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New Software License idea: "The Freedom License."
New Software License idea: "The Freedom License."
22 May 2006 16:49:50 -0700
I have been thinking about all the problems the GPL causes. My
solution is a new license called the "Freedom License". Here it is:
THE FREEDOM LICENSE
What are the problems with the GPL and how does this new license solve
them? Many experienced software developers know about the GPL and the
BSD style Licenses (apache, bsd, mozilla, cddl etc). The BSD License,
for those who don't know, allows one to do whatever one wishes with
the code, including relicensing it IIRC. Frequently, a GPL coder will
take BSD licensed code, add a modification or two and release the whole
thing as GPL. This new creation will be unavailable to the BSD user
to modify as they see fit under a BSD license.
Part 1. SOFTWARE STANDARDS
Code quality terms, the BSD licensed software is often of a superior
quality compared to its GPL counterpart. Often, the GPL counterpart
will break standards and include supposedly "enhanced" functionality
which is what Microsoft does too! And when they do this they claim it
is better! We can see this effect in the user space tools and shells.
For example, on a Linux system, many of the tools do NOT function as
they were intended, but are actually hacks and extensions. Imagine
logging into a GNU/Linux system and getting the "sh" shell. If you
were a true blue UNIX or BSD user you may not suspect that it is not sh
at all but really the GNU BASH shell!! That the purposly hid this is
scary. Many commands lie and don't tell you that they are really gnu
extentioned. On a linux system, "make" is not really make but just a
renamed "gmake". Sneaky stuff with a lot of extensions built in,
making the casual user believe those are all part of the REAL tool.
This tactic is evident throught the GPL toolset and libraries. They
embrace, extend and frequently extinguish UNIX standards. This leaves
newbies unwittingly learning on a GNU system getting confused when they
finally go to a real UNIX system and then think Unix tools don't
operate correctly! When in fact it was the GNU tools that were the
problem and not operating to standards! You often see a newbie trying
out FreeBSD for the first time not being able to get something to work
because they don't realize that the true command doesn't support the
extension that they had previously used in the Fake GPL command on
their Linux box.
This hurts the other UNIX communities. They must now either rewrite
their whole toolset to include those new unstandard but poplular tools
or be neglected by the large userbase that the FSF has tricked into
using GNU software. It is even more hurtful when those tools that were
extended were taken from the BSDs and embraced, extended and released
as GPL. Which means the BSDs cannot use them at all.
PART 2. SOFTWARE QUALITY
The BSD licensed software are known for high quality (not withstanding
the FreeBSD 5.x series fiasco). On a typical linux machine, many of
the "free" software that one uses and depends of is not GPL licensed at
all. This is because the quality and workmanship is so high, and the
software so important that the GPL developers have yet to embrace and
extend it in the manner discussed in Part 1 of this license. Take for
example Apache. It is not GPL. Nor is PostgreSQL GPL, and it beats
GPL'd mySQL's feature and reliablity.
OpenBSD is extremely secure and bug free. Theo Raadt even said that
the GNU/Linux kernel was a security nightmare and that they should fix
PART 3. SOFTWARE FORKS AND COMMERCIALIZATION
Often the FSF and GNU people will say that the GPL prevents a company
from taking the source of a BSD licensed project and forking it into a
closed source version. This line of reasoning has been the major
influence in convincing people to go with GPL software. It is a
seductive form of reasoning but entirely wrong. Commercial closed
source software forking is of GREAT value to the project, and shut of
the spigot closed source forking doesn't get the company very far!
Look at X.org and XFree86. XFree86 went too far in their restrictions
and were made irrelevant!
Why is that? Because, most companies cannot fork away and get very
far! They need to stay close to the open code base, and usually close
off only the business logic functions that enable them to survive
financially. And when they do survive financially, they tend to
contribute to the general development making the project stronger. A
great example of this is PostgreSQL. EnterpriseDB provides Oracle
compatiblity in their closed source version of PostgreSQL. Yet, they
are very active in developing PostgreSQL! Needless to say, they make
money in their business logic niche (oracle compatiblity), yet continue
to make PostgreSQL better because they get the full resources of the
community when they do! Fujitsu made significant contributions to
PostgreSQL making the 8.x branch possible. There was no GPL compelling
them to do this. They provided native Windows support among other
PART 4. THE SOLUTION.
The Freedom License is the BSD License with 3 additional Clauses.
Clause Number One:
When software licensed under the Freedom License is modified and then
relicensed under the GPL, that new derived software will be dual
licensed with the Freedom License being the second license in addition
to the GPL. This preserves the Freedom to do whatever one wants with
the software as envisioned by the BSD license.
Clause Number Two.
If you link you GPL software to a Freedom Licensed software and you own
the copyright to the GPL software, the linked result will also be dual
licensed in both the GPL and the Freedom License.
Clause Number Three
If you create derived work from the Freedom License and license it
under the GPL, it will also be licensed dually to use both the GPL and