Why FLOSS Should Use The GPL

I just read an article about the software business littered with “zealot” and “restrictive” in relation to licensing of FLOSS and how ASFL is the only way to do business with FLOSS etc. It’s pretty sickening to read these parasites of FLOSS denying the reality that the GPL works and works well. It allows startups to have a head start. It allows startups to innovate and not to have to compete against their own code used against them by competitors in closed source software.

Instead these “pro-business” parasites would have us believe that working for free for M$ and the like is just great for the world of IT. It would be laughable if they weren’t so seriously trying to undermine FLOSS at every turn. These traitors actually promote non-free software as some kind of virtue and perpetuate the myth that using the GPL “infects” software and harms business.

The GPL works. It was the best decision Linus ever made when he produced Linux. If he had chosen a lesser licence, Linux would now be closed source and running Apple and M$’s OS and permitting those evil empires to compete with FLOSS on price/performance with a tiny investment while still screwing with competition. Linux is thriving because it did not go that way. The world of IT is lifting itself out of monopoly because of that. Allowing competition to thrive is great for business. The GPL is great for business, competition, startups, individuals and end-users. There is no downside to using the GPL in FLOSS. There is a downside in using licences like the ASFL. See what happened to OS/2 and compare that with what’s happening to Linux. One dies and the other is everywhere in IT. See what’s happening to OpenOffice.org. It’s stagnant and still not on Apache’s front page as a project six months after Oracle “donated” the code and LibreOffice is thriving. Think about that.

Apache OpenOffice entered incubation on June 1, 2011. The project website (this site) was established on June 13, 2011.

We are continuing the process of migrating the source code, infrastructure and community to Apache. As of the end of December, 2011, the user portal for Apache OpenOffice, www.openoffice.org, was migrated to the Apache infrastructure.

Does anyone really believe ASFL was good for OpenOffice.org?

I recommend the GPL. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux. These are licences and collections of software that empower users to get the best from IT by sharing. It’s the right way to do IT. The world needs software and can make its own. Monopolies need not apply for that role.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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35 Responses to Why FLOSS Should Use The GPL

  1. oiaohm says:

    Ray I would advise against MIT license. I have seen first hand how that can be badly abused with Wine Project.

    MIT License is very old and unless you have some other body handling patents it really does not cover that.

    LGPL is ok people are not going to badly backstab you.

    Apache 2.0 is decent on patents. So at least someone cannot submarine patent attack you with it. So they might back-stab you a little by taking the code and never giving anything back. They are not going to fatally harm you.

    BSD MIT and a lot of those highly permissive if you thinking those you most likely should be using Apache 2.0 or something else equally modern.

    Dispute between LGPL or Apache is mostly personal taste but they are at least sane options.

  2. Ray says:

    Hey! Libraries are important, and using GPL would limit it’s use! What about the LGPL? MIT? Apache?

  3. oiaohm says:

    Clarence Moon if you dig up the photo for this one.
    https://events.linuxfoundation.org/events/lsfmm-summit

    This is last years photo of the file system and block devices team.
    https://www.linux.com//images/stories/com_lfnews/galleries/best-linux-event-for-your-calendar-1326391342/lsf-group-med-1326394756.jpg

    Notice that very few people from the main Linux Kernel summit at the end of year are the same people. If you are really good you will be able to find the 2 people that are the same. Those are the two subsystem maintainers one for file-system and one for block devices. Remember the Summits are also invite only and they are only the people who could make it. Any invited who cannot make it will be video conference in.

    Same was true for the kernel summit. That not all the invited are in the photo percentage cannot make it but they still attend electronically. That percentage most years is not small.

    This is the problem lot of the teams are huge. video driver team is large than than the file-system and block devices team.

    There is at least 1000 developers who full time job is to work on the Linux kernel. Who can be counted by all the different summits and other events done by the sub system maintainers.

  4. kozmcrae says:

    @ldman and his Love Glove said:

    “My words were chosen quote deliberately. The fact that you may not like their reality is not my problem.”

