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Re: Problem with GPLv3 FAQ about linking with Visual C++

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: Problem with GPLv3 FAQ about linking with Visual C++
Date: Wed, 03 Feb 2010 15:10:43 +0100

David Kastrup wrote:
> Alexander Terekhov <> writes:
> > Hyman Rosen wrote:
> > [...]
> >> I don't know why Nimmer thinks this is double-speak.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > "The idea of copyleft is that we should fight fire with fire—that we
> > should use copyright to make sure our code stays free. "
> >
> > is utter nonsense. Using copyright "to make sure our code stays free" is
> > utter nonsense.
> Employing prisons so that people can move freely on the streets is
> similar "nonsense".
> At one point of time you have to deal with reality and relative evils.

"Gah! Up is Down! Right is Wrong! Make it Stop!
Today, some programmer named Zed Shaw wrote a blog post titled Is BSD
The [sic] New GPL?. The crux of his article is that because a few people
have, dog forbid, proselytized for the BSD license and tried to get some
other projects that are currently using the restrictive GPL license to
switch to the BSD license because the viral GPL license prevents code
from flowing equally in both directions between the projects that,
therefore, the BSD license is now just as bad as the GPL.

What... the... Fuck?

Because a few people suggested that, hey, maybe you guys would consider
dropping some of those restrictions on your code so we can all, like,
share equally, Zed Fucking Shaw thinks that's exactly the same as a
viral license that puts restrictions, in perpetuity, on the code you
write as well as on all derivative products, and any code that happened
to have been stored on the same hard drive as your product for a little
while1. I'd expect anti-logic like this from a marketing executive,
lawyer, or clergyman, but not from a programmer. This is a pathetic
excuse for logic. It's Orwellian logic. Right is wrong. Up is down. It's
not missing the point, it's closing your eyes and screaming
"nah-nah-nah" so you can claim you're unaware of the fucking point.

Now, I'm a big fan of openness. Almost every line of code that I've ever
written that wasn't written specifically for a client or employer has
been released in some form, either under a liberal license like the BSD
or MIT license or simply given out as public domain code2. But I have
not used and will not use the GPL. In fact, when people ask me if they
can include code I've written in a GPL'd project (which they don't have
to do, so I do appreciate the gesture) I always grant permission, but
specifically request that they document the fact that my code is not
covered by the project license.

I'm not a fan of the GPL quite simply because I don't see the GPL as
"open". The GPL is not defined by what it is, it's defined by what it
isn't. It's "against" proprietary closed source code. It's against
corporations. It's against software as a commercial product. It's all
about what it's not. It's a political movement replete with a manifesto.
No joke. A fucking manifesto. The GPL is about openness in the same way
that Stalin was about peace and kindness. And you know what? I don't
want my code tied up in a political movement. If I want to share, I'll
happily share with no expectation of a direct return. If I don't want to
(or can't) share, I won't publish my code.

Sir Isaac Newton uttered a very famous line long ago in what is one of
the greatest displays of modesty ever recorded. He said, "If I have seen
further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants." And that
modest statement sums up the way science, and all meaningful pursuit of
knowledge works. Knowledge is expanded when it is shared. When solutions
to problems are shared, that frees us up to tackle the next obstacle
rather than spending time solving problems that have already been solved
by others. Which, if you read their propaganda, is exactly what the GNU
foundation people think they believe. But anyone who has actually read
their license terms knows that obviously they don't, because you can't
reconcile that with the viral restrictions in their licenses. If you
truly believe that knowledge is not a zero-sum game, and that sharing
knowledge tends to increase the sum of societal knowledge, then you
don't go putting petty restrictions on your knowledge.

Sometimes, when you fight fire with fire, all you get is a bigger fire
and you certainly don't put out a fire by loudly exclaiming that water
is the new fire.



1 - Okay, I'm kidding about the last one.

2 - Well, that's not completely true. I also don't release code that I
know is bad because I don't want people copying or learning from code I
know has serious problems. 

Posted by Jeff LaMarche at 8:32 PM  

Labels: Open Source, Stupidity"


(GNG is a derecursive recursive derecursion which pwns GNU since it can 
be infinitely looped as GNGNGNGNG...NGNGNG... and can be said backwards 
too, whereas GNU cannot.)

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