The Failure of the GPL

saxon3049

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I have a dislike of the GPL, it is anti business not every company can afford to build a product linked to a GPL library or use code from another project that is under the GPL if it intends to keep the source closed or at least delaid.

The BSD licence hasn't really got this issue and to be frank with my own oppinion the only reason the BSD's are not ruling the free OS world is all the hype about Linux back in the .com bubble. I know if you look at the Linux world there seems to be a vast growth of wealth to be honest there is but as a service provider like a web host they will have way more Linux boxes than windows box's to there net benefit but very few companies really make a profit from GPL licensed software.

Just my opinion on the matter.
 

jrick

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I don't really see the GPL as anti-business or anti-capitalism because you can still provide services for the code (look at Red Hat for example). However, it certainly does not encourage business with its socialist-like terms. On the other hand, the BSD license is very pro-business and doesn't take a more neutral stance on using it for profits or not.
 

Eponasoft

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I find that the only people who are in love with the GPL are Linux zealots. Normal UNIX programmers, as well as the majority of Windows programmers, tend to shun the GPL in favor of either a BSD or zlib type license, or they close the source altogether with a proprietary license (more common with Windows programmers, of course). I detest the GPL personally.
 

vermaden

Son of Beastie

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Interesting quote from that article:
Even the Free Software Foundation can't manage to get it right.
Version 3 of the LGPL, for example, is incompatible with version
2 of the GPL.
This has caused a problem recently for a few GNU
library projects that wanted to move to LGPLv3 but were used
by other projects that were GPLv2-only.

The official stance is that projects shouldn't be v2-only, they
should always be v2-or-later. I'll let you try to persuade Linux
to switch. Oh, and good luck with PDF readers, too; the only
open source PDF readers at the moment are based on xpdf,
which is GPLv2-only. The FSF is frantically trying to write a
new PDF library to get around this limitation, and licensing it
as GPLv3-or-later.
 

Eponasoft

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There is a silver lining to the whole GPL issue though: enforcement. Like any license, its power is only legitimate when it can be enforced. When you get a license to drive a car, for example, the police enforce this rule. Here in PR though, thousands of people drive without a license, and it would only be known when someone is pulled over by the police and asked to produce their license, which in this case wouldn't exist. The police then have to enforce this "license abuse". The same scenario exists with GPLed programs. Who is there to enforce the license? And furthermore, how do you even prove that someone has violated the GPL? All you usually have is speculation and circumstantial evidence. One great example of the ineffectiveness of the GPL is the PySol project, which was unashamedly ripped from its author by several companies who claimed it to be their own, despite being "protected" by the GPL.

Furthermore, the GPL was, is, and always will be self-righteous. People actually believe that it will stop huge companies like Microsoft from using their work, as if they actually have something to fear..."my code is so great! I don't want Microsoft stealing it! I'll tack the GPL on it so they can't!" Which is yet another issue...the GPL gives developers a false sense of security. You include that pretty little license file in your distribution and you think you're all set, right? Think again. Anyone can simply delete that license file, change around your code just a little bit, rebuild it, and distribute the modified binary without source code and there's not a thing in the world you can do about it. A large company, who has more money than you ever will, can even steal your program, copyright it themselves using legal methods, and then turn around and sue YOU for copyright infringement on your own program.

Look up "GPL lawsuit" on Google and see how many unique items you find...recycled stories over and over again, mainly regarding the Monsoon suit a couple of years ago...amazing that it wasn't until almost two decades later that an actual case went to court regarding the license. Effective? May the Linux zealots continue to believe that...
 
OP
DutchDaemon

DutchDaemon

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[ thread split off, and posts merged ]
 

oldduffer

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Hehe, people are finally catching on to this dilemma?

About 12 years ago, Mr. Stallman and I had a very lengthy discussion about the GPL and what constitutes 'free'. While I respect the mans intelligence...I have to say I've never really found the GPL to be 'free' in what I consider that term to mean.

I'm not saying what Mr. Stallman has advocated is 'bad' or 'wrong'. That's not really material. What is material, however, is how the GPL is structured and the limitations it imposes on the free software world (as discussed in that article).
 

oliverh

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fonz said:
Whoa, nice bump :e

I do sometimes wonder what the software world would look like if everyone just used PHK's beerware license :p

Alphons

Lots of drunk developers? :D
 

Alt

Aspiring Daemon

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/*
* ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
* "THE BEER-WARE LICENSE" (Revision 42):
* <phk@FreeBSD.ORG> wrote this file. As long as you retain this notice you
* can do whatever you want with this stuff. If we meet some day, and you think
* this stuff is worth it, you can buy me a beer in return Poul-Henning Kamp
* ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
*/
Whahaha thats software muuch free than gpl is)))
 

monty_hall

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If I could associate a song(s) w/ GPL it would be "kumbaya" as sung by Joan Baez or "Get together" by the Young Bloods. In this context, Ubuntu seems an apt name.