    You made the same mistake Hanson made. Words don’t possess reality. People do, or don’t. Your description of the world of open source as a commune doesn’t fit except in your reality. It’s your reality @ldman. You own it.

  5. oiaohm says:

    http://lwn.net/Articles/464307/ Really there is no need to use out of date photos. This shows the quality of your research work Clarence Moon. Complete crap.

    “The Linux Kernel Summit brings together the world’s leading core kernel developers to discuss the state of the existing kernel and plan the next development cycle. This two day conference is invitation-only and focuses on development and innovation through sessions and workshops that encourage interaction and discussion between kernel developers and industry leaders. Attendees to the Kernel Summit are chosen via a nomination process. If you are interested in attending and would like to be nominated, you are encouraged to subscribe to the Linux kernel mailing list. Details of the Kernel Summit nomination process will be broadcast on the list.”

    Notice something that is not the Linux Kernel developers and its invite only. That is just the management team ie the lead maintainers of subsystems plus invited guests. The guests are normally people who are thought will in time become subsystem maintainers themselves.

    The subsystem management team is over 50 for the Linux kernel. Each of those subsystem maintainers do run there own conferences around the world. Each of those maintainers has basically there own army of developers under them.

    Yes the Linux kernel development is a tree struct.

    A driver maintainer unless there was some special reason they need to talk to other subsystem maintainers that developer would not be a the kernel conference. The driver maintainer most likely will attend the subsystem maintainers conference that might be just on-line.

    Con Kolivas was a case of a developer who would not listen. Scheduler maintainers all where finding issues with Con Kolivas methods.

    Cgroups was something Con Kolivas still disregards.

    Yes Con Kolivas was very highly thought of. Was suspected to be the next Scheduler sub system maintainer. Lack flex and tolerance saw him disposed of as no longer a suitable candidate.

    Ingo Molnár was who gave him the invite to the 2005 Kernel Summit. This is something Con Kolivas does not tell anyone.

  6. oiaohm says:

    Really Clarence Moon you arguement is myth. Disprove myth. So I have to be a idiot because you are a unresearched twit.

  7. Clarence Moon says:

    You are, were, and will doubtless remain as a total idiot, Mr. Oiaohm. You are prolific, though. Too bad it is all fantasy.

  8. Clarence Moon says:

    You are drifting away from the point, Mr. Pogson. For starters, I was just talking about Linux itself. Maybe there is more than a hundred, maybe not, but certainly not a thousand. Looking around, I found this article regarding one of them. There is a photo of some conference of kernel developers with about 70 or so bodies in the picture.

    http://apcmag.com/interview_with_con_kolivas_part_2_his_effort_to_improve_linux_performance_on_the_desktop.htm

    For another thing, I was talking about someone who was actually in the development process for a program product or at least wanted to be there. On any reasonable project there can only be a handful of such folk, else the management becomes totally beyond the amateur skill set available. Any way that single or small group of developers would want to start with the tips of the product code tree, would you not agree?

  9. oiaohm says:

    Clarence Moon
    “The GPL seeks to deny a copyright to anyone who might choose to not disclose their improvement while freely granting that copyright to anyone who makes no improvement to begin with. Many IP attorneys are of the opinion that the grant of license with no conditions is primary and that the requirement to disclose the source code for changes is a contractual issue that cannot be enforced due to lack of any consideration given to the author who improves the software.”

    Wallace Vs FSF is over that point and Wallace lost. So any IP attorney claiming that point is a idiot they have missed that GPL is a distribution license. Triggered by every distribution event.

    Also what you have stated here is what gets people into breach of GPL. Distribution of a GPL binary requires the source it was built from available.

    –To “modify” a work means to copy from or adapt all or part of the work in a fashion requiring copyright permission, other than the making of an exact copy. The resulting work is called a “modified version” of the earlier work or a work “based on” the earlier work.–
    Note the GPL define of modify. Evil little devil. Rebuild with different complier optimisation flag and yes you have modified the resulting binaries so legally have to provide source if you ship to anyone else.

