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

Rodrigo Barbosa rodrigob at suespammers.org
Tue Apr 12 17:59:35 UTC 2005

Hash: SHA1

On Wed, Apr 06, 2005 at 06:56:21PM +0100, Alex Bligh wrote:
> >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".
> The least perjorative and most accurate term is "reciprocal license".
> IE "If I license my stuff to you on these terms, you agree to license
> your stuff to anyone else on the same terms".

My language skills are known to be flawed, but isn't reciprocal
more like:

"If I license my stuff to you on these terms, you agree to license
your stuff to ME on the same terms".

Even tho the politicaly correct people don't like the word "viral",
you have to admit it is used widely everywhere. And so you should expect
encountering it all the time. Just going into "bash them" mode doesn't
help, and only hurts the open source movement. I mean, all this name
calling and spiting on one another thing is as fun as hell, but it
simply doesn't help. Not to mention all those "hostility, check"

There are many ways to describe that aspect of the GPL license.
I don't mind viral. Even tho a not perfect descritive term, it gets
close to the mark. It is not a bad thing either. Maybe people
should focus on explaining why that aspect of the license is a good
thing (like a few here did), instead of fighting the word. A rose
by any other name ?

I find "reciprocal license" a much more misleading expression than
viral, by the way. Share-alike is a bit better, but not perfect
either. Copyleft is completely obscure, and little better than
any other buzword. It tends to imply that the software has no
copyright on it, which is not true.

Call it "viral", "reciprocal", "share-alike", "chain-licensing",
or whatever, the fact is that the GPL is the GPL. It is not perfect.
Some people love it, some people hate it. It is not always the
single best solution, but it does what it was intended to do.
And sorry, it is not because of it that we have all these
nice tools and Linux. Lets not mix GNU with GPL. GPL is only
a license. FSF is not GPL either.

Now, can we please go back to the topic of this list ?

Thank you very much

- -- 
Rodrigo Barbosa <rodrigob at suespammers.org>
"Quid quid Latine dictum sit, altum viditur"
"Be excellent to each other ..." - Bill & Ted (Wyld Stallyns)

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