From: Paul Boddie on
On 9 Mai, 09:05, Carl Banks <pavlovevide...(a)> wrote:
> Bottom line is, GPL hurts everyone: the companies and open source
> community.  Unless you're one of a handful of projects with sufficient
> leverage, or are indeed a petty jealous person fighting a holy war,
> the GPL is a bad idea and everyone benefits from a more permissive
> licence.

Oh sure: the GPL hurts everyone, like all the companies who have made
quite a lot of money out of effectively making Linux the new
enterprise successor to Unix, plus all the companies and individuals
who have taken the sources and rolled their own distributions.

It's not worth my time picking through your "holy war" rhetoric when
you're throwing "facts" like these around. As is almost always the
case, the people who see the merit in copyleft-style licensing have
clearly given the idea a lot more thought than those who immediately
start throwing mud at Richard Stallman because people won't let them
use some software as if it originated in a (universally acknowledged)
public domain environment.


P.S. And the GPL isn't meant to further the cause of open source: it's
meant to further the Free Software cause, which is not at all the same
thing. Before you ridicule other people's positions, at least get your
terminology right.
From: Paul Boddie on
On 9 Mai, 07:09, Patrick Maupin <pmau...(a)> wrote:
> See, for example, Apple's
> support of BSD, Webkit, and LLVM.  Apple is not a "do no evil"
> corporation, and their contributions back to these packages are driven
> far more by hard-nosed business decisions than by any expectation of
> community goodwill.

This being the same Apple that is actively pursuing software patent
litigation against other organisations; a company which accuses other
companies of promoting closed solutions while upholding some of the
most closed and restrictive platforms in widespread use. Your
definition of "do no evil" is obviously more relaxed than mine.

From: Paul Boddie on
On 8 Mai, 22:05, Patrick Maupin <pmau...(a)> wrote:
> On May 8, 2:38 pm, Steven D'Aprano <st...(a)REMOVE-THIS-
> >
> > No, you don't *owe* them anything, but this brings us back to Ben's
> > original post. If you care about the freedoms of Cisco's customers as
> > much as you care about the freedoms of Cisco, then that's a good reason
> > to grant those customers the same rights as you granted Cisco.
> But I *do* grant them the same rights -- they can come to my site and
> download my software!!!

Of course they can, but it doesn't mean that they can run that
software on the Cisco equipment they've bought, nor does it mean that
the original software can interoperate with the modified software,
that the end-user can enhance the original software in a way that they
prefer and have it work with the rest of the Cisco solution, or that
the data produced by the Cisco solution can be understood by a user-
enhanced version of the original solution or by other software that
normally interoperates with the original software. People often argue
that the GPL only cares about the software's freedom, not the
recipient's freedom, which I find to be a laughable claim because if
one wanted to point at something the GPL places higher than anything
else, it would be the "four freedoms" preserved for each user's

Really, copyleft licences are all about treating all recipients of the
software and modified versions or extensions of the software in the
same way: that someone receiving the software, in whatever state of
enhancement, has all the same privileges that the individual or
organisation providing the software to them enjoyed; those "four
freedoms" should still apply to whatever software they received. That
this is achieved by asking that everyone make the same commitment to
end-user freedoms (or privileges), yet is seen as unreasonable or
actually perceived as coercion by some, says a great deal about the
perspective of those complaining about it.


> So, that gets back to my argument
> about what I like to see in a package I use, and how I license things
> according to what I would like see.  For me, the golden rule dictates
> that when I give a gift of software, I release it under a permissive
> license.  I realize that others see this differently.

Yes, but what irritates a lot of people is when you see other people
arguing that some other random person should license their own
software permissively because it's "better" or "more free" when what
they really mean is that "I could use it to make a proprietary


> To me, the clear implication of the blanket statement that you have to
> use the GPL if you care at all about users is that anybody who doesn't
> use the GPL is uncaring.

Well, if you want the users to enjoy those "four freedoms" then you
should use a copyleft licence. If you choose a permissive licence then
it more or less means that you don't care about (or have no particular
position on the matter of) the users being able to enjoy those
privileges. I believe you coined the term "uncaring", but I think Mr
Finney's statement stands up to scrutiny.

From: Steven D'Aprano on
On Sat, 08 May 2010 13:05:21 -0700, Patrick Maupin wrote:

> certainly the
> risk of discovery if you just use a small portion of GPL code and don't
> distribute your source must be very small. There are certainly fewer
> companies getting away with MIT license violations, simply because the
> license is so much harder to violate.

Do you really think it is harder for copyright infringers to copy and
paste a small portion of MIT-licenced code and incorporate it into their
code than it is for them to do the same to GPL code?

> If I produce something under the MIT license, it's because I
> want to give it away with no strings.

A reasonable position to take. But no strings means that others can add
strings back again. You're giving people the freedom to actively work
against the freedoms you grant.

This is very similar to (e.g.) the question of tolerance and free speech.
In the West, society is very tolerate of differing viewpoints. Does this
mean that we should tolerate intolerant and bigoted viewpoints? Does
tolerance for other points of view imply that we should just accept it
when the intolerant tell us to change our behaviour? Perhaps some people
think that tolerance implies that we should quietly acquiesce whenever
the intolerant, racist, sexist and bigoted demand we give up our
tolerance and free speech in the name of tolerating their hateful
beliefs. I prefer David Brin's philosophy:

"We have to go forth and crush every world view that doesn't believe in
tolerance and free speech."

If you value tolerance, then tolerating the intolerant is self-defeating.
And if you value freedom, then giving others the freedom to take freedoms
away is also self-defeating. In the long term, a free society may come to
regret the existence of MIT-style licences -- to use a rather old-
fashioned phrase, these licences give comfort and support to the enemy
(those who would deny freedoms to everyone but themselves).

But in the short term, as I have said, one can't fight every battle all
the time, and MIT-style licences have their place. It's certainly true
that an MIT licence will allow you to maximise the number of people who
will use your software, but maximising the number of users is not the
only motive for writing software.

> If I'm
> going to use any prebuilt components, those *can't* be licensed under
> the GPL if I want to deliver the final package under the MIT license.

An over generalisation. It depends on the nature of the linkage between
components. For instance, you can easily distribute a GPLed Python module
with your application without the rest of your application being GPLed.

> To me, the clear implication of the blanket statement that you have to
> use the GPL if you care at all about users is that anybody who doesn't
> use the GPL is uncaring. I think that's a silly attitude, and will
> always use any tool at hand, including sarcasm, to point out when other
> people try to impose their own narrow sense of morality on others by
> painting what I perceive to be perfectly normal, moral, decent, and
> legal behavior as somehow detrimental to the well-being of the species
> (honestly -- ebola???)

In context, you were implying that "freedoms" are always a good, and that
more freedom always equals better. I provided a counter-example of where
more freedom can be a bad. What's so difficult to understand about this?

From: Paul Boddie on
On 9 Mai, 19:55, Steven D'Aprano <st...(a)REMOVE-THIS-> wrote:
> Patrick said that Apple is NOT a "do no evil" company.

Yes, apologies to Patrick for reading something other than what he
wrote. I suppose I've been reading too many Apple apologist
commentaries of late and probably started to skim the text after I hit
the all-too-often mentioned trinity of "BSD, Webkit, and LLVM",
expecting to be asked to sing the praises of Apple's wholesome
"commitment" to open source.