Home > OpenBSD > Theo De Raadt On Industry And Free Software Theo De Raadt On Industry And Free Software Thom Holwerda 2005-07-06 OpenBSD 68 Comments De Raadt’s team makes OpenBSD, an operating system, and OpenSSH, for secure communications. Here, he talks about why he does it, about industry use of open-source software, and about dedication to quality paying off. About The Author Thom Holwerda Follow me on Twitter @thomholwerda 68 Comments 2005-07-06 7:43 pm The vendors who incorporate OpenSSH have given us absolutely nothing back—not a cent. Can’t say that many people, other than Theo, would be happy with that situation. Just serves to remind me why the GPL is so popular. 2005-07-06 8:19 pm binarycrusader Theo points out something important with that statement that reinforces what Schwartz recently said about “Free and Open Source Software”. Most businesses only care about “free” as in price. They don’t give a patoot about “free” as in “freedom”. So in reality, Stallman can say “free” really means “freedom” all he wants, but in the end the majority of users afterwards will always see it as “free” as in price. 2005-07-06 8:40 pm Just the opposite. Without the Freedom part, companies would not be able to use the source code, even if the binary code was no cost. Freedom is FAR more important to corporations than no cost. Just wait a few days, and maybe Schwartz will change his mind again like he always does. 2005-07-07 1:41 am Your argument is flawed because GPL-ed software _is_ free as in price. Why should then buisnesses complain about it if they care solely about price? Sorry sir – free in the GPL sence means freedom and not price. And Stallman knows exactly what he talks about. 2005-07-06 8:20 pm I’d favour the LGPL over BSD license, any day of the week, however, it’s a bit misleading to give that quote out of context. Here’s the next sentence: “However, getting money was not the goal for OpenSSH. Our goal was to convert the entire Unix community from using telnet and other insecure login protocols. And we have done that.” Some people like the feeling of giving to charity (BSD), while other’s like to be more business-like and adopt quid-pro-quo (LGPL/GPL). Choosing one over the other doesn’t make you more or less right, it just means that your needs are different. — Anil Wang 2005-07-06 8:38 pm Varg Vikernes I think Theo nailed it with that comment. Of course no vendor has given them anything back, because they don’t have to. Why do something that’s not required? That’s what most bussinesses would probably ask you if you were to bring this subject up. I think he pointed out the best advantage this system (the BSD license) has over the GPL. With GPL everyone must give back and that’s why there aren’t many commercial vendors incorporating GPL code into their software. With the BSD license however, you live with knowing that someone big does use it. 2005-07-06 8:23 pm I think it is “sad” that more people wouldn’t be happy with that situation. Think of how much better your job is (assuming you use SSH on a regular basis) because of the work these guys have done. Just think if more stuff were “free” in this sense. I am a big supporter of OpenBSD and its efforts to produce free quality software. I only wish the likes of Linux and others were this dedicated to such a goal. 2005-07-07 12:51 am I like OpenBSD a lot too, and BSDs over Linux distros. For such a good job, and making our lifes better/easier, wouldn’t they deserve something? It’s true that most people sees only the ‘free as in beer’ part, and I experience it everyday with Linux. IMHO good work deserves something good back, that’s why I’m not following the OSS fashion (let’s be serious, it’s trend riht now – w4nn4 b3 7h4 c00l b0y? b3 4 GPL phre4kz!!! . Hopefully smart comanies will realize soon that they’ll need to support – or they’ll loose commercial products and have unmantained OSS equivalents… Just my reflections #429 2005-07-07 2:09 am The vendors who incorporate OpenSSH have given us absolutely nothing back—not a cent. Can’t say that many people, other than Theo, would be happy with that situation. Just serves to remind me why the GPL is so popular. What’s the logic? If OpenSSH were GPL’d, vendors would give money back to incorporate it? The vendors who incorprate OpenSSH are called Redhat, Novell… do they give money to the 1000 GPL’d projects they incorporate? If so, is that contribution motivated by what, and why does that motivation not extend to BSDL’d projects? 2005-07-06 8:26 pm an @ss. Has to be said whenever his name comes up. Chuckles- 2005-07-06 8:32 pm Joe User Commitmento to security is what makes Theo and OpenBSD different IMO. Theo rules! 2005-07-06 8:39 pm vesselinpeev This is a very good interview. The development philosophy behind OpenBSD, if it catches on, could engender some really superior software solutions and set a good example. Too bad OpenBSD’s philosophy clashes badly with today’s widespread get-rich-quick and get-famous-quick mindsets that I see in various combinations in both commercial and FOSS people. He made a good point about integer overflows, too. And the girlfriend part was cute — you see guys, it is actually possible to have a girlfriend despite all those computers, don’t you? Now all we need to do is implement this feature ! 