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Re: [ossig] Re: [myoss] "Open-source licensing: BSD is a better model"- article is NOT flawed




On 07/10/05 19:42 Ditesh said the following:
> With the BSD, the possibility that you end up with a situation where all
> the enterprises take but nobody returns to the community is very real.
> This would be counter productive to sustaining the FOSS momentum.

more repeat misdirections. as pointed out, this possibility has /NOT/ 
happenned after 25 years of BSD releases. open source was driven by the 
BSDs in the 80s, with UCB distributing tapes of BSD Unix to anyone who 
asked just for the cost of media or plain FTP. redistributions were allowed 
to anyone who could operate an FTP site.

> Note the explosion of GPL'ed software in the 1990's after the crafting
> of the license. Note that while the same growth opportunities were

which is interesting, since the GPL was largely unknown and unused outside 
of rms' own software prior to the adoption of the GPL by linus torvalds for 
the linux kernel. this would raise the notion that the GPL's rise since 
then was due more to the rise and popularity of linux than the GPL for its 
own merits. the rise of linux, as has been established by linus himself, 
was due to the then encumbered BSD sources as a result of the AT&T lawsuit.

> available for the BSD license, the adoption of the GPL by individuals
> and enterprises completely dwarfed the BSD license.

perhaps by quantity, but then how many of these GPLed software are of high 
impact or significant projects and how many have already withered away into 
disuse ? in the oft-quote LAMP architecture, it's quite evenly divided 
between the GPL (L & M) and BSD type licensing (A & P) without the viral 
clause.

the equation switches when one considers that it's trivial to swap out the 
L for {F,N,O}BSD. every desktop implementation of open source operating 
systems uses the X window system as a base, released under an X license 
which specifically allows for relicensing. X predates the GPL as well.

none of these software, which would fall under your parasitic doomsday 
scenario, has dissappeared or has threatened to disappear inspite of the 
lack of any protective viral clauses rendering the parasitic scenario 
baseless and one just of fantasy, or worse, FUD used to sell the GPL and 
FS' political objectives.

> hypothesis - with the BSD, people take and do not give back to the
> community. With the GPL, such a situation cannot exist and therefore a

which has not been proven to happen, so a false hypothesis this will 
remain. in the years since the release of 4.3BSD Tahoe, we've not seen BSD 
licensed software wither away and die, which does make these claims ring 
hollow. it's the mantra of the frightened who keep speaking of doomsday, 
but yet doomsday never seems to come around.

the basis of this is still that the GPL apologists have not proven the 
dominance of a parasitic society should the GPL not exist, nor proven the 
existence of a crippling "tragedy of the commons type" situation in 
software licensed under non-viral licenses. this renders the fears very 
hollow, and reiterates the fragility of the software they create that they 
should employ artificial methods in a vain attempt to secure its longevity.

>>freedom to decide what needs to be done, it hobbles enterprises in the 
>>longer run.
> 
> Care to substantiate this?

enterprises /cannot/ mix the best of breed software available to create a 
larger work for themselves (assuming it involves distribution) or their 
customers. the GPL hobbles the mixing of different licenses. the moment an 
enterprise is artifically barred from delivering the best it can possibly 
do, it is hobbled, like it or not. with the GPL, they're /forced/ to 
rewrite or write from scratch portions which do not exist or are released 
under non-GPL friendly licenses.

> You can if the license holder allows you to do so, ala dual licensing.

in which case it usually reverts to a closed source licensing ala mysql and 
some other FREE software projects. this seems counter to the very goals of 
the FS now, doesnt it ? at least in this regard, one must acclaim rms his 
steadfastness but it does seem that others would take a shorter (and less 
than FS noble) path should it suit their purposes. this is in comparison to 
source licensed under the BSD in which such freedoms are explicitly allowed 
to all and sunder without such need. at least when non-viral licensed 
software is released, its done with a pure intention without caveats and 
restrictions.

of course, being liberal would mean that the GPL apologists have a right to 
release software under any license they choose and the rest of the world 
accepts that. however, as pointed out, this just underscores their paranoia 
that software they create is fragile and cant survive the parasitic nature 
of things and that without such protection the software will wither away 
and die for it will lose open source developers.

> Given growth explosion and dominance of copyleft licensed software and
> not other FOSS licenses, one would imagine that the growth would be at
> the cost of other FOSS licenses.

statistically wrong assumption again. the quantity of open source software 
has exploded tremendously over the last 10 years, chiefly due to the 
explosion of distribution methods brought about by widespread internet 
access and availability of cheap bandwidth and servers. in this explosion, 
quantity wise, there have been more GPLed licensed software but there has 
been growth in non-GPLed software as well. to claim that GPL made inroads 
at the cost of a reduction in non-GPL licenses is false for they /both/ 
have increased.

> Wouldn't the quality of the software be dependent on the developer and
> not on the license?

absolutely true, so it does indicate the self-confidence and quality of 
his/her own software by the developer when he/she feels that it is fragile 
enough that it needs protection thru viral clauses. in other words, a 
developer thinks his software is fragile and cant withstand parasitic 
pressure, therefore picks a viral license. other developers have slightly 
more confidence in the quality of their work and thus are not worried about 
such doomsday scenarios for they know that software they write could 
withstand a quarter century worth of parasitic practices.

> pointing out that given that there is no incentive for enterprises to
> contribute back, there is a real chance that it will also not grow as
> fast as copylefted software.

unsubstantiated, for software released under non-viral licenses have grown 
as fast over the preceeding decade as well. explain the growth of apache, 
X, PHP for starters even if you're wont to accept the freebsd vs linux 
angle. this assertion you're making rings hollow in this light.

> To give you an example, look at Linux. If it was BSD licensed, would the
> IBM's of the world close and co-opt it? With the GPL license,

explain then, using the same players as above, why ibm coopted apache into 
websphere ? apache is not under the GPL and is not subject to the parasitic 
doomsday scenario you say will happen. yet it is not closed by ibm.

also, explain apple contributing back to the freebsd project as a result of 
bugs and new features created for Mac OS X. under the BSD license, they 
were not bound to do so.

another thing you're missing when you speak of ibm's adoption of linux and 
not a BSD OS is that you're either ignoring or are unaware of the 
commercial rivalry between big blue and big purple (Sun). sun had from its 
inception based sunos on the BSD sources, especially since bill joy left 
CSRG UCB to join sun microsystems. what followed in the 90s were known as 
the Unix wars between IBM, Sun, HP and Digital. an ibm adoption of BSD 
would have tacitly played into sun's court by having ibm acknowledge that 
sun's unix line was superior. i could even forsee mcnealy's jibes were this 
to occur. ibm wisely chose not to play themselves into this corner by 
adopting linux.

what really rings hollow is that you make claims of this parasitic world 
many times in this response, yet none of the evidence which exists shows 
such a scenario will cripple open source or even has a chance of happenning.

>>>Do that and we end up with a parasitic software ecosystem. Not only
> 
> You are twisting my words. I'm not saying that BSD licensed software
> can't flourish, all I'm pointing out is that there is /less/ reason for

less reason ? you specifically said, "Do that and we end up with a 
parasitic software ecosystem". however, we have /not/ ended up with a 
parasitic software ecosystem which has damaged any of the non-GPLed 
software in any way.

> You have lost any possible improvements Microsoft may have made to the
> stack.

has that degenerated TCP/IP or stifled its growth ? in fact, many would 
argue that they would /not/ want any microsoft modifications given the poor 
performance of the windows machines when it comes to network traffic.

> Well, because it's older. Obviously it would have lived through more
> trials. That's a truism.

but based on your assertions, it should have withered away and died since 
it didnt have the protection you imply is sorely needed. in fact, BSD has 
survived a lawsuit from a monopolistic entity and has come out of it in a 
stronger position than linux is in now.

