GNU discussion

Corey corey at
Sun Jan 28 08:37:45 CET 2007

On Saturday 27 January 2007 08:38, Gabriel Ambuehl wrote:
> On Saturday 27 January 2007 16:10:43 Declan Naughton wrote:
> > But I prefer copyleft - the idea of using the law to try and make sure
> > freedom doesn't go away, to giving others the freedom to take it away.
> If others take code under the BSDL and put it into a closed system, freedom 
> doesn't go away at all. It just doesn't necessarily extend any further.

BSD License:  "Do what thou wilt, shall be the whole of the law."

General Public License:  "Share and share alike."

BSDL is technically a 'weak', or 'lazy' license, _insofar_ that whatever it's attached
to may be arbitrarily inclosed by the inheritor, while GPL is technically a 'strong'
( viral? [1] ) license, in that it strictly enforces its own existence upon whatever
it's attached to.

BSDL contains an inherent self-destruct gene, GPL contains a built-in propagation

I very much appreciate and admire the BSDL for its straight-forward simplicity and
its stark purity of intent [2] - whereas I value the GPL for its clear determined
purpose in maintaining an atmosphere of sharing and collaboration to the equal
benefit of all.

Both licenses do in fact provide society with a wealth of Free software, and both
obviously have their uses in "particular general" circumstances. That said, I
think it can be readily observed that BSDL _tends_ to be more 
"corporate-friendly", while GPL _tends_ to be more "people-friendly".

I do, however, have a tough time with the claim that BSDL is "more free", because
_actual_, _sustainable_ freedom/liberty requires certain obvious restrictions.

[1] I don't think viral is accurate, because a virus intrudes its host and is
either destructive or parasitic in some capacity, however I use it so nobody
can accuse me of utilizing preferential language for GPL vs BDSL; i.e. "weak",

[2] the GPL will no longer be necessary when, to merrily paraphrase Thoreau:

   I heartily accept the motto, "That [software-license] is best which governs
   least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically.
   Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe--"That 
   [software-license] is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared
   for it, that will be the kind of license which they will have.

... BSDL "governs" not at all, which the anarchist in me very much appreciates. To
digress further, what I would love to see, is a license with the full explicit _spirit_ 
of the GPL, but which does not actually enforce that spirit through any means other
than its own merit.



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