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[Discuss] OSS licenses

Rich Pieri wrote:
> The GPL binds software to itself. It is in this way that
> GPL projects like the Linux kernel have taken from BSD without giving
> anything back.

But that's precisely what BSD developers want!

If they valued keeping source code viewable and having the changes
contributed back for public good above all else, they would have chosen
a GPL-like license.

For every case of a GPL project borrowing from BSD, there are probably
thousands of cases of commercial users also borrowing from BSD that
never contribute back. You simply aren't aware of it because it isn't
visible. (Citing Apple and a few other exceptions hardly diminishes this

Are you upset over those? Why should a corporation get a pass on being a
good community member while a GPL project does not?

Perhaps an open source project should be held to a higher standard,
which is an arguable point, but they're still adhering to the spirit and
letter of the BSD "do whatever you want" license.

> They can't. Derivatives of GPL software are themselves
> GPL software.

There is in fact a solution to this problem, which we all know as
dual-licensing. The developer borrowing the BSD code could dual-license
the derivative portion, so that BSD developers would be free to
integrate the enhancements.

As far as I know, this rarely happens, which is unfortunate, as I do
think other projects, regardless of their native license, should
contribute back to their upstream sources.


Tom Metro
Venture Logic, Newton, MA, USA
"Enterprise solutions through open source."
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