    So I download source of busybox don’t change a thing build a busybox binary then ship. Since I don’t provide the source to that binary I built I am in breach. Modification of source is not the trigger in GPL building a new binary then wanting to distribute it.

    Yes this is where busybox has hit so many companies over the head with this clear point. Distribution is the trigger of the GPL license of something you did not receive already built. GPL is the only thing that gives you the legal right to Distribute that binary you built in most cases.

    This is why its not legally in breach. Because if you never distribute GPL to an outside party you never have to provide source to an outside party.

    Yes GPL only requires you to provide source to who you provide binaries to.

    Encrypting the GPL binary so I cannot see it also makes you have to provide source even if you got it in binary form. Yes UPX an GPL binary and you are up for source provide as well.

    Virus infecting GPL binaries virus writer is also in breach of GPL if they ever get distributed unless of course they provide the source to their virus.

    Basically alter the binary or the source and you are up for releasing source of what you have done to who ever it gets distributed to. Alter includes making a new binary.

    So yes there are many cases where GPL lands on those who do actions they would not consider as modify.

    Also GPL does not allow distribution of binaries you cannot get source for either.

    There is a special loop hole in gplv3 for p2p shipping of binaries. In fact Gplv2 lot of it in p2p networks is illegal. Binary must be shipped with source with gplv2. So p2p person downloads a gplv2 binary ships it on and never gets the source is screwed legally they have committed Gplv2 piracy. Since they are in breach of the Gplv2 distribution requirements. What this the person is toast yet they never altered a thing.

    Gpl is nasty does not include any allowance for binary without source being provided by same person as well until gplv3.

    BSD vs Novell is also another key case. Failing to obey BSD instruction to maintain header is an offence.

    Clarence Moon basically if GPL is void so are MS licenses to software distributors. Games and Video distributors also depend on the same law at the core of GPL. You have made a big mistake thinking GPL only triggers on modify. GPL triggers every distribution event and must be assessed. So yes you give a binary copy to a friend you are now a Distributor so now you must obey GPL rules.

    Gpl v2 is quite a nasty license only options to distribute the binary are.

    “a) Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable source code, which must be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,
    b) Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,
    c) Accompany it with the information you received as to the offer to distribute corresponding source code. (This alternative is allowed only for noncommercial distribution and only if you received the program in object code or executable form with such an offer, in accord with Subsection b above.)”

    Yes this applies even when giving a non modified copy to a friend. Note C only applies to non commercial usage. There is no magic you did not modify so now GPL does not apply. You ship GPL the GPL applies.

    Please go look at Linux kernel stats a few thousand different developers submit patches to the Linux kernel each 3 months that get included. This does not include developers still working in there working trees on new features.

    Basically Clarence Moon you are a complete legal idiot. Did you not know that GPL was triggered every time you distribute it. With mandatory requirements on every person who distributes it.

    Yes GPL is exploiting the EULA conditions that allow you to transfer license to another party or prevent you from transferring license to another party.

    Break GPL break commercial product copyright completely. Since without what GPL depends on you cannot state in copyright that a person cannot make unlimited more copies and give them a way.

    Every copyright piracy case is testing the section of law GPL depends on. The right to limit distribution and place conditions on that distribution.

  10. Clarence Moon wrote, “If you want to get a headstart, get your personal copy of the source and keep it handy. Get it from the original source to make sure it is genuine and current.”

    Nope. Distros exist for a reason. Integrating sources from all over the web is difficult. That’s why Debian has evolved such a complex system of package managers (people and software).

    There are millions of FLOSS developers, not 100.

  11. Clarence Moon says:

    You are clutching for straws here, Mr. Pogson. Anything so tentative that only one PC is sourcing the data is hardly worth preserving anyway. I am sure that anyone actually running a real project would have their source on SourceForge or similar sites and such diversity would be meaningless.