2005-07-06 8:44 pm I espically enjoyed this quote. “Industry believes that software is complicated, and that big companies are better prepared to fix bugs. That is false. Bugs get fixed when someone cares enough to fix them. Caring about quality is not something that large companies have proven to be any more skilful at than, in some cases, 18-year-old university students.” I keep running into this misconception that software engineering is something similar to building a NASA satellite. It really isn’t, it’s just some logic in some characters. Theo hits the nail on the head, congrats. Also enjoyed not reading about how much Linux sucks, and how ubber allas OpenBSD is (not that I dislike OpenBSD). 2005-07-06 8:45 pm Latem The interview was pretty interesting. Theo was actually being civilized and answering questions for a change! Not just going on some big rant on how he is God, and everyone else sucks. 2005-07-06 8:59 pm The OpenSSH story proves that Linux – a large percentage of it anyway – is about media hype, and it’s about PR from big companies. They don’t care about Free Software. They invested large sums in Linux, this is isn’t going away. They sell *hardware* (IBM, HP) and Linux comes bundled with that hardware, as a “plus.” Eventually,Linux developers gave in to incorporating proprietary software in the kernel. Yet, this is so dumb. The BSD license allows for more business. You can work at a company *and* develop free software with the BSD license. The BSD license protects Independent Software Vendors, companies and freedom. The GPL only protects Big Iron. Or, it allows you to play the proprietary game: “It’s under the GPL *BUT* I can also license it under my proprietary license, if you wish.” OpenBSD remains faithful to the /true/ spirit of Unix, the original hacker spirit. Kudos to OpenBSD! 2005-07-06 9:04 pm Compare and contrast this interview, where Theo admits that “all the auditing in the world can’t help us,” to earlier interviews where Theo pins 99% of the world’s security problems on stupid, lazy programmers who make simple mistakes and stupid, lazy vendors who don’t do enough auditing. Those things were and remain problems, but it’s heartening to see Theo has a bit more perspective these days – he seems to be recognizing that some things are complicated just because they are complicated, and not because everybody else in the business isn’t as smart as Theo. 2005-07-07 12:56 am Sorry, I can’t see conflict between saying “every auditing helps” and “problems are caused by lazy programming”. More auditing, more problems caused by lazy programming spotted… right? #429 2005-07-06 9:11 pm Smartpatrol I think it is astounding that people could argue for “you just must trust someone else to fix it” instead of “you could fix it yourself, or hire someone to fix it.” There is a contractor base out there that can solve these problems as well as or better than the major vendors could. But I think the major vendors are still having more luck at getting the ear of the press. I think it’s astounding that someone who appears to be reasonably intelligent can’t comprehend this simple requirement. It is still by far cheaper and more efficient to pay for support from the application/solution creator then to pay an outside consultant to provide custom fixes to software and or solutions. Not to mention there is an ownership responsibility path that exists with the company-> vendor relationship coupled with long term suportability. Something you don’t get when the consultant leaves the company with the mess he/she created. An proper end to end solution includes long term support period. 2005-07-07 12:58 am Aga, exactly! Just, it seems that most OSS fans don’t care much about product lifecycle. The whole one I mean #429 2005-07-07 3:19 pm Smartpatrol All he really stated was the tried and true FOSS argument “If you don’t like something you have the souce code change it!” 2005-07-08 8:00 am haugland Just because the software is free, it does not mean that you cannot hold anyone responsible. However it CAN be more difficult to find a vendor who will vouch for a free product. If a properitary software vendor stops support of a product, you have no support. If a free software vendor stops support of a product, there is a chance that you can find support elsewhere. 2005-07-08 8:19 am “If a free software vendor stops support of a product, there is a chance that you can find support elsewhere.” Or that some other user or users will take on its ownership, or fork it, as has happened many times. 2005-07-06 9:19 pm “Eventually,Linux developers gave in to incorporating proprietary software in the kernel.” What are you talking about? The Linux kernel is 100% GPLed. 2005-07-06 10:19 pm What are you talking about? Are NVidia drivers GPLed? 2005-07-06 10:50 pm Wrawrat The driver itself isn’t, but the kernel interface is. Anyway, why bother discussing about them when they’re not even included in the official sources… That said, not everything seems to be GPL’d. After all, the folks at Debian want to rip off some parts of the vanilla kernel because they don’t follow their DFSG… 2005-07-07 1:48 am Are you a troll? The nvidia driver is not part of the official kernel. You can (and do by default) use GPL driver for your nvidia card. 2005-07-07 2:33 am The Nvidia drivers aren’t “in the kernel”, you fucking idiot. 