking back, has the GPL been a help, or a hindrance? And will it continue to be a help or hindrance in the future?"
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Mark Williamson
Member since:
2005-07-06

In that case contributting by will instead of by gun point its a lot better.


Yeah, indeed. Contributing "because we have to" just produces unpleasant code dumps that, often as not, don't go *anywhere*.

But the GPL makes the requirements pretty clear upfront, so I don't think it's really "at gunpoint". It's not like companies only ever - or even usually - contribute to GPL projects because they suddenly find they're forced to. Sometimes this does happen. But many successful companies have chosen upfront to become part of the community and are only using the GPL code *because* they're willing to contribute back their code. If they hadn't wanted to do that, they shouldn't / wouldn't have chosen GPL code in the first place.

Using BSD licensed code lets them defer the decision about participating until a later date, lets them be selective about what stuff they do choose to release and possibly requires less compliance worrying from their legal department. So there are certainly advantages to it but, again, I think it's quite debatable whether it's outright *better* for encouraging community participation, even though it has some advantages.

Reply Parent Score: 8

Hiev Member since:
2005-09-27

I don't think so, you contribute to GPL because you are forced or get sued by the FSF, to the BSD you contribute because you want to, not forced.

Some may contribute to the GPL by will also, but is better not to be obligated.

Edited 2009-09-02 15:09 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 0

Mark Williamson Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't think so, you contribute to GPL because you are forced or get sued by the FSF, to the BSD you contribute because you want to, not forced.

Some may contribute to the GPL by will also, but is better not to be obligated.


I think you missed the main point of my post - that many companies use the GPL knowingly and therefore are willing contributors. They weren't forced to use GPL code, they chose to use it because they were willing to release their changes.

Nobody can force somebody to contribute to GPL projects if they haven't used GPL code in the first place. If companies aren't willing contributors to upstream then they shouldn't integrate GPLed code, since it's not best for them or the community.

The point was that companies need to make a choice up front about contributing back to GPL code, since if they don't want to contribute they should not use it at all. With BSD they can decide later on. The BSD way is less effort for the company but doesn't mean they GPL forced them into doing anything, it just requires them to plan ahead if they want to use it.

Plenty of companies are aware of this choice and are happy to make it - they are not being forced into anything if they knew the consequences of working with GPL code in the first place.

Reply Parent Score: 5

l3v1 Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't think so, you contribute to GPL because you are forced


Now that is stupid (sorry, it just is). Who forces you to pick a GPL'd source for your needs? Why don't you just code your own stuff with the licence you wish, or even never publish it? If you still pick someone else's work's results that (s)he chose to GPL, and you know it's under the GPL, and you still choose to use it and modify it, then you can't complain about anyone forcing you to do anything. It was you who willingly chose to adhere (in an optimal case) to the GPL.

Forcing you, right. Geez, my hair starts to go gray.

Reply Parent Score: 6

marafaka Member since:
2006-01-03

Licenses exist because of antisocial pricks like you who don't understand basic principles of conduct. Why would anybody complain about a ready made agreement? Because he'd like to subvert it but has no power. Poossy.

Reply Parent Score: 2