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Re: Freedom. . . NOT

From: Hyman Rosen
Subject: Re: Freedom. . . NOT
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2008 18:11:13 -0400
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20080708)

Alexander Terekhov wrote:
The GPL is not a tool for freedom, it is a tool of control, and I argue
that its overall effect on the art of software development as a whole
has been more destructive than it has been beneficial.

Even if that were true, that's fine - it is not the goal
of the FSF to be beneficial to software developers, so if
the GPL has been detrimental, the FSF does not care.

> nor has it diminished the freedoms of the Apache developers.

The FSF is not concerned with the freedom of developers, so
the effect of the license on them is irrelevant to the FSF.

requires the one incorporating the software to also GPL their
> product. Who is that protecting?

It is protecting the person who receives the combined program.

Or is it harming the user who has found a possibly excellent
> piece of software that they can't use because its license will
> virally infect their own efforts?

That's not a user. That's a programmer. The FSF doesn't care
about programmers.

In fact, negotiating a commercial license with the author of a GPL
product is damn near impossible

To the FSF, that's a bonus.

So what purpose then does the GPL serve other than being a restriction
> on the ability of a company or other body that values their own privacy?

It allows a software user to run, read, modify, and share the
program he is using. Privacy of a program is antithetical to
the views of the FSF, so if the GPL helps prevent such a thing,
that too is a bonus.

if you don't want to release your source, ask for permission not to.

The ability to not release source is the ability to deny users
the freedom to read and modify programs. That is antithetical
to the beliefs of the FSF, so they will certainly not support
such a thing. It is equally antithetical to many, but not all,
free software developers.

There are many software projects which began with licenses that
were not compatible with the GPL and then switched. Mozilla and
Java are two huge examples. There is clear community pressure in
favor of licensing code under the GPL. That's because under the
GPL, everyone benefits. Why would the community get together in
support of helping someone deny them code?

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