2005-07-06 11:13 pm eMagius There’s a great deal in the Linux kernel that’s nominally GPL, but developed using documentation recieved under NDAs or under similar closed permission systems. Such is hardly “open”. 2005-07-07 12:20 am rhavyn How is something “nominally” GPL? Either it’s GPL or it’s not GPL. The POSIX specifications aren’t freely available either, does that mean that the entire kernel API is only “nominally” GPL? And if you didn’t notice, other free kernels use the GPL’d code as “documentation” to write drivers for their kernels. 2005-07-08 7:49 am You’re utterly whacked; distributing code written based on information obtained via Non *Disclosure* Agreements would DISCLOSE that information and thereby violate the agreement. Companies like ATI who guard their interfaces only distribute binaries under agreements that explicitly ban disassembling the code, and you’re telling us that “there’s a great deal” of such code that not only is provided in *source* form, but is distributed under the GPL, which *guarantees* your right to use that information however you see fit? It’s bad enough that you made a claim in a public information forum for which you have no evidence whatsoever, but you didn’t even bother to think through whether it could *possibly* be true. 2005-07-06 9:31 pm vesselinpeev I think you have a good point, Smartpatrol. 2005-07-06 9:50 pm I think it’s astounding that someone who appears to be reasonably intelligent can’t comprehend this simple requirement. It is still by far cheaper and more efficient to pay for support from the application/solution creator then to pay an outside consultant to provide custom fixes to software and or solutions. I think it’s astounding that someone who appears to be reasonably intelligent can so utterly and completely miss the point (and then be kind of snarky about it to boot). Of course long-term support is important. So are multiple support options and avoidance of lock-in. I’m glad GM and their dealers stand behind my car. But does it follow that the only system that works is one in which my hood is welded shut and only GM is allowed to service and support my vehicle? That’s the status quo in software today. 2005-07-07 10:15 am vesselinpeev Indeed, “astounding” is too strong a word here, I think. 2005-07-06 10:10 pm VenomousGecko There will never be agreement on the issue of putting binary only drivers or modules into an “Open” OS (BSD or GPL licensed). If you do not have the documentation for a piece of hardware, then you will either: 1. Do without use of the device. 2. Reverse engineer the code for the device to get it working. -or- 3. Take a binary driver from the vendor and implement it into your OS. The 2 camps have differing view and you will see argument on both sides. The “Open only” camp (if I may call them that) state that if it isnt open, we don’t want it and we refuse to use it until there is an open solution. That is good, but it will also limit the penetration of your OS into the user base. The “Open eventually” camp says that, well, we don’t have an open driver for this device so we will have to use binary only for now and eventually create an open driver. The question is “Does the lack of market share due to lack of support prevent developers from writing drivers for that OS”? Put another way. Is it better to get market share first and get the developers on board, even if you have to use binary only drivers to ensure support and then write open drivers, or is this a cop out? PS. Sorry for the rambling. 2005-07-07 2:46 am tantalic “The “Open only” camp (if I may call them that) state that if it isnt open, we don’t want it and we refuse to use it until there is an open solution.” You are missing one very important part of this argument. For many it isn’t a difference in philosophy on Open vs Closed source, but an issue of creating a stable, reliable. portable system. Binary only drivers only work on the systems and platforms they are released for and bugs can only be fixed by the company/individual releasing the driver. In addition to this adopting binary only drivers provides hardware developers with no insentive to release specification and/or open source drivers. 