"viral" (was RE: Licensing options for firmware)

Anderson, Kelly KAnderson at dentrix.com
Wed Apr 6 17:15:05 UTC 2005

As a relative newbie to the open source concept, I actually appreciate
the term viral as I find it more descriptive of what the GPL is all
about than the more obscure term "copyleft". In my ignorance, I
initially thought that GPL code could be used in any way, including to
create commercial for profit software. I just figured if I found any
bugs, or improved the code I was originally given, I would give it back
to the original author to do with what he wanted. When I heard the term
viral, I "got it" and understood the underlying premise more clearly.

I don't have any hostility towards the GPL, it obviously works for a lot
of things. I am unsure as to whether it's the "right" license for me,
but I have nothing but admiration for those who do use it. Nevertheless,
"viral" is an accurate and meaning-filled word for those of us who
haven't spent the last ten years studying the nuances of every open
source license. Copyleft doesn't carry the same amount of meaning for
the general public.


-----Original Message-----
From: Evan Prodromou [mailto:evan at bad.dynu.ca] 
Sent: Wednesday, April 06, 2005 6:38 AM
To: Open Source License Discussion List
Subject: "viral" (was RE: Licensing options for firmware)

On Tue, 2005-04-05 at 21:01 -0700, Joel West wrote:

> Some restrictions (like the viral clauses of the GPL or LGPL) [...]

Oof. Is there a reason you use that awful term, "viral", instead of
"copyleft"? Ignorance, hostility, or something else?


Evan Prodromou
evan at bad.dynu.ca

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