    Furthermore, the distribution of source is a waste of resources, if it is actually done. Consider the tens of millions of people who use Linux versus the 100 or so who actually make modifications and so need the source code handy.

    If you want to get a headstart, get your personal copy of the source and keep it handy. Get it from the original source to make sure it is genuine and current.

  12. Clarence Moon wrote, “If others copy the binary images of the software and distribute them to others, there is no real need to create yet another repository for that source.”

    Sources of source code can disappear from the web. That happens and the world needs a backup for its software. Hence mirrors and the GPL. Popular source code served from someone’s PC would soon be swamped without mirroring and the GPL. The distribution of source code is nice because it distributes the licence, without which the binaries are illegal copies. There are many other advantages to distributing the source code among them being the ability to change the software, and to get a headstart on projects.

  13. Clarence Moon says:

    Everyone knows …

    Not everyone knows, Mr. Pogson, for example Mr. Oiaohm’s bizarre interpretations show that he hasn’t a clue. Also, the practicalities of the situation argue against the various requirements that distinguish the GPL.

    If one wants to actively participate in an open source project, they will willingly disclose their changes and publish their source code somewhere as a necessary condition of making it open. If others copy the binary images of the software and distribute them to others, there is no real need to create yet another repository for that source. Anyone with the ability and knowledge to read that source and do anything useful with it would certainly be competent enough to find the original project site and access the presumed supported version of that source code.

    The Stallman notion of creating all these additional sites is just a vanity fair sort of appeasment of an overworked ego in my opinion.

    When it comes to disclosing something that is a true improvement on the original, the rules change dramatically and the essential issue of license vs contract or a mixture of the two becomes important. In general, despite Mr. Oiaohm’s confusion over how licenses and contracts work, the existence of marketable value brings in the concept of “consideration” when that value is to be transferred to another party.

    If the owner of the intellectual property, namely the author in these situations, chooses to disclose the source, that is well and good and the GPL is not necessary to compel that disclosure. If the owner wants to keep the information secret, however, there is an apparent problem.

    The GPL seeks to deny a copyright to anyone who might choose to not disclose their improvement while freely granting that copyright to anyone who makes no improvement to begin with. Many IP attorneys are of the opinion that the grant of license with no conditions is primary and that the requirement to disclose the source code for changes is a contractual issue that cannot be enforced due to lack of any consideration given to the author who improves the software.

    It is a significant issue, I think, but in reality, there has never been any case filed where this term was asserted under that circumstance.

    I do not think that it ever will be the case, since the whole thing is too difficult to prove or to even detect. No one in their right mind would take a major GPL program, say Open Office or Linux itself or MySQL, and try to fob it off on the world as a proprietary product, even if they could come up with some useful improvements on the original. These products are too mature and there is no reason for anyone to buy them since they are free of charge to begin with. They are not all that well received even as freeware, so any commercial impetus is missing from any attempt to proprietize them.

    Small projects are relatively obscure to begin with and any sort of source “pirate” can easily disguise the origins of whatever source is being used and external look and fell is easily modified as well. With no source disclosure, it is likely impossible to be able to tell. As an added effect, such modification of the original source to disguise it may actually create a unique expression of its own under the copyright laws and the whole situation is moot.

  14. oiaohm wrote, “technically GPL does not grant copyright.

    Grants the right to alter and modify. But under strict conditions.”

    Copyright is the right to copy, modify and distribute. GPL grants that and more for software. Technically, GPL does not transfer ownership of copyright but it gives the end user all the rights of the creator except the right to change the licence and distribute modifications without source code. Some make a big deal of that but it is a neat tradeoff for the privilege of accessing the software made by others cheaply. The naysayer always seem to forget that huge plus.

  15. twitter says:

    Oldman is himself when he says, ” the freedom to mooch on other peoples work is a great one…” This is the one “freedom” that the GPL blocks and that’s why it works and we have a tremendous software commons that’s the basis of every web based company and most of the non free software world. Take away GCC and GNU/Linux and the world would look much like it did 20 years ago.

  16. oiaohm says:

    Robert Pogson technically GPL does not grant copyright.

    Grants the right to alter and modify. But under strict conditions.

    Really the road blocks to GPL for non conformance are basically the same conditions that bop you over head when using some demo products.

  17. Clarence Moon wrote, “That part of the GPL has not been tested, or even tentatively asserted anywhere.”

    There’s a reason for that. Everyone knows the GPL is a valid licence and means what it says. The owner of a work can put any condition he wants on copying so the GPL is just fine legally. The EULA of that other OS takes rights away from the user and the GPL grants virtually all copyright to the user. It’s quite different. Requiring the source code and the licence to accompany the code is a sound model.

  18. oiaohm says:

    Clarence Moon keep on telling yourself fairy tails

    Be very careful Clarence Moon the same framework GPL uses to add restrictions is the same framework EULA ms uses is based on. Limitation on usage.

    If GPL limitation on usage is not enforceable most likely neither is MS EULA. Nothing says that software has to be only paid for in cash.

    Go read many of the academic products from MS. Worse conditions exist. Microsoft forbid commercial usage.

    There have been cases over non released driver source code. Most cases over GPL settle out of court.

    Basically what reason does a MS EULA have to place more conditions than an Apache license. Now wake up how big of a idiot you are being Clarence Moon. GPL is design to use the same limitations commercial licenses allow to enforce source code release.

    GPL is not some magical software license. Its rewritten EULA.

  19. Clarence Moon says:

    There are a small handful of meaningless cases that touched on the GPL and it is somewhat telling that there is so little of anything on the record, even world-wide (to include the Berlin city court). There is nothing that pertains to the GPL as a license that is different from the Apache or MIT licenses, though. That is the central issue here.

    It is easy to license something and not care what happens, as is the case with the Apache license. It is quite another to try to estop developers from having a right to their own creations by claiming that their development was based on some GPL work and so is forever free to one and all. That part of the GPL has not been tested, or even tentatively asserted anywhere.

    The SFLC actions only require the posting of copies of the BusyBox library source that is already available far and wide.

  20. oiaohm says:

    Clarence Moon the point is you are completely not researched on the topic.

    You start at Wallace Vs FSF there are some clear statement of fact on the legal state of the GPL license by judge. Tested and ruled as part of that case.

    Wallace tried a stack of get out of methods in one case.

    There are many cases over GPL in the USA courts. So far no party has ever one. Sections of GPL are 100 percent solid in the USA. All you need to to start pulling the case law.

    You said it had not been tested. The fact of the matter is even a case like Wallace Vs FSF makes it part tested. Its not anti-competitive.

  21. “in the USA” is hardly relevant. I am a citizen of the world.

    1. 2006 – GPL upheld in German court
    2. 2006 – A US court relied on the GPL in making its ruling:
      “As alleged, the GPL in no way forecloses other operating systems from entering the market. Instead, it merely acts as a means by which certain software may be copied, modified and redistributed without violating the software’s copyright protection. As such, the GPL encourages, rather than discourages, free competition and the distribution of computer operating systems, the benefits of which directly pass to consumers.”
    3. 2006 – The Society of Automotive Engineers attempted to tax software released under the GPL by others and was beaten in court. The software stayed Free.
    4. 2004 – IBM filed a motion for summary judgment against SCO for violation of the GPL. This motion may actually be resolved this year because the case is now alive again.
  22. oiaohm says:

    Andersen v Monsoon Multimedia Inc is another one to look up they got all the way to supreme court before folding in the USA.

    Monsoon Multimedia Inc lost even single round to GPL.

    Sections of GPL are well and truly tested. Anyone claiming that GPL is not tested in the USA is a FUD spreader. Sections of particular GPL license have not been tested in the USA or anywhere else yet. But the core of all GPL licenses is tested that you must release source. It maybe some of the extra clauses that don’t hold up.

