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Re: [ossig] ESR on BSD and GPL



> > the ability to share with your neighbour is a position that must be
> > fought against.
> 
> actually this is misinterpretation. he's not attacking sharing at all, for 
> open source principles do advocate sharing. what he's ranting against is 
> the forced viral clauses of the gpl. those clauses mandate sharing and at 
> the same time are a /restriction/ on the rights of the user. what he's 
> attacking is the artifically forced sharing and not sharing per se. being a 
> liberal would mean that you respect the rights of others just as much as 
> you'd expect your rights to be respected. esr is a bleeding heart liberal, 
> and like all bleeding heart liberals he doesnt like restrictions.

Liberal also means not insisting that others adopt your viewpoint. If
the original creator wishes to license it under the GPL, you cannot be
liberal and simulataneously insist that he/she follow your wishes.

Nobody is /forcing/ you to adopt the GPL. The only thing the GPL forces
you to do is respect the original creators redistribution rights. If you
do not agree with their point of view, go ahead and create your own
competing software product.

> > Why does Mr. Raymond insist on downplaying the value of the moral issue?
> > If it is because it doesn't mean jack shit to business folk, then he has
> 
> it's because mr raymond sees that there are many ways to skin a cat and not 
> just one way or the highway. the GPL is just /one/ of the licenses which 
> promote sharing among the many that are in use. its not about downplaying 
> an issue and more of accepting that there others also play in the same 
> playground.

And Stallman recognizes that, which is why the FSF has always called the
BSD and other licenses are free software licenses. The FSF does not
insist that you adopt the GPL, it gives due recognition to all other
free software licenses.

> > got to remember his roots - FOSS has never been about bringing value to
> > business folks, it has always been about building value for everybody
> > and the framework of the FSF is exactly that - bringing value to
> 
> in as much as being commercial may be abhorrent, it's the commercial thrust 
> of the larger entities adopting OSS which has pushed it into the 
> mainstream. the reality of the situation is, unless we revert to barter 
> trade, money does drive things today and even the morally upright need 
> money to pay the bills. the recent case of gentoo founder, daniel robbins 
> taking up a job in redmond due to financial issues comes to mind. in the 
> end, the lower triangulates of marslow's hierarchy of needs take precedence.

Its not commercial thats abhorrent but the willingness to give up the
moral stance for commercial interests that's abhorrent.

The case of Daniel Robbins is not as you paint it - he attempted to run
Gentoo as a business and he failed. Businesses not making it happen all
the time and is therefore irrelevant to this discussion.

> > you. Notice how he phrased it as a win-lose situation? Why does it have
> > to be that way? Stallman has never phrased it that way (on the contrary,
> > at last year's presentation in KL, he acceded to the fact that
> 
> on the contrary, rms and the fsf crowd have always advocated a "my way or 
> the highway" manner of addressing the situation. rms (and fsf) insist on 
> the use of FS and will not even concede to FOSS (which attempts to make 
> boths sides happy). i've had vehement argue^H^H^H^H^Hdiscussions with the 
> former general counsel (and current president) of fsf europe on this very 
> point. his steadfast refusal to allow OSS or FOSS to be used in preference 
> to FS is an indication of this manner.

And as I pointed out to you, they do this because they want to highlight
the moral issue that the OSI crowd insists is not important.

> they forget that under the definitions of FS, they've excluded a large 
> number of licenses which are open source, including the BSD license which 
> predates the GPL. while the FSF may say that the BSD is GPL-friendly, it 
> still is not accepted due to the lack of the viral clauses.

FUD. The BSD is a free software license according to the FSF. Read
http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/index_html.

> in addition, i'm sure you're aware of a recent incident where rms 
> vehemently opposed attendance at any event billed as an open source event, 
> and insisted that should his revered presence be required, it should be 
> called a free software event. my way, or the highway.

Yes, that's his standpoint. What is the problem with taking a stand?
Everybody does it, RMS is just more vocal then the others.

> > GNU utils, the incredible popularity of the GPL (look at the top
> > downloads at sf.net and note how many of them are GPL or LGPL), the fact
> 
> by these arguments, the incredible success of closed source (which is still 
> the dominant software licensing regime) would indicate that all open source 
> software is doomed.

