Jplus wrote:With copyleft you force the developers and distributors to give the end users only one option, i.e. using open source software that in most cases is cheap but not as convenient and richly featured as it could be.
Copyleft is a tongue-in-cheek term. By lowering the barriers to entry in the market, it is a capitalist's dream. One of the criticisms of Free and Open Source Software is too much choice. One of the FAQs many distros face is "Which which program is best for doing X?" Novice users have no good way to choose if they want (not a comprehensive list):
- Vim, Emacs, nano or Xedit for text editing
- Abiword, openoffice.org, or koffice for word proccessing
- oleo, gnumeric, or an office suite for spreadsheets
- lynx, links, iceweasel, or konqueror for web-browsing
- XFCE, KDE or Gnome for a desktop environment (I don't like those anyway: what happened to interchangeable window managers?)
- Plan 9, BSD,or Linux for a kernel
What a system integrator like Canonical or Apple can do is make reasonable choices for the novice users. If you a building hardware as well, you can choose either hardware that is supported or write any required drivers. Even if Apple used the GPLv3, they would be able to prohibit "hackintoshes" through Trademark law: no installing Apple branded OS on non-Apple-branded hardware.
stephentyrone wrote:If the work is "not that much", then why hasn't anyone else done it? The reality is that it's an enormous amount of work. 25 years of development at NeXT and Apple by hundreds of full-time engineers. In the course of that work, besides the pretty user interface layer, Apple has made tens of thousands of bug fixes and performance improvements to the BSD layer and kernel, which are published as open source for other projects to use.
I didn't realize that work on NeXT went back to 1985. Of course, BSD dates back to 1977, and the dump(8)
utility dates back to "Version 6 AT&T UNIX," circa 1975. Of course over the years, those license terms have changed as well. I did not mean to imply Apple was doing anything improper using BSD code.GPLv3
I like some of the newer, more restrictive clauses, but BSD people seem to hate it even more than the GPLv2... for the same reasons. I mentioned earlier that FreeBSD uses the GCC compiler. In reading the Freebsd-current mailing list, I noticed discussion about preparing to move to the clang compiler. FreeBSD core has decided to stay with GCC 4.2.1
because of distrust over the GPLv3. My Google-Fu has mostly failed to explain why
GPL3 is such a problem. An e-mail message I came across suggested that many companies were wary of any
GPL3 licensed software (ostensibly self-contained or not).GPLv3 license marks GNU's decline
was an interesting read, but I did not come away from that article understanding why the GPLv3 is worse than v2, other than increased legal complexity. The Wikipedia page of the GNU license lead me to Why you should use a BSD style license for your Open Source Project
, which directly addresses some of my concerns:
Bruce Montague wrote:A BSD license is not simply a gift. The question “why should we help our competitors or let them steal our work?” comes up often in relation to a BSD license. Under a BSD license, if one company came to dominate a product niche that others considered strategic, the other companies can, with minimal effort, form a mini-consortium aimed at reestablishing parity by contributing to a competitive BSD variant that increases market competition and fairness. This permits each company to believe that it will be able to profit from some while also contributing to economic flexibility and efficiency. The more rapidly and easily the cooperating members can do this, the more successful they will be. A BSD license is essentially a minimally complicated license that enables such behavior.
A key effect of the GPL, making a complete and competitive Open Source system widely available at cost of media, is a reasonable goal. A BSD style license, in conjunction with ad-hoc-consortiums of individuals, can achieve this goal without destroying the economic assumptions built around the deployment-end of the technology transfer pipeline.
I disagree with the last point: the Goal of the GPL is not to reduce the price of software to the "cost of media": the goal of the GPL is to promote freedom.
Bruce Montague wrote:The GPL was designed to keep research results from transitioning to proprietary products. This step is often assumed to be the last step in the traditional technology transfer pipeline and it is usually difficult enough under the best of circumstances; the GPL was intended to make it impossible.