    Now since I know the core of GPL holds up if I am breach of that I would kinda be settling before I get ass kicked.

  23. Clarence Moon says:

    go read Wallace Vs FSF

    What do you use for a brain, Mr. Oiaohm? Vanilla pudding? Chocolate? Please tell us!

    That case was just a zany claim made by some nut job that the GPL was a violation of the antitrust laws because it prevented Wallace from charging for stuff that was free under the GPL. It was dismissed and nothing was established about the validity of the GPL as a license. In fact, it was termed a “contract”, which is an issue that the FSF is very much opposed to having declared in court, since there are beaucoup ways to infringe if that were the case.

    Go back and get a better education. Come back here when you think that you can stick to the subject at hand.

  24. oiaohm says:

    Clarence Moon
    “You say that, Mr. Pogson, but can you point a single case in the USA where that has been the test and binding judgement? No? Well, you should not say things that are not true.”
    Come out of flip-in fairy land.

    It is tested in USA Courts go read Wallace Vs FSF.

    GPLv2 is 100 percent binding in the USA.

    http://lwn.net/Articles/177293/

    So at least part of GPLv3 is valid. Patent section of GPLv3 has not been tested yet. I don’t expect it to be any time soon.

    See Clarence Moon loves either unresearched stuff or making stuff up on fly. The exact thing you accuse me of you are 100 percent gulity of.

    There are very few court cases over GPL since most parties looking at GPL have every found a weakness worth attempting. So far every single attempt world wide has ending in nasty big failure to the person attacking GPL.

    dougman
    “Nothing is stopping someone from taking the open source parts of the code and use them on another device, that is all the license guarantees, it doesn’t guarantee you the right to use hardware that comes with GPL code on it, for whatever you want to use it for or to “modify in place”.”

    That is something that still needs to be fully tested out.

    http://mrpogson.com/2011/11/10/court-upholds-the-gpl/

    German court has up held that if product contains GPL end user was giving a legal right to modify to braking the Digital Rights Management on the device is legal to replace the firmware since you are a authorised party to alter the device.

    Question that has never been tested is if the rights of GPL must be given on the hardware.

    The worst fact about this by not releasing the required source code the full rom image falls under GPL the highest bundled into it. There are some very expensive lessons here. It is very wise if handling GPL code to release the alterations. Number two it might be very stupid to attempt to tell someone they cannot replace a firmware you might be legally in the wrong to say that.

  25. Clarence Moon says:

    The GPL was drafted by competent professional lawyers and has been tested in court and found binding

    You say that, Mr. Pogson, but can you point a single case in the USA where that has been the test and binding judgement? No? Well, you should not say things that are not true.

  26. oldman says:

    Mr. K spoke from his fundament:

    “When you find the need to use words like “commune” to describe people who support the GPL, you have nothing to stand on. Try it again without straining reality.”

    My words were chosen quote deliberately. The fact that you may not like their reality is not my problem.

    Try being more civil κόροιβος

  27. kozmcrae says:

    @ldman regurgitated:

    “I thank them for being respectful that not everybody whats go give away their work for nothing to some commune.”

    When you find the need to use words like “commune” to describe people who support the GPL, you have nothing to stand on. Try it again without straining reality.

  28. Ivan says:

    That’s fine that you think everyone should use the gpl, Bob, but please stop telling us it is about freedom when you are being a license nazi. d-;

  29. oldman says:

    “You can thank them when they do.”

    I thank them for being respectful that not everybody whats go give away their work for nothing to some commune.

    What they do with their efforts is their business.

  30. kozmcrae says:

    Clarence and his Ego said: “I think that the GPL is totally unnecessary and is a detriment to the notion of open source software, Mr. Pogson.”

    Of course you think that Clarence. Why would you think anything else?

    Clarence and his Ego also said: “Their license is simple, namely, “Here it is, do what you want, but you can’t use our name. We won’t sue unless you use our name and so violate our trademark.” Now that is free and open.”

