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."
Thread beginning with comment 520519
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE[4]: What a waste of time....
by kwan_e on Sun 3rd Jun 2012 04:47 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: What a waste of time.... "
kwan_e
Member since:
2007-02-18

kwan_e,

I agree with almost the entirety of your post. But this below didn't compute for me:

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

Funnily enough, I think I disagree with almost every single point in there, haha.

Linux (both the platform and the kernel) is in competition with everything else on the market.


I don't actually think it's true. Linux, like almost all open source software, is about "scratching your own itch". People contribute to Linux and open source, not because they want to compete and be the best and win awards. They're just contributing because they want something done and there's nothing around that fits their criteria, or that can be modified to fit their criteria.

If anything, what Linux competes for is attention, and it succeeds heavily in that area.

Even if money is not an issue, competition always has a presence, and that's a good thing for driving innovation.


Which exists whether or not GPL is used.

Edit: with regards to the point you were initially responding to, I believe linux's good driver support has a lot to do with it's relative popularity. BSD's lack of support makes sense given that very few manufacturers are paying attention to it(them) and having fewer resources. I would not spontaneously attribute BSD's technical design to be the cause of it's lack of drivers (if I understood correctly, seems to be what was implied).


The person I replied to claimed that if Linux were public domain, or at least not GPL'd, that it would magically have better driver support due to the kernel's internal interfaces being stabilized in face of competition.

Well, BSD is right there for such a speculation, and its lack of GPL has not borne the results claimed.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kwan_e,

"Linux, like almost all open source software, is about 'scratching your own itch'. People contribute to Linux and open source, not because they want to compete and be the best and win awards...."

Oh I don't disagree with that, but I think these people would still exist without linux and I suspect if linux had failed to capture their interest then there would have been no shortage of competing "free" platforms to take it's place (for better or worse).


"[Competition] exists whether or not GPL is used."

Sure.


"The person I replied to claimed that if Linux were public domain, or at least not GPL'd, that it would magically have better driver support due to the kernel's internal interfaces being stabilized in face of competition."
"Well, BSD is right there for such a speculation, and its lack of GPL has not borne the results claimed."

I personally dislike the lack of an ABI (at least within major versions) for lots of reasons, but overlooking this opinion, I don't think we have strong evidence either way about whether the GPL license itself has impeded manufacturers from writing more drivers. Success is more often due to network effects that technical superiority. Most people agree that postgres is far superior to mysql, yet look who's on top?

At the end of the day developers should release code in whatever terms they feel comfortable with. I honestly don't know if the GPL's relative success is due to a network effect or because it strikes a coord with more developers. But I don't really care too much because I'm still free to use whatever license I want when I write software that I own the copyrights to.

I'm sure that we can both agree that when it comes to other people's copyrighted code, it's pretty arrogant to complain about their choice in free licenses.

Edited 2012-06-03 15:55 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

but I think these people would still exist without linux and I suspect if linux had failed to capture their interest then there would have been no shortage of competing "free" platforms to take it's place (for better or worse).


Sure. I was going to add to my point that, if anything, Linux is really in competition with itself. We get so used to the idea of one product competing with another product. The brilliant thing about Linux and open source is that it's not dependent on external competition to be innovative, and so having competition doesn't magically improve things. What open source allows us to do is to have the current version compete with the "ideal" version. Maybe we could even go so far as to say the "Platonic" version.

I personally dislike the lack of an ABI (at least within major versions) for lots of reasons, but overlooking this opinion, I don't think we have strong evidence either way about whether the GPL license itself has impeded manufacturers from writing more drivers. Success is more often due to network effects that technical superiority. Most people agree that postgres is far superior to mysql, yet look who's on top?

At the end of the day developers should release code in whatever terms they feel comfortable with. I honestly don't know if the GPL's relative success is due to a network effect or because it strikes a coord with more developers. But I don't really care too much because I'm still free to use whatever license I want when I write software that I own the copyrights to.


Well, I'm a software engineer, but I think I like biology more these days, and it definitely shows in almost all my comments. And in biology, being the "best" is never a guarantee for dominance, let alone survival. Very often, and especially in the case of humans, it is the blind patchwork that often saves the day.

You mention MySQL. One thing MySQL has in common with Linux is that they're both oriented more towards the "near enough is good enough" mentality. Could that be why people, deep down, feel more comfortable with supporting them? I think network effects work better when there is no guiding direction.

It certainly would make sense of why the internal Linux ABI is not stable and yet it survives in that form. I can see why Linus accepts that instability. Drivers and hardware changes all the time, and while it would be nice to fit it all together, it's not pragmatic to do so given the variety of interface designs. As long as the external ABI is relatively stable, which is what Linux aims for, then it's not as big of a problem.

I'm sure that we can both agree that when it comes to other people's copyrighted code, it's pretty arrogant to complain about their choice in free licenses.


Yes, that's always been my beef with anti-GPL sentiments. I like both GPL and BSD like licenses for their various reasons and they both have their own niche. They are not in competition with each other either and there's no sense in inventing a conflict. I find it ridiculous that people can even take sides against each other.

Reply Parent Score: 4