2005-07-07 4:53 am VenomousGecko “The “Open only” camp (if I may call them that) state that if it isnt open, we don’t want it and we refuse to use it until there is an open solution.” You are missing one very important part of this argument. For many it isn’t a difference in philosophy on Open vs Closed source, but an issue of creating a stable, reliable. portable system. Binary only drivers only work on the systems and platforms they are released for and bugs can only be fixed by the company/individual releasing the driver. In addition to this adopting binary only drivers provides hardware developers with no insentive to release specification and/or open source drivers. I wasn’t missing the point, in fact that was the point I was trying to get across. My statement was in regards to the fact that allowing binary only drivers can be viewed as a pro and a con. Pro being it makes the OS more “robust” (in the sense that it can support more hardware) but at what expense. I am just curious if the pros out-weight the cons. 2005-07-06 10:23 pm The question is “Does the lack of market share due to lack of support prevent developers from writing drivers for that OS”? Put another way. Is it better to get market share first and get the developers on board, even if you have to use binary only drivers to ensure support and then write open drivers, or is this a cop out? I think the problem is even more difficult in the long term and has to do with the blurring of hardware and software. A winmodem, for example, is about 10% generic hardware and 90% software. A wifi device can be just a software defined radio, and the design of that software can decide whether the hardware itself is even street legal. What happens if GPU’s take the Transmeta route, and become simplified engines where all the interesting stuff happens in software? What does an evolution of that kind mean to companies who think of currently themselves as either “hardware” or “software” companies? What does it mean to free and open source software, if suddenly a company’s – or an industry’s – bread-and-butter technology moves from hardware to software? I don’t have the answers, obviously. But the questions are bigger than open vs. closed. 2005-07-07 1:01 am hm. you chose the perfect counter example to your idea with the GPU 2005-07-06 11:56 pm tony both BSD and GPL grant freedoms from some, and take it away from others. The GPL grants the freedom that all software under the GPL will be available to the public, and takes away the freedom to close it up and sell it. The BSD license grants the freedom for people and businesses to close it up and sell it, and takes away the guarantee that they’ll have access to that code. Both give with one hand, and taketh with the other. People who write under both know what their getting into, and it’s their choice what to release their project under or what projects (and their licenses) to contribute to. Companies know what they’re getting into, so do developers. I don’t see why people are so anti-one or the other. Both are successful, and both have their place. 2005-07-07 12:28 am You are quite delusional sir, the BSDs only take away one thing; the ability to claim a work as soley your own.<p> That you think the ability to have a closed source derivative is taking away a freedom is silly and incorrect. It is granting a freedom that is not there by default.<p> The GPL is the one with less freedoms to it.<p> Don’t look at this stuff so religiously, look at it practically and through the eyes of the law. 2005-07-07 2:09 am You are quite delusional sir, the BSDs only take away one thing; the ability to claim a work as soley your own. That you think the ability to have a closed source derivative is taking away a freedom is silly and incorrect. It is granting a freedom that is not there by default. And the users of that closed program don’t have the freedom to look at the source code, nor do they have the right to the program for free, which are the freedoms the GPL give us. They both grant freedoms to one group, and take away freedom from another. It all depends on perspective. The GPL is the one with less freedoms to it. Don’t look at this stuff so religiously, look at it practically and through the eyes of the law. I’m not, you’re the one who’s looking at it religiously, and being insulting as well. I never even said one was better than the other. 2005-07-07 2:17 am And the users of that closed program don’t have the freedom to look at the source code, nor do they have the right to the program for free, which are the freedoms the GPL give us. They have so, in what regards those parts of the program that were BSDL’d! What they don’t have access to is the parts that were written by the vendor, and why should they? Those weren’t written by the original author of the BSDL’d parts, nor by any community, but by the vendor. Anyway, it’s put up or shut up. Name one instance of end-user loss due to some evil corporation building a closed product on BSDL’d components. And think before you write – the OS X users I know don’t feel at a loss at all, not to mention that it isn’t clear that OS X couldn’t legally use a GPL’d kernel server just as it uses a BSDL’d one. 2005-07-07 6:41 am Anyway, it’s put up or shut up. Name one instance of end-user loss due to some evil corporation building a closed product on BSDL’d components. And think before you write – the OS X users I know don’t feel at a loss at all, not to mention that it isn’t clear that OS X couldn’t legally use a GPL’d kernel server just as it uses a BSDL’d one. The ability to improve upon the vendor code could be one user loss, and there are security implications. Some people don’t like to trust vendors, and I don’t entirely blame them. And if the vendor charges for that code, then the user is going to lose some money (but of course, they may be happy to part with it, and they might not be). And the Darwin code is base on BSDL licensed