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[Discuss] Home NAS redux

On 01/02/2013 07:59 PM, Rich Pieri wrote:
> On Wed, 02 Jan 2013 16:57:39 -0500
> Mark Woodward <markw at> wrote:
>> The BSD license has allowed a great deal of software to be subverted
>> to the detriment of the various BSD projects. This is a perfect
>> example of how the BSD license does not protect your freedom. Granted
>> in an ironic way.
> Such as how the Linux kernel "borrowed" a bunch of *BSD device drivers
> for its own use without contributing improvements back to the *BSD
> kernel projects? Talk about irony.

Well, very little has been "borrowed" from the BSD kernel. I think 
mostly just the TCP stack, but that was mostly government funded, so 
that doesn't concern me too much. What about Linux threads on BSD?
> Meanwhile Apple, the biggest *BSD shop in the world, has contributed
> most of its *BSD changes back to the BSD kernel communities and most of
> its KHTML changes back to the KDE community and everyone who uses
> WebKit. A the same time, Apple was forced to stop contributing to GCC
> and dump it, along with Samba, due to the "fuck TiVo" clause in the
> GPLv3.

You are stating subjective opinion as fact and as such is not a 
debatable point. However, what was actually done by Tivo was against the 
spirit of the GPL and the FSF was more than justified. The spirit of the 
GPL is that the writers give their software to the users NOT the 
distributors. That is an important consideration. It is only when the 
distributors act counter to the user's do they violate the GPL. Tivo 
made the source code unusable because of intentional hardware choices. 
They were violating the user's rights, and that, if you have any 
integrity at all, must agree is actionable.

>> No one is forcing anyone to do anything. A software author chooses
>> the GPL to protect the users of his software. If you want to modify
>> or use GPL code, that was not originally written by you, then you
>> must abide by the GPL by which you acquired the software.
> Derivatives of GPL software are GPL software. This is a requirement of
> the GPL. Thus, while the Linux kernel can take code from the FreeBSD
> kernel just by keeping the BSD License text in that code, the FreeBSD
> kernel cannot reciprocate without changing the license for the entire
> FreeBSD code tree.

Not to nit pick, but that was the BSD licensor's choice. They made that 
decision and many corporations take and make changes to BSD code and you 
never even get to see what they changed. With GPL, you get to see what 
has changed, how it was changed, and why it was changed. The BSD guys 
may not be able to cut and paste, they can certainly see what what was done.
>   This is the force being used: accept the GPL for all
> of your software or you don't get to reap the benefits of collaboration
> with GPL software projects.

That is not force by any stretch of the imagination. It is a choice, 
nothing more.
> Who's freedoms are being protected here? Certainly not the FreeBSD
> developers' or users'. They're stuck between a rock (a software
> license they don't want) and a hard place (having their code taken from
> them without the takers giving anything back).

I disagree, completely. The freedoms being protected here are (1) The 
authors of the GPL portions of the code and (2) the down-stream users of 
the code. The down-stream users of the code are protected from someone 
who would take the code, modify it, and keep it away from them, and 
that, as stated, is not a freedom.

I am not sympathetic, in ANY WAY, to the plight of BSD cry babies. 
Companies steal their code on a regular basis and, many times, modify 
it, ever so slightly, so that it is incompatible with the original code. 
Remember Kerberos anyone? This is the result of their license and it 
happens EVERY DAY. At least with GPL, its done out in the open and they 
get to see what was done and they can choose to re-implement those 
changes in their code. The only thing that keeps them from using GPL 
code, is a license, the thing that keeps them from using anything 
Microsoft, IBM, or Apple do with their code is the fact that the code 
has been imprisoned and the owners of the code don't even get visitation 


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