Ian Lance Taylor
ian at airs.com
Sat Nov 22 23:54:41 UTC 2003
Brian Behlendorf <brian at collab.net> writes:
> On Sat, 22 Nov 2003, Ian Lance Taylor wrote:
> > I think a better word here is ``sticky.'' The GPL is a sticky
> > license; once it is attached to code, it can't be removed. The BSD
> > license is not sticky; it can be removed (or at least the most
> > important provisions can).
> No, the terms in the BSD license can not be removed by someone
> redistributing the work, or even a derived work from a BSD-licensed work
> that is under a different license. One can *add* new terms, though,
> which the GPL forbids.
I still think ``sticky'' is a reasonable word to describe the effects
of the GPL. What the GPL does is make it difficult to add further
encumbrances to the code. ``Viral'' isn't a particularly good word
even apart from the negative connotations. The GPL doesn't ``infect''
non-GPL code; GPL code resists being linked with non-GPL code, but
it's a strictly passive process.
Using a military metaphor, a GPL program is a fortress; anybody can
come inside the fortress, but nobody can take it over. Under that
metaphor, the GPL is a ``fortifying'' license.
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