code, but Darwin is released with the APSL, which requires distribution of modification, much like the GPL. But it’s not a case of developer loss, they released their code under the BSDL, and they were fine with that. I have no problem with that. I have no problem with the BSDL or with the GPL, although you seem to have a problem with the GPL. If you don’t like the GPL, then don’t write software or add to software released under the GPL. You’re throwing the word freedom around as if you know the meaning of the word. I’ll stop tlking now, since all I would be doing is whistling through your ears. Wow, you sure showed me. 2005-07-07 3:20 am You’re throwing the word freedom around as if you know the meaning of the word. I’ll stop talking now, since all I would be doing is whistling through your ears. 2005-07-07 1:55 am It’s nice to see Theo finally giving a great interview – the last few were disappointing to say the least. I just wish he’d give more interviews like this to online publications that have a geek audience (the Epoch Times is a publication concerned mostly with issues about China, Taiwan and the overseas Chinese community). Anyway, keep up the good work Theo. OpenBSD is great, you just need to get the word out to those who are most likely to use it. 2005-07-07 4:09 am Referring to the above comments by many people: Obviously both the GPL and BSD licenses have their place in the IT industry, like proprieatery licenses too in some situations. It is a free world, you know…, why not appreciate people’s right to use what ever licenses they see good for them? I think the word freedom gets tossed around a bit too much – especially in the USA and particularly when the GPL and BSD aficionados start to advertise their licenses over the other. “Mine is more free than yours.” Yeah, sure… The word freedom in itself is just so vague that figthing over what license might be less or more free often gets rather worthless nitpicking only… My sugestion: try to avoid the whole word freedom for a while when talking about software licenses. What really matters to people is what use a license is to them, not how vaguely free some introductory wording of the license text may or may not be in some changing vague contexts. I think that the concept “free software” (especially in English language where “free” has so many meanings) shouldn’t be used in any scientific context. I would say that open source is the more exact and more scientific term to be used. Really, “free software” is just a vague PR word that tries to take use of the wide popularity of the concept of freedom in the modern/post modern culture. Although speaking of “free software” may be quite ok, I suggest to use the term “open source” instead, at least when trying to make things clear (like in legal texts). Also Stallman is often actually meaning many other things and values more than freedom: cooperation of all parties, mutual benefits for all, forcing the source code to be open etc. Those are the exact meanings behind the GPL. But the word freedom is all too broad a term to say what is really meant. Freedom is one of the few values still widely respected in the west… Maybe that’s why it is so popular also in the FOSS and IT world. That’s probably also the main reason why Richard Stallman chose to call open source free software (the man is obviously very fond of the word freedom too; what ever the vague word may mean to him in various circumstances). Open source or free software, they really mean the same thing, what ever Stallman says. As everyone knows, even Stallman himself is always in troubles when he is trying to explain to other people what his “free software” concept means or doesn’t mean – and that it actually means just: open source. So why can’t the man just use the better, more exact term: open source…? Because he didn’t invent that word…? The word freedom in itself often lacks exact content, especially in the rhetorics of the US politics where everyone tends to be for freedom, but the goals of those various “freedom fighters” may actually be even opposite to each other. So. let’s all try to be a bit more exact in our words, ok? 2005-07-07 9:50 am From TFA: `FreeBSD is not doing this; they’re incorporating binary device drivers all the way through their tree now when it’s more convenient. They’re saying convenience over freedom.’ Can anyone confirm or deny this? Thanks. 2005-07-07 10:06 am I’m not sure about the binary drivers throughout the source tree, but I do know that they incorparte a lot of code which is more restrictive than the BSD license. I think that maybe he was referring to this as well. 2005-07-07 4:39 pm If you spent five minutes looking around you’d know. There was a spat a while ago between OpenBSD and FreeBSD developers because of OpenBSD’s anti-binary cruft stance. Scott Long, who made the Adaptec aac cli – a binary that is used to control Adaptec RAID cards, went apeshit because Theo told Adaptec that after 4 months of talks, if Adaptec didn’t give documentation for their aac cards, support would be dropped. Scott, being a former Adaptec worker, said that the cli was good enough and that Theo and OpenBSD should stop causing trouble for everyone and bullying vendors around. 