Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 1st Jun 2012 23:56 UTC, submitted by Modafinil
GNU, GPL, Open Source "The Samba Team and seven kernel hackers have come together with Software Freedom Conservancy to help efforts to ensure compliance with the GPL by those who implement Linux and other GPL software. Richard Hillesley talked to Bradley Kuhn of Software Freedom Conservancy, Jeremy Allison of Samba, and Matthew Garrett, who works in his spare time with the GPL Compliance Project for Linux Developers."
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What a waste of time....
by obsidian on Sat 2nd Jun 2012 07:35 UTC
obsidian
Member since:
2007-05-12

As a wonderful line on the unlicense.org website says - "Life's too short - let's get back to coding."

I wonder if the world would have been worse-off if Linux and gcc had been released as "public domain".
Anyone think so? I don't.

The software would still be out there (just as SQLite is - the best-known PD software). Has SQLite suffered from being PD? No, it hasn't. It is used in a huge number of products, and in many of those products it is used BECAUSE it is PD. (Because it is good as well, but anyway...)

The reason I really like PD software is because it is the ultimate in freedom. Do what you want with it.
Use it as-is. Fork it and make a GPL/BSD/MIT-licensed version. Include it with any other software.
Most important of all, IMO - **learn** from it, and you don't need to worry about then including what you have learned in your own software.

Last but not least, PD software comes with **no egos**. The vast majority of users of it will "do the right thing" anyway, and acknowledge the authors, but there is no requirement to do so.

PD software really is the ultimate in both generosity and freedom.

"Free" Software Foundation? I don't think so.
"Free" as in "no cost, but you'd better follow these rules or we will send the GPL squad after you."

Edited 2012-06-02 07:47 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Johann Chua Member since:
2005-07-22

Considering that free software offers you the use of copyrighted code with more rights than standard copyright allows, following a distribution license is a reasonable expectation.

Otherwise, you can, I don't know, write your own damn code. Must be pretty easy if so many people are willing to give it away as public domain, right?

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: What a waste of time....
by JAlexoid on Sat 2nd Jun 2012 17:35 in reply to "What a waste of time.... "
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

I wonder if the world would have been worse-off if Linux and gcc had been released as "public domain".


If there was something else to assure the giant companies that their competitors will not be able to use their work without releasing their own modifications, then yes.

Otherwise, don't even think that the likes of Oracle and IBM would shy away from creating a closed fork. Oracle already closed off Solaris - that is a fact.

Reply Parent Score: 4

MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Well, so what? They can have their closed fork. Anyone else can create a free fork and the original creator can continue his own version.

That's what you get if you make it public domain. If that's now what you want then just don't, make is closed and sell it. GPL, BSD, whatever it.

In the old days there was lots of public domain software. Demos, games, serious software. A lot of high quality stuff.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: What a waste of time....
by _xmv on Sat 2nd Jun 2012 18:46 in reply to "What a waste of time.... "
_xmv Member since:
2008-12-09

It's easy to rewrite history, but it's also SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO highly likely that if that were the case there would be no linux today.
there might even not be a webkit, and many others.

While theres a HUGE wave of FUD against the GPL those days, because the bay area figured they make money more easily off BSD licenses and other permissive licenses, everyone who joined Linux joined it for the goddamn GPL, that is, back in the days. (now that linux is big you join it for various reasons).

You know, BSD *was* already there in various forms and the kernel(s) more advanced than Linux (which had, well, nothing).

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: What a waste of time....
by darknexus on Sat 2nd Jun 2012 19:08 in reply to "What a waste of time.... "
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

As a wonderful line on the unlicense.org website says - "Life's too short - let's get back to coding."

I wonder if the world would have been worse-off if Linux and gcc had been released as "public domain".


I couldn't agree more. I've never cared for the GPL, and have always considered it akin to forced communism. Sure, you may be free to redistribute the software all you want, but when it comes to actually developing with it, you're not nearly so free when considering the possibility of using GPL'd code or libraries. The FSF is as hypocritical as the US government when talking about freedom. What they both mean is, sure you're free to do what you want as long as you obey our rules. They allow you a limited subset of freedom which, to my mind, is not freedom at all.
To those who say that companies like Oracle could've taken a public domain Linux or GCC and made it proprietary: you're absolutely right. They would be free to do that, just as the original developers would be free to maintain their own open source version. In the end, everyone would have been better off and, if the proprietary Linux worked better (say by having a stable driver interface), that might have created a reason for the open source developers to strive for improvement in that area. Competition drives innovation, pure and simple.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Valhalla Member since:
2006-01-24

They would be free to do that, just as the original developers would be free to maintain their own open source version. In the end, everyone would have been better off and,

How so? You realise that the reason so many companies are collaboratively developing Linux is because they are legally bound to share all their enhancements with eachother if they want to be able to distribute them.

