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[Discuss] Why use Linux?

On Tue, 11 Feb 2014 20:37:41 -0500, Richard Pieri wrote:
> Robert Krawitz wrote:
>> Actually, I'd say that if anything the GPL is weighted toward
>> users-as-developers -- ensuring that users can be developers
>> themselves.
> At the expense of the original developers.

Depending upon the goals of the original developers.  Your arguments
below appear to apply to *any* FOSS license, not the GPL
specifically.  With one exception, that I'll discuss at the bottom
(and that exception is *not* the original developers at all).

> Try this on for size (this also addresses Mark's point and the other Mark's failure to read all the words). Say I write a POP3 library for GNU Emacs. Say that instead of signing over the rights to the FSF I instead decide to sell it under the GPL. You buy my library. The terms of the GPL require me to provide you with the source code, which I do. You then turn around and sell that same code on the open market.

Yep.  And if you license it under the BSD license, that scenario still

> This is Mark's point: the GPL does not allow me to reserve exclusive sales rights. That would be more restrictive than the GPL itself and therefore is not permitted by the GPL.

But if you write the code yourself, and don't accept any changes under
the GPL, you can still dual license it.

> This is tangentially my point: you as a non-developer end user get to profit from my work with minimal or no effort of your own.

And if you license your work under BSD/MIT, non-developers can still
use it, as can other developers.

> It doesn't matter what you say. What matters is the terms of the license and the protections those terms afford. The terms of the GPL have always been heavily weighted against commercial developers of all sorts and not just the proprietary ones.

Well, as a developer myself, there's a very simple reason I might want
to license my work under the GPL rather than an unrestricted license:
I don't want other people taking my work, extending it, and then not
letting me in turn use their extensions.  In other words, I don't want
to have to compete against proprietary extensions to my own work.
CUPS, for example, is licensed under the GPL (it was originally a free
version, with a proprietary version called Print Pro for proprietary
sale).  It's always been a commercial product, even in its GPL

The people who really are hurt by the GPL are developers who want to
use other people's work (to save themselves effort) but don't want to
share their efforts.  Those aren't the original developers, though.
Robert Krawitz                                     <rlk at>

MIT VI-3 1987 - Congrats MIT Engineers 5 straight men's hoops tourney
Tall Clubs International  -- or 1-888-IM-TALL-2
Member of the League for Programming Freedom  --
Project lead for Gutenprint   --

"Linux doesn't dictate how I work, I dictate how Linux works."
--Eric Crampton

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