GNU License for Hardware
rms at gnu.org
Wed Oct 20 01:05:29 UTC 1999
I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of software
developers believe that the software that they write is "theirs",
no matter who uses it.
You are probably right. And the vast majority develop proprietary
software. I developed the GPL because I disagree with the majority.
This also applies for most developers
distributing their software under the GPL.
I, like you, cannot read the minds of these authors to be certain what
they think. However, as the author of the GPL and its leading (in a
sense) user, I believe you are mistaken.
Otherwise, the developer who does not believe the software to be theirs
wouldn't not restrict it in any way to the user.
This is the kind of argument that is falsified by one exception, and I
know for certain about one exception--namely me. I do not consider
the programs I write "mine" in the sense that you are talking about.
I think of myself as their custodian on behalf of humanity, not their
However, I know that copyright law considers me the owner, and allows
me to choose the distribution terms for the programs. So I choose the
distribution terms that I think are best for the community in general.
That way I fulfull what I see as my responsibility as custodian
of the software.
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