Why not attack the Dual-License GPL model?

Joel West svosrp at gmail.com
Wed Apr 13 00:40:41 UTC 2005

On 9:22 PM -0700 4/11/05, Bruce Perens doth scribe:
>Joel West wrote:
> >Why not attack the dual license GPL model?
> >
>Mostly because this model leaves the power to circumvent a bad partner
>in every developer's hands. The GPL does not contain any initial
>developer grant. Instead, the initial developer depends on other parties
>voluntarily entering into a copyright assignment or granting a right to
>relicense. In general the initial developer will not accept code into
>their own tree without that grant, but everyone is free to operate their
>own tree which requires no such grant.

The dual license GPL is as asymmetrical for commercial developers as the MPL or EPL. Only one entity has to grant non-reciprocal licenses to the large number of corporate users who want one. (Hence Marten Mickos' venture capital and growing sales figures).

So the difference is only for non-commercial developer, such as a university or hobbyist. Under both licenses, they can make changes but must give the changes back. Yes, you're right that under the GPL they can fork and start their own tree without the original author's permission.

But if (as data suggests) most of the labor today on the major projects is being done on some employer's dime, is this latter difference as important as the former similarity?


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