2005-07-08 8:29 am haugland Hmmm… I do not see Theo is bullying a vendor, if he says that he will stop supporting their product if they do not comply with certain terms. This happen all the time. Hardware will also have to comply to certain terms to be approved for MS Windows. Theo may have different requirements because of his goals, but the principle is the same: “You must comply to these terms if you want us to support your hardware”. I actually think Theo is offering to support Adaptec’s products if they will supply the documentation. Adaptec can always decline. Users can still use whatever hardware they want, but it will not be supported. 2005-07-07 9:58 am It’s interesting what people think free is. I belive that when something is “free,” I should then be able to do anything that I want with it: repackage, sell, create proprietary software from it, whatever. The GPL does not allow this. Obviously this is not free, it is restricted. The BSD license is not “giving to charity,” the concept is that the product should remain truly free for anyone to use for any purpose they see fit. Obviously, this is a case of ideology between BSD and Linux. But truly, to not understand the BSD license and then spout off how the GPL is better/more popular is plain ignorant. I think that the OpenBSD has done much to make the world a better place, some of my favorites: OpenSSH(of course), strlcpy, strncpy… Blah blah blah, to make a long story short, try it before you knock it 🙂 2005-07-07 10:23 am GPL zealots claim that people should have right to the improvements made in the code and call this “freedom”. They don’t understand the freedom of the coder to keep his own rights so he can release under GPL, BSD, proprietary or whatever. 2005-07-07 1:32 pm but this also means slow improvements since nothing is shared, everything is taken and improved and may not be given back…. That is why linux exists, and is thriving is beacuse you are almost forced to share, and sharing isn’t a bad thing….. 2005-07-07 3:13 pm You are not forced to share with GPL, you can make improvements and keep them for private use. Only if you release them you must do it under GPL. With BSDL you can keep your improvements for private use, try to earn money selling as proprietary code, release under BSDL, release under GPL… You have more choices, you have more freedom. 2005-07-07 5:22 pm i didnt say you were forced to share… I said ALMOST forced to share and yes your point is the ALMOST I was talking about…. but really is sharing such a bad thing… Its all good… 2005-07-07 1:26 pm GPL – help each other BSD – help others so GPL when you want to contribute a small part and want to see it grow into something you want to have free access to later and build more upon…. BSD when you want to contribute something you feel is “done” and you dont desire any improvements or having access to them bsd – give – dont expect/hope/desire anything back gpl – give – expect/hope/desire back….still might be disappointed bsd is probably more noble but damn if i am giving and not getting back! jake tate reporting…. 2005-07-07 5:16 pm This is a foolish assumption that you have made. Just because one can do keep the code and do whatever with it, does not mean that developement is slow. If that were the case, would NetBSD, OpenBSD, or FreeBSD be around some 15+ years? BSD coders share their code because they choose to, because it is a good thing to do so, Linux users share their code because their is a 10 page document which says that must. Don’t knock something because it is different and especially if you have never used it. 2005-07-07 5:31 pm yea but in 15 years you would think they would of become more popular, it has only taken linux a few years to really start rolling…but anyway I am not just talking about the operating systems, i am talking about other code under the GPL/BSD licenses. I actually think that maybe the base OS kernel and so forth should be BSD license so if someone wants to try and make something of it…like cisco! But then again if the kernel and so forth was GPL then we could build on each others work and everyone gains. But as far as other projects/applictions then GPL often makes more sense since it has to be shared and everyone would benefit instead of duplicating work… I stated before that both have their place and it really depends on what you want…I stated that before, depends on whether it is a complete product that you do not care about improvements being accessible to you or something basic that you would like to release to start something rolling and always gain back from it. I can see both sides and there are good arguments for both…. so who is knocking something? I didnt see any GOOD statements about the GPL in your posting…. 