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Re: Significance of the GP licence.

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: Significance of the GP licence.
Date: Tue, 04 May 2010 16:07:45 -0000
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.1.92 (gnu/linux)

Alan Mackenzie <> writes:

> In gnu.misc.discuss RJack <> wrote:
>> Reason? So do birds. flowers and trees. So what is your point? You
>> are correct (for once). I don't get it. Statements usually have to
>> make sense. What's your rhetorical focus?
> Quite simply, that it is the GPL itself which is the main reason for
> the popularity of Linux amongst the people who write it.

Well, that's half of the story.  Linux has been written to support a
preexisting GNU userland.  And that userland has a tradition of being
popular and freely available quite before Linux.

And BSD became freely available only some time after GNU/Linux.  The GNU
userland is unpopular among BSD developers because, well, they are BSD
developers.  And because their kernel of choice already comes in one
package with a userland.

So quite a lot of popularity of GNU/Linux comes from GNU, and not
necessarily just because GNU is GPLed.

> If, for some currently inconceivable reason, Linux was relicenced
> under what you call a "free as in freedom" licence, many developers
> would cease development.

The Linux kernel developers tend not to be all too religious about
licensing.  Well, they do, but they call their religion pragmatism.

> This might leave a mere rump, scarcely larger than the groups which
> maintain the BSD kernels.

I doubt it.

David Kastrup

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