I did not claim that the BSD license is doomed, just that the incredible
popularity of the GPL indicates that the political message of the GPL
still captures the hearts of many in our industry.

> > that a majority of FOSS applications are licensed under the GPL paint a
> 
> software developers have traditionally exhibited a severe lack of 
> understanding of licensing issues within the context of existing copyright 
> laws worldwide. a large majority of GPL licenses may have been picked due 
> to its popularity and mindshare than for the legal rights it carries. the 
> follow-me crowd ensured of this. the success of linux singularly did more 
> for FS/GPL mindshare than anything stallman did, and by linus' own 
> admission, linux would not have been created if the BSD codebase was not 
> mired in a lawsuit in the early 1990s.

And the BSD code would not have been mired in the lawsuit had the BSD folk been more careful with the licensing issues.

With the GPL, we would never have this problem - indeed, the lack of any successful lawsuit against the GPL is a clear indication of the legal strength of the license.

> > and actually increases financial gain of the creator by sharing (this is
> 
> which exists solely in the US copyright act and not other legislation. in 
> addition, the /value/ of that financial gain is determined by the recepient 

And the US copyright regime drives many other copyright initiatives in other countries.

> and not the giver, and as such that while wordplay may define it as 
> financial gain, this has no basis in the real world when the receiver 
> places no economic value on the goods received.

Wouldn't that be for the courts to decide?

> > not a position of argument but a statement of fact[2]) and secondly, it
> > actually encourages a free(-er) market by not allowing dominant
> > monopolies which try to restrict free trade to their benefit to be
> > built.
> 
> as does any other software using any of the OSI approved licenses. the GPL 
> is not alone in this.

Yes, nobody claimed otherwise. The BSD is a free software license too.

> > So why is Mr Raymond so insistent on spreading FUD about the value of
> > the Free Software movement? My take is that its personal - he just
> 
> it could also be that FS is in essence a political idea using the tools of 
> technology as a vehicle to spread its coverage. OSS and the way many of the

Yes, it is a political tool. Nobody makes other representations about the GPL and the ideology of Stallman.
 
> non-FS but OSS crowd see it is that politics and technology have no 
> business being in bed together. the fundamental mission of a software 

Then they are narrow minded.

> developer is to write good software which others want to use and has real 
> value to all. rms tries to mix a political agenda into this process and as 
> a result has grated many people who do not want politics in this domain.

The political agenda is to ensure the sustainability of FOSS. Else, we'll have the Schwartz's and McBride's of the world using the OSS platform as a public domain resource and never giving back.

If the BSD folk are ok with this, then so be it but others (and this includes the majority of the authors of GPL licensed FOSS) do not think like you do. We want to protect and build on our freedom, not destroy it.

The ideology is to make you realize that there is more then utilitarian value to the code.

> note that eric s raymond is a bleeding heart liberal who's pro gun 
> ownership for starters, yet we do not see this political leaning being 

Yes, and part time psycho too. You may find his threats against Bruce Perens interesting reading:

http://lists.debian.org/debian-user/1999/04/msg00623.html

And people say RMS is difficult to work with ...

> from the last line, can we infer that it was easier to get esr to tone down 
> and back off than it was to get rms to do so ? isnt the requirement to 
> compromise also a part of cooperation and working together ? :)

Why should rms work with people that don't share his values? Why would anybody work with others that don't share their values?

Why do you insist that rms should work with those that don't see the value of his ideology?

It's like saying Gandhi should have kowtow-ed to Jinnah for the sake of unity.

> unlike the FSF which has only a single champion, the OSI is slightly more 
> widely adopted and accepted at present and thus rebuttals of the reasons 

A single champion? The FSF has many patrons, including Google, MySQL, JBoss, OSDN, HP, TiVo, IBM etc.

> but then the OSI definitions are means of software development (based on 
> the cathedral and the bazaar) as well as a licensing and distribution 
> regime. they were never meant to be a political statement the way FS was 
> intended to be.

And tell me exactly why a political statement is wrong?

> shared by everyone else. some people just want to write software and to 
> share that with the world without the trappings of having to make a 
> political statement in the process.

Then go ahead and write software. But realize that there are others that see the larger value and do not appreciate you working against us when you should be working with us.

Ditesh


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