david at livemedia.com.au
Mon Sep 5 07:43:34 UTC 2005
Is this discussion heading way off track? It seems to be sliding
towards a general GPL idealisms vs the world discussion. I'm sure all
these things have been discussed many times before. Personally, I don't
think discussing the meaning of "open" and "free" are going to get us
This discussion I believe started because of discussions of whether a
license should be approved based on its compatibility with other
licenses. You will never be able to place code from any strong
copy-left license into BSD software. I think compatibility with other
licenses in its class would be helpful and encouraged. However, some
ideals may never allow compatibility.
There seems to be two camps growing on the list. The Darwinian camp who
believe that aslong as a license is conformant then let it out in the
wild and fend for itself. If it is successful then more people will use
it, may even improve it. If the license is not succesful it will be limp
off into a corner of the internet and die.
The other camp believe that the OSI have a strong duty to uphold a
higher standard and make it easier for businesses and individuals to
understand open source licenses. This should be achieved by raising the
bar of what needs to be achieved to get a license approved.
My preference is the Darwinian one. The biggest deciding factor behind
this is that as a developer I believe it is my choice to decide how I
will release my software. Making my software open source is one of a
number of options. I can choose to keep it on my PC and not share it at
all, I can choose to create a commercial business and sell the software
as closed source, or I can choose to make my software available with
source code. If I make it available with source code, there are plenty
of both OSI approved and non-approved licenses to choose from. In the
end it is my choice. If I make the wrong choice by picking an unpopular
license and it effects the take up or use of my software, then it will
be my choice to decide what to do next.
One of the common arguments for the other camp is that companies are
going to throw their hands up and say enough. Please, let them do it.
The solution will likely be that only a select number of licenses will
be chosen by them. If my software license doesn't conform then I need
to choose if I want to change it to meet their select license, or just
as possible, decide I don't mind that they won't accept the software.
Each business are also likely to have different requirements for their
license approval. I think the OSI performing that function is premature
and unlikely to meet everyones goals.
A couple of cents worth,
Ben Tilly wrote:
>On 9/4/05, Russell Nelson <nelson at crynwr.com> 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. If that's a bad thing
>>for the free software community, then we are duty bound to say so.
>I hate using the word "compatible" there.
>One would think that "compatible" indicated a reciprocal relationship.
> It does not. "GPL compatible" means that you can be incorporated
>into GPLed software. You generally can't incorporate GPLed software
>into anything that isn't GPLed. The limit of compatibility is a
>I'm not objecting to the GPL having these characteristics. I
>understand what it is designed to do, and some of the uses that others
>make of its properties. I merely object to using "compatible" to
>describe such an obviously one-sided relationship.
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