License Proliferation

Rod Dixon, J.D., LL.M. roddixon at
Tue Sep 6 01:52:00 UTC 2005

.... Original Message .......
On Mon, 05 Sep 2005 10:08:40 +0100 Alex Bligh <alex at> wrote:
>--On 05 September 2005 09:34 +0200 Lasse Reichstein Nielsen 
><atwork at> wrote:
>>> I don't think anyone would argue against the idea that anythingthat
>>> impairs code reuse between projects is a bad thing.
>> I don't think everybody thinks impairing reuse between projects is bad.
>No they don't. Those who license their code under the GPL take a conscious
>decision to prevent code reuse under other licenses (e.g. BSD) and they see
>this is a good thing not a bad (I am NOT saying in any way this is a bad
>thing or a wrong view). For instance, if you want to write (say) a device
>driver, you can GPL your code, BSD your code, or dual BSD/GPL your code. If
>your prime use is Linux, all of the above will work. But if you chose GPL
>only, you ensure your code can't be (re)used in (say) FreeBSD. That is an
>entirely conscious decision for many people (who are aware of this), they
>do it for the reasons the FSF sets out, but it is there to deliberately
>impair code reuse (and a fortiori to stop use in commercial projects).

These are interesting points; for one, it's clear that the GPL cannot, 
itself, constitute a clear instance of license proliferation, yet some seem 
to be arguing that the GPL burdens code sharing/reuse.  I guess I would not 
agree that the GPL should not be a tier 1 license.  Certainly, you cannot 
share code under the GPL with code licensed under an incompatible license, 
but that is the clear intent of the GPL.  Hence, if the GPL is viewed as 
burdening code sharing, then we are no longer referring to license 
proliferation; instead, the project, as someone else has noted, is to *tier 
away* licenses that are copy-left.

- Rod

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