> We /are/ worried that opportunists will take from our community and not
> give back. That's the reason we fight.

exactly, which is a worry of the fragility of GPLed software and that it 
couldnt survive in a parasitic society. i said many emails ago that this 
seemed to be the reason why the GPL is used by many. in fact, eric 
raymond's original article which started this round of license wars said 
the same as well. i'm glad we're in agreement on this, and since you're 
also in agreement with esr's assertions, then this whole thread can end for 
there is no disagreement or discussion needed.

speaking as someone who'd pick the BSD for his own software, we have no 
such worry for when we open source our work, we do it with noble and pure 
intentions and worry less about who uses it as long as someone sees it fit 
to use it. that has been a fundamental tenet of those who choose to license 
under the BSD, that there really is no worry what someone who downloads our 
software uses it for. we are confident and secure in our own abilities and 
the quality of our work.

> Consistent? You call Microsoft's implementation of the BSD TCP/IP stack
> consistent?

but then microsoft has always utilized embrace and extend in bastardizing 
protocols for their own uses. using them as an example is misdirection. 
perhaps we may want then to use other vendors (who do not practice embrace 
and extend) as examples: juniper, sun microsystems, cisco for starters as 
it pertains to the tcp/ip stack.

> wheel, it would be IBM but they didn't as they didn't see a conflict in
> licensing issues with the GPL'ed software they are contributing and

ibm dropped their multiple OS support in order to support/provide a single 
OS across their entire hardware platform range from PCs to the mid-range 
unix servers and to the higher end z series mainframes. they saw this as a 
unification policy of their OS platform over the plethora of MS Windows, 
AIX and VMS which they were previously using.

> No, the developer is not a hoarder. But those using his BSD licensed
> software are not stopped from hoarding, and it would seem that BSD

for the simple reason that once source is released, we dont really care 
what someone wants to do with it. it's a measure of self confidence in the 
work that we do not find the need to artificially protect it in any form. 
GPL friendly developers obviously do not posses such karma, but hey, you've 
got the GPL to take care your insecurities.

>>>Interesting that he claims open source communities flourish under the
>>>BSD licensed projects and not substantiate it when substantiated
>>
>>how then would you explain the success of the following projects, just to 
>>name a few, all of which are released under a BSD or BSD-type license:
> 
> More then 50% of all FOSS software in a Linux system are GPL'ed. MIT

you've not responsed to the question. you asked for substantiation, but 
then couldnt explain the reason for the success of non-viral licensed 
software when the substantiation was given.

> type licenses account for less then 10%. Why? One would assume that the

quantity or quality ? :)

> Well thieves are plundering at the source, that's not an argument but

this is not questioned. plundering happens even in GPLed software as 
service companies modify the source and dont return the changes because 
they've not triggered the distribution clause of the GPL. we know this has 
happenned with google. compare this to yahoo!'s usage of freebsd and their 
code contributions back to the betterment of the OS, inspite of the BSD 
license.

what is questioned is your assertion that such plundering will cause the 
death of the open source project thru parasitic practices. this has not 
happenned in spite of the rabid plundering which could exist. you really 
need to show that the lack of a viral license will cause the death of an 
open source project, but with the plethora of open source software not 
released under a viral claused license growing and progressing, this is 
getting hard for you to do.

> Compare the popularity of BSD's vs Linux. If BSD indeed encouraged
> participation over the GPL, then why has Linux participation from
> companies eclipsed the combined forces of the BSD?

back to this again, seems like a stale argument over and again though. 
we've already established that the AT&T lawsuit caused a barrier to BSD 
adoption with linus himself stating that he would not have created linux if 
the lawsuit didnt exist. reread this current bunch of threads to reacquaint 
yourself on this.

> We do not think software is weak and fragile. But the licensing can be
> and which is why we need to use a strong license to protect our
> work/rights. 

exactly, which is that without the licensing, your software will wither 
away and die given its weakness and fragility. the confidence in the value 
of the software and its sustainability seems to be lacking in this regard 
now for if that existed, viral clauses wouldnt be needed as in the case of 
non-GPL licensed software.

-- 
Regards,                           /\_/\   "All dogs go to heaven."
dinesh@alphaque.com                (0 0)    http://www.alphaque.com/
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