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Re: [ba-ohs-talk] More bad news about the GPL License: Fwd: [Gxl] GCC Licencing and XML extracts

At 12:50 PM 4/25/2002 +0000, you wrote:
>Richard Stallman wrote:
>>I do use the GNU GPL; what I don't do is support the open source
>>movement.  It was formed in 1998 specifically to reject the idealism
>>of the free software movement which I founded.  Ever since, their
>>publicity has put their name on the operating system we developed, on
>>the community we built, and even on our selves.  If you have seen articles
>>associate me with "open source", that is the reason why.
>>Please see http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-software-for-freedom.html
>>for a full explanation.
>Thanks for posting this. It's quite compelling, and I agree and
>am reconsidering the license for my upcoming Java application
>Ceryle. I need to understand better what the ramifications will
>be with each license, what restrictions each entails for both
>acceptance and reuse.
>I do, however, very much see the point of *both* the Free Software
>and Open Source movements. Coming recently from Sun Microsystems
>I can say that there is a struggle there to understand how to build
>a justifiable business model that includes open source, ie., even
>a company with as much in the way of resources and capital as Sun
>has to be profitable in the end; not everything can be a "loss
>leader" (which I believe Java is). It's easier for entities
>(whether individuals or companies) to be idealistic about this when
>they have a regular cash flow, so as the financial climate in
>silicon valley has diminished, the "freedom from their shareholders"
>that many companies had several years ago has also diminished.
>Murray    (01)

Murray's comment here forced me to go back and find the specific issues I 
have problems with regarding *free* software. Let me quote from a couple of 
places in the above-referenced article:    (02)

"At a trade show in late 1998, dedicated to the operating system often 
referred to as ``Linux'', the featured speaker was an executive from a 
prominent software company. He was probably invited on account of his 
company's decision to ``support'' that system. Unfortunately, their form of 
``support'' consists of releasing non-free software that works with the 
system-r-in other words, using our community as a market but not 
contributing to it. "    (03)

and    (04)

"The point that he missed is the point that ``open source'' was designed 
not to raise: the point that users deserve freedom. "    (05)

And, a bit from 
http://www.itworld.com/AppDev/350/LWD010523vcontrol4/pfindex.html, Joe 
Barr's defense of GPL:    (06)

Enumeration of the benefits:
"Users are free to use the program for any purpose.
Users are free to examine the source code to see how it works.
Users are free to distribute the program to others.
Users are free to improve the program. "    (07)

"Why does Microsoft care about these differences in open source Licenses? 
Well, they have made good use of code from the various BSD projects. 
Because the BSD licenses are not "copyleft" licenses, anyone is welcome to 
use their code and to "lock it up" behind their own closed, proprietary 
licenses. That is exactly what Microsoft and others have done. The GPL 
doesn't allow that."    (08)

Now, I have an opinion here.  It's just my opinion. I'm extremely certain 
that I'm not saying anything that hasn't been said before.    (09)

I believe that Stallman created his license as a basic human reaction to 
the abuses of the "non-free" software industry.  Rightly so, I think.  He's 
looking at *freedom*, but, read all of the above and that freedom extends, 
I think, only to *users*.  Yes, I like that freedom.  Nothing abusive to 
users or producers about that concept. But, no mention of the freedoms of 
producers (who, btw, are also users).    (010)

The comment about Microsoft's abuse of BSD is appropriate.  As I recall, 
correct me if I'm wrong here, MS used some kerboros code, modified it, then 
tried to lock it up as proprietary.  In really bad taste, if that's what 
happened.  But, it doesn't take the GPL to provide protections there.  It 
seems to me that LGPL does so as well.    (011)

The benefit "Users are free to use the program for any purpose" listed by 
Joe Barr is misleading.  To me, *any purpose* is simply NOT a freedom of 
the GPL.  The points Murray raise make that clear.    (012)

As I understand *true* (whatever that means) freedom, I should be free to 
do anything I like with some chunk of "open source" (call it whatever you 
like, I don't much care for often childish ontological debates) software, 
so long as I *do not* endanger the freedoms of others.  MS tweaking open 
source code, and making those tweaks proprietary clearly, to me, endangers 
the freedoms of others.  Somebody using some open source code as the basis 
for a patent on some process is another.  If I recall, GPL specifically 
talks about that; yes, there are some valuable clauses in the GPL.    (013)

But, when the GPL says I cannot mix and match software from BSD with GPL, 
I've got a huge problem.  GPL has clearly endangered my freedom.  I choose 
LGPL over GPL specifically, and perhaps only, for that reason.  That GPL 
does this has caused it to be known as a "viral" license.  Yes, I could 
dual license my stuff as Apache and GPL, but why do that.  Easier to 
satisfy the viral appetite of GPL by simply ignoring it and dual licensing 
Apache and LGPL, which appears to satisfy the GPL's appetite.    (014)

An earlier quote above said "Unfortunately, their form of ``support'' 
consists of releasing non-free software that works with the system-r-in 
other words, using our community as a market but not contributing to 
it."  Here, again, I think a point is missed altogether: by putting 
products into the "free" software arena that are not "free" doesn't hurt 
the movement, rather it *helps* the movement.  As an example, I personally 
suspect that many industrial users of operating systems would likely jump 
ship to Linux (excuse me: Gnu/Linux) if only they could have MS Office 
running on it -- which is precisely why Office is not now and may never be 
transliterated into that environment (don't look now: they've got it 
running on BSD!).    (015)

Summarizing this, I believe that I am claiming that Stallman's idea of 
*freedom*, while originally inspired for good cause, is not *freedom* at 
all, since it does not offer equal protection under the laws it tries to use.    (016)

Jack    (017)