2005-07-08 7:44 am Haha, so now I must say something good about the GPL, eh? Don’t get me wrong, the GPL was written with great goals. I personally think that there are many great programs written under the GPL, gotta love gcc:-D I just hope that with the next iteration of the GPL, it becomes a less restrictive license to release code with. Obviously, “restrictive” in this sense is subjective to your personal beliefs. All in all though, I prefer the GPL to closed source software and obviously, without all the GPL’ed software out there, the *nix world would definitely be dealt with a major blow. So, in summary, GPL is good, BSD is good; as long as we all work towards providing quality tools, apps, and systems that people can use, why bicker? –Adam 2005-07-07 6:37 pm “yea but in 15 years you would think they would of become more popular, it has only taken linux a few years to really start rolling…but anyway ” Although this is not the main issue of my analysis, let me begin by this: You don’t think that has /anything/ to do with marketing and evangelizing (which the BSD hackers are very bad at, they just code and don’t gloat)? When you see HP posters with “Linux” written on it, at airports, do you think this is gratuitous? Or do you think there’s huge PR behind it? Now for the main dish: The GPL is being widely used by people who really want: free improvents done by others for their products and who want to sell you a proprietary license. This is why they throw GPL projects at the public with virtually non-existent documentation. So, the GPL lends itself to this perversion: proprietary licences. As of now, you can take a GPLed product and develop it further in-house, without being obliged to “give back.” So, really, in the end it ends up working like the BSD license. However, this will change in version 3.0. When that change comes some consumers of the GPL products will realize that they have been scammed into acquiring a propretary license. This will either force them to avoid the GPL altogether, thereby either increasing adoption of their proprietary twins, or they will have to use the GPL, and that, in the end, will mean that they will be working for free for those vendors using the GPL to sell a propretary license. Another side effect is that some business will simply die, as people don’t buy their licenses, prefering only the GPL product. This means the GPL corners you into the following situation (again, this is after version 3.0): if you choose a product under the GPL that has a twin proprietary license, anything you develop will be used to enrich the software selling that license. This means you yourself will work for others. Your other choice is to but their license, which is a questionable attitude, since the code is GPL. So, you both lose. Unless, that is, you want to go along with that game. But let’s be clear: it /is/ a game. It is /not/ about freedom. The BSD license does /not/ lend itself to that perversion of working for free for others. No one can blackmail you into a proprietary license (for instance, releasing so little documentation you don’t even know where to begin- JBoss, anyone?) The BSD is truly collaborative and tributary to the original hacker spirit that gave us so many things. It is all PR in the Linux game. Linux zealots are keen to defend the GPL when, all the while, what their truly doing is working for free for big corporations. 2005-07-07 6:39 pm Sorry s/software/software house/ s/but/buy 2005-07-07 8:21 pm But let’s be clear: it /is/ a game. No, let’s be really clear: you /are/ nuts. Making up stories about the GPL 3.0 boogeyman – just making them up out of whole cloth – doesn’t help your case. Maybe you need some oxygen. Breathe, man, breathe! 2005-07-07 11:58 pm Next time, come up with arguments better than “boogeyman.” 2005-07-08 8:16 am “boogeyman” isn’t an argument, it’s a characterization — an apt one for your baseless claims. As for why Linux dominates BSD, Eric Raymond explained this in “The Cathedral and the Bazaar”. HP’s support of Linux is a *consequence* of its dominance, not the cause. 2005-07-07 11:04 pm “Linux zealots are keen to defend the GPL when” why is it that people who tout the benefits of the BSD license has to use the term “linux zealot” I am afraid you offend me by using that….. Did you hear me say something bad about the BSD license. Whats so wrong about working for free for others, when those others are working for free for you…. share share share…. And I think I did just say that the BSD license is probably more noble, and I wont repeat my whole post but I see where both licenses could be useful and I think it a shame that BSD ZEALOTS cannot see the good in the GPL license…. (used the zealot term just for grins and giggles) 2005-07-08 12:00 am What in the world makes you think I was addressing you? Can you come up with a counter-argument to the evidence all around us that myriad companies are dual-licensing? And that some pretty big ones do so with shoddy documentation (on purpose, so you can hire them, e,g, JBoss). Did you get my point at all? BTW, I apologize for “Linux zealots”. It was wrong. 2005-07-08 7:59 am “You’re throwing the word freedom around as if you know the meaning of the word. I’ll stop tlking now, since all I would be doing is whistling through your ears.” Those words aren’t in the comment you’re responding to; what game are you playing? 2005-07-08 8:09 am “Linux users share their code because their is a 10 page document which says that must.” If you’re going to complain about someone saying something foolish, you shouldn’t respond with something far more foolish.