    Are you suggesting there is only one “free and open”?

    @ldman said: “Fortunately, companies like Google are mindful of content creators who don’t just want to give away thousands of man hours of work into some sort of software commune.”

    What do content creators have to do with the GPL? I’ve never heard of a movie being released under the GPL. The Creative Commons maybe.

    Do you mean software developers? If so are you speaking of Google’s custom version of Linux they use for their own servers or Android? If you are speaking of Android they will be “giving away thousands of man hours” to the community of the World.

    You can thank them when they do.

  31. oldman says:

    “Expand your mind and look beyond the ‘now’ and envision the possibilities and freedom. ”

    Yes indeed, the freedom to mooch on other peoples work is a great one…

    NOT!

    You really need to learn to keep you hands out of other peoples pockets sir.

  32. dougman says:

    Its all good!

    Opensource software is just the beginning, the next big thing is opensource hardware, opensource music, opensource movies, government, etc. Expand your mind and look beyond the ‘now’ and envision the possibilities and freedom.

    Re: LibreOffice, it was the best damn thing that could have happened.Now if they can keep the upgrade cycle consistent then its a big win.

    I agree with Linus in that one of the great things about open source software is that it allows people to build great products, including some great proprietary products, both hardware and software. Why create impediments to that process?

    The four freedoms that the FSF promotes are very much intact even here, you still have every right to:

    1) run the open source software for any purpose
    2) study and adapt the code
    3) distribute it
    4) take the open source code they used and modify it, and distribute modifications

    Nothing is stopping someone from taking the open source parts of the code and use them on another device, that is all the license guarantees, it doesn’t guarantee you the right to use hardware that comes with GPL code on it, for whatever you want to use it for or to “modify in place”.

    The GPL is working perfectly fine here, take the code and beat them, make something better, I dare you!

    D.

  33. oldman says:

    “I recommend the GPL. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux. These are licences and collections of software that empower users to get the best from IT by sharing.”

    Fortunately, companies like Google are mindful of content creators who don’t just want to give away thousands of man hours of work into some sort of software commune. They allow for the existence of closed source commercial software. The result IMHO adds to their success.

    As you say, its all good.

  34. Clarence Moon wrote of the GPL, “It does not need the dross of the amateur legalese imposed by the FSF.”

    The GPL was drafted by competent professional lawyers and has been tested in court and found binding.

  35. Clarence Moon says:

    I think that the GPL is totally unnecessary and is a detriment to the notion of open source software, Mr. Pogson. I don’t think that really matters much either way, though.

    If there is some situation where a common software base is mutually beneficial to the parties who contribute to that base and gain beneficial use of that base, the constant need to share is motivated sufficiently by the common cause itself. It does not need the dross of the amateur legalese imposed by the FSF. The huge success of Apache as a web server is testimony to that fact. The same is true of PHP 4, which is another non-GPL open source license.

    http://php.net/license/index.php

    Their license is simple, namely, “Here it is, do what you want, but you can’t use our name. We won’t sue unless you use our name and so violate our trademark.” Now that is free and open.

    The GPL, on the other hand, imposes additional restrictions, trying to force the “open” idea on everyone who touches it. A variety of companies were lured into using Linux because of the no-cost aspect of the code and have embedded it in routers, TVs, and a host of other “smart” devices. The FSF, through its SFLC bunch has been harassing many legitimate companies who are using Linux and its auxiliary software in their product, suing them over their failure to provide web access to the BusyBox library. Nothing much has come from those suits, but it has to weigh on the minds of managers who might otherwise choose to use Linux embedded in their product but who do not want to draw the FSF loonies into their business.

    Publishing a copy of the BusyBox source used in the product is not much of a problem in this day and age, of course, but it is not very useful to anyone actually wanting to use BusyBox themselves. Anyone really doing development there would most likely go to the original source site and get the latest if they were at all competent to use it.

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