Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 21st Apr 2012 19:25 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source "A new analysis of licensing data shows that not only is use of the GPL and other copyleft licenses continuing to decline, but the rate of disuse is actually accelerating." This shouldn't be surprising. The GPL is complex, and I honestly don't blame both individuals and companies opting for simpler, more straightforward licenses like BSD or MIT-like licenses.
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RE[3]: Complexity?
by s-peter on Sat 21st Apr 2012 23:57 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Complexity?"
s-peter
Member since:
2006-01-29

Would the Linux kernel exist today without the GPL and the friendly ecosystem around the code that it helped build?

I doubt so.


As BeamishBoy has mentioned, it wouldn't exist if it was released with GPLv3. Furthermore, due to the complexity of the GPL, it is debatable how it applies to binary kernel modules. [1] Currently, using binary kernel modules is allowed, even though according to different interpretations of the GPL, some or all should be disallowed. If the strictest interpretation of GPL would be applied, the Linux ecosystem would be much more limited. So actually part of the popularity of Linux is attributable to the fact that the Linux authors decided not to strictly apply the limitations of the GPL. (Ironically, strictly enforcing the GPL, or moving it to GPL3 would cause greater adoption of, and more contributions to BSD kernels.) Thus, the Linux kernel is more of an example of what a mess living with the GPL is, than how great the GPL is.


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_kernel#Loadable_kernel_modules_a...

Edit: typo.

Edited 2012-04-21 23:58 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[4]: Complexity?
by kwan_e on Sun 22nd Apr 2012 00:26 in reply to "RE[3]: Complexity?"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

The thing about licenses is that people are free to choose which license to use. You don't like the license? Don't use the license or any project that uses it. Simple.

Don't get on BSD's case for having an ideological freedom.

Certainly don't get on GPL's case for not being selfless. GPL is not a charity and was never intended as such. It's a pragmatic license for a pragmatic kind of freedom, acknowledging the fact that people like to be paid for their efforts (mostly in code and testing), and that freedom needs to be self-sustaining.

Like it or not, freedom is complex because life is complex.

Reply Parent Score: 11

RE[4]: Complexity?
by kwan_e on Sun 22nd Apr 2012 00:39 in reply to "RE[3]: Complexity?"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

Thus, the Linux kernel is more of an example of what a mess living with the GPL is, than how great the GPL is.


It's strange because Linus Torvalds himself made the choice to use GPL (v2), not because it was a popular license but because he liked the conditions in the license. He recognized the importance of reciprocated sharing.

Whatever you think about later developments in the GPL, the main feature of GPL (and the Creative Commons equivalent) is the reciprocation aspect.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisoner%27s_dilemma#Strategy_for_...

The Tit-for-tat strategy is proven to be the best strategy for the Prisoner's Dilemma, after all.

Reply Parent Score: 6