The license is one of the main reasons that I use FreeBSD.
 

fronclynne

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monty_hall said:
If I could associate a song(s) w/ GPL it would be "kumbaya" as sung by Joan Baez or "Get together" by the Young Bloods. In this context, Ubuntu seems an apt name.

The license is one of the main reasons that I use FreeBSD.

I was thinking more like "Revolution" by the Ring^H^H^H^HBeatles:
But if you go carryin' pictures of Chairman Mao,
You ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow.
 

Eponasoft

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You wanna know what the real failure of the GPL is? The fact that it's written in wordy, eloquence-wannabe legalese that very few laypeople can actually read and understand. The vast majority of people who use the GPL or obtain GPL-licensed software don't even understand the license because it's written for lawyers. A license that isn't understandable is a useless license.
 

dennylin93

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Eponasoft said:
You wanna know what the real failure of the GPL is? The fact that it's written in wordy, eloquence-wannabe legalese that very few laypeople can actually read and understand. The vast majority of people who use the GPL or obtain GPL-licensed software don't even understand the license because it's written for lawyers. A license that isn't understandable is a useless license.

+1

I first saw the MIT license. It was quite short and easy to understand. The same went for the BSD license. After that, I saw the GPL. My head just went dizzy.
 

OJ

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The GPL does seem to reflect the mirror image of the old proprietary model quite well. Isn't that what it set out to do? Copy left and right are part of the same game - joined at the hip. Personally I think that putting any restrictions on distributed software is just plain rude. :)

I did read the article however, and noted that the author had to use quite a lot of contortion in order to make his point - sometimes even ignoring the obvious in the process.

BTW, is anybody here aware of any good points about the GPL? If there are any good points to copy-right then I would guess that a related situation would exist with copy-left.
 

Alt

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OJ said:
BTW, is anybody here aware of any good points about the GPL?
Sure: good corporations must share their develops when gpl inolved. When they do, it gives 'backport' of new features to 'parent' project. But i guess they dont :p
 

fronclynne

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OJ said:
is anybody here aware of any good points about the GPL?

It keeps those Evil Corporations (Who Are Only Doing IT For The Oil, Money, Power, Profit Margins, Rapacity, Board Of Directors, Cabal of Illuminatis, Tri-Lateral Commission, Habsburg DeBeers Clown Party in Sweden Feeding After Midnight (& don't get them wet)) from Stealing Stallman's Software.

If only we had had the GPL in 1895 when that patent troll Selden took over the automobile industry. Thank goodness Stallman was here to keep Microsoft from dominating the computer industry.
 

phatfish

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There should always be a full spectrum of opinions in any society, the Liberals keep check on the Conservatives, and vice-versa. Most people lie in the middle somewhere (where i guess i do too), but i thank the nut jobs at each end of the spectrum for for a sane middle ground.

Now i'm not necessarily saying that Stallman is a nut job :)p), but i do thank him for standing on the free software (beer & speech) end of the scales and balancing it out for us against the corporations, which -- lets face it -- would be happy to screw us over if it made them more money.

Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, RedHat etc. still put out software and make money doing so, many using GPL'ed software themselves.

BSD feels like a middle ground to me.
 

roddierod

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Until I get the bugs worked out of my program to bring world peace, I don't really worry about these software license wars but in regards to the GPL, I always had the feeling that some lawyer could argue that all GPL'd software belonged to GNU Project/Free Software Foundation and that all proceeds should revert to them...don't know why but that what I got from reading it the first time.
 

Eponasoft

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fronclynne said:
It keeps those Evil Corporations (Who Are Only Doing IT For The Oil, Money, Power, Profit Margins, Rapacity, Board Of Directors, Cabal of Illuminatis, Tri-Lateral Commission, Habsburg DeBeers Clown Party in Sweden Feeding After Midnight (& don't get them wet)) from Stealing Stallman's Software.

If only we had had the GPL in 1895 when that patent troll Selden took over the automobile industry. Thank goodness Stallman was here to keep Microsoft from dominating the computer industry.
This post is made of pure win.:beergrin
 
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