If that was not the case then there would be a large incentive for these companies to keep their enhancements proprietary so as to gain a competitive edge on the others, which would result in the companies only submitting enhancements which they felt would give them no competive benefits if kept to themselves, thus hampering the overall progress of the project.

if the proprietary Linux worked better (say by having a stable driver interface), that might have created a reason for the open source developers to strive for improvement in that area.

The reason the Linux devs doesn't make it easy to keep proprietary out of tree drivers is because they want to enforce the creation of open source in-tree drivers.

This has in turn had a great impact on the availability of open source drivers as many companies find it's much easier to simply submit either a open driver or the necessary specs to make one instead of maintaining their own out-of-tree proprietary driver.

This also benefits other systems than Linux as these open source drivers are often dual-licenced and in the case they are not it's much easier to reverse-engineer from full driver source code than it is from black box hardware.

Looking past the driver interface, if the 'proprietary Linux' did things better and the 'open Linux' wanted those enhancements they would then have to duplicate those efforts, how can you see this as an improvement on what we have now, where thanks to the GPL these enhancements directly make their way into the project without any need for duplicated effort?

Competition drives innovation, pure and simple.

There's really no competition when one of the participants can take anything the other does and not have to give anything back themselves.

FreeBSD has turned out to be so much better as a desktop system since Apple decided to use it as part of their OSX?

Reply Parent Score: 4

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

I've never cared for the GPL, and have always considered it akin to forced communism.


Unless you're forced to use GPL without having incorporated GPL into your code, it is NOT forced communism. You are FREE to not choose GPL.

Sure, you may be free to redistribute the software all you want, but when it comes to actually developing with it, you're not nearly so free when considering the possibility of using GPL'd code or libraries.


You're free not to use GPL libraries. This criticism I see all the time is just people complaining that they're not allowed to use other people's code without conditions.

Well guess what, normally, you'd have to BUY such code or write your own.

The FSF is as hypocritical as the US government when talking about freedom. What they both mean is, sure you're free to do what you want as long as you obey our rules. They allow you a limited subset of freedom which, to my mind, is not freedom at all.


The FSF never claims to be about "total freedom". The FSF, the GPL especially, is about SUSTAINED freedom and a pragmatic freedom. Read up on philosophy some time and learn about the actual effects of total freedom.

To those who say that companies like Oracle could've taken a public domain Linux or GCC and made it proprietary: you're absolutely right. They would be free to do that, just as the original developers would be free to maintain their own open source version.


Companies like Oracle would then be free to continue leeching off the efforts of the original developers without giving anything back.

In the end, everyone would have been better off and, if the proprietary Linux worked better (say by having a stable driver interface), that might have created a reason for the open source developers to strive for improvement in that area. Competition drives innovation, pure and simple.


Please explain the lack of drivers for the BSDs compared to Linux.

Linux isn't in competition with anything. Competition does not drive innovation in open source because money is not what is needed to survive.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: What a waste of time....
by Valhalla on Sat 2nd Jun 2012 20:38 in reply to "What a waste of time.... "
Valhalla Member since:
2006-01-24

Has SQLite suffered from being PD?

Has Linux, GCC, Git, Samba, Qemu, VirtualBox, FFmpeg, x264, Blender, MPlayer, Gimp, Inkscape etc etc suffered from being GPL licenced?

The existance of GPL has no bearing on it's how widespread it has become, it's people choosing to use it which made it the most used open source licence in the world.

Now if GPL hadn't existed then another similar licence would have since it obviously fills a need. If no one wanted to use GPL then it would have faded into obscurity like so many other licences which practically no one wants.

And before you attribute this to the 'viral' nature of the licence, realise that in order for this to have any impact there needs to be alot of code out there written and licenced as GPL which alot of people want to use and also that they find the licence terms acceptable.

At the end of the day it's a choice the coder makes for his/her code: 'under which terms will I allow someone else to use my code?'

Some people say to use my code you give me cold hard cash, some say to use my code you must publish any code you distribute it with, some say to use my code you must publish any changes made to my code you distribute, some say to use my code you must keep the copyright attribution intact.

There is no right or wrong, there are simply preferences which in turn can (and I'd wager often does) change depending on the type of code in question.

Personally I think BSD/MIT style licences are the best choice for component/framework style code while GPL is best suited for large collaborative projects.

But that is just my preference. It's up to the creator/owner of the code to set the terms and I can choose to accept them or simply walk away.

Obviously alot of people find the GPL licence acceptable as it is so widespread in use and also alot of people sees it as their licence of choice as so many licence their non-derivative code as GPL.


Most important of all, IMO - **learn** from it, and you don't need to worry about then including what you have learned in your own software.

You can learn from GPL/BSD/MIT source code aswell, just not copy it verbatim.

Reply Parent Score: 5