License Proliferation

Michael Bernstein webmaven at
Mon Sep 5 03:20:36 UTC 2005

On Sun, 2005-09-04 at 22:12 -0400, Russell Nelson wrote:
> Matthew Seth Flaschen writes:
>  > The GPL protects what the FSF has identified as the fundamental 
>  > freedoms, namely
> None of which contradicts my point that the GPL splits the free
> software community into users of licenses compatible with the GPL, and
> users of licenses incompatible with the GPL.

While strictly speaking that's true, it's a somewhat ahistorical view.

The GPL has both been in existence and in widespread use longer than
most of the GPL-incompatible licenses, so blaming the GPL for the
existence of a 'split' seems counter-intuitive. The GPL-incompatible
licenses that predate or are roughly contemporary with the GPL have
largely since been amended to be GPL-compatible.

> If that's a bad thing
> for the free software community, then we are duty bound to say so.

By all means raise the issue of GPL-incompatibility, but don't blame the
GPL for it. For many of the license authors who have created
GPL-incompatible licenses, the incompatibility seems to have been a
feature, not a bug. Please apportion the blame accordingly.

- Michael Bernstein

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