- GPL Advantages and Disadvantages section
This is true, however it is still possible to commercialize a technology without making it proprietary. Computer technology is a paradigm shift that I predict will take around 300 years to shake out. Current "State of the art" seems to be using DRM to make copying digital files "lossy" just like analog media. We are not even scratching the surface of what computers can do. Things like software patents and the wholesale conversion of "general purpose computers" to consoles stifle innovation.
I suspect much of the apprehension over the GPLv3 may have to do with this section:
GPLv3 wrote:3. Protecting Users' Legal Rights From Anti-Circumvention Law.
No covered work shall be deemed part of an effective technological measure under any applicable law fulfilling obligations under article 11 of the WIPO copyright treaty adopted on 20 December 1996, or similar laws prohibiting or restricting circumvention of such measures.
When you convey a covered work, you waive any legal power to forbid circumvention of technological measures to the extent such circumvention is effected by exercising rights under this License with respect to the covered work, and you disclaim any intention to limit operation or modification of the work as a means of enforcing, against the work's users, your or third parties' legal rights to forbid circumvention of technological measures.
Article 11 wrote:Obligations concerning Technological Measures
Contracting Parties shall provide adequate legal protection and effective legal remedies against the circumvention of effective technological measures that are used by authors in connection with the exercise of their rights under this Treaty or the Berne Convention and that restrict acts, in respect of their works, which are not authorized by the authors concerned or permitted by law.
- WIPO Copyright Treaty (adopted in Geneva on December 20, 1996)
To me, that is a bit of a statement of fact
rather than an onerous licensing condition. Since DRM can never
be an "effective technological measure," it is impossible to violate that section of the treaty (barring Pi=3.00 type of legislation). However, I can understand why companies that have not yet given up on DRM may want to ban all GPLv3 licensed software from their premises. Note that the second half of Article 11 does not appear to rely on "effective technological measures"; authors are simply allowed to write their own copyright law. That is where Article 22 becomes relevant.
The section on patents (Section 11) seems to be saying you can't use patent law to restrict modifications to programs licensed under the GPLv3. IMO, section 7 of the GPLv2 is similar (except the license is revoked if a patent issue comes up). Edit:
Okay, I admit I was wrong here: the "non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free patent license" is a legitimate concern for companies hoping to enforce patents in the future. I still think software patents are a bad idea.
NetBSD GPLv3 policy statement wrote:The code within the src/external/gplv3 directories may have serious
legal impacts if you are a company and redistributing or changing
this code (as a company holding patents). We recommend you contact
your lawyer before using it.
Please do not import new GPLv3 projects without Board approval.
(The README goes into more detail.)
Perhaps the most damning criticism of the GPL is the existance of the LGPL licences:
GNU.org wrote:Which license is best for a given library is a matter of strategy, and it depends on the details of the situation. At present, most GNU libraries are covered by the Lesser GPL, and that means we are using only one of these two strategies, neglecting the other. So we are now seeking more libraries to release under the ordinary GPL.
Proprietary software developers have the advantage of money; free software developers need to make advantages for each other. Using the ordinary GPL for a library gives free software developers an advantage over proprietary developers: a library that they can use, while proprietary developers cannot use it.
Using the ordinary GPL is not advantageous for every library. There are reasons that can make it better to use the Lesser GPL in certain cases. The most common case is when a free library's features are readily available for proprietary software through other alternative libraries. In that case, the library cannot give free software any particular advantage, so it is better to use the Lesser GPL for that library.
- Why you shouldn't use the Lesser GPL for your next library
So, if I am reading that correctly, you only need the "freer" license if no "less free" alternatives exist? That is Bass Ackwards!
The comment about money is also telling. They seem to be implying that you can not make a lot of money releasing free software.(Dang Forum timed out on me! Copy&paste saves the day!)
Edit2: removed spurious close-quotes added automatically when I closed the new quote with an open-quