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Re: Is the GPL all encompassing?

From: Hyman Rosen
Subject: Re: Is the GPL all encompassing?
Date: Tue, 23 Sep 2008 11:16:53 -0400
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20080708)

amicus_curious wrote:
The only effect of the SFLC actions has been to force a downstream user
> to re-publish the original source that was used in the defendant's product.

I believe that in several of the cases there had been some minor
changes made. The effect of the SFLC actions is to prevent people
from infringing copyright on GPLed programs.

That is a rather empty sort of "victory" and would seem to be an
> inexpensive way to settle any of these suits.

Why is it empty? People who wish to copy and distribute GPLed programs
must comply with the license. It's not supposed to be difficult to do
this, and the defendants are generally just being stupid and lazy, not

> they have no effect other than to nettle the user of OSS products.

They nettle the companies that create the products. The users
of the products are the people who ultimately get the software
running in their homes, and those users benefit by having the
freedom to run, read, change, and share it.

That seems contrary to the original purpose of OSS although it does
> meet the needs of the cultists who surround Stallman.

The FSF predates OSS, and does not use the term "open source" for
exactly this reason. "Open source" proponents care about making
things easier for programmers and companies. The FSF cares about
freedom for users. It is intentional that the GPL acts contrary to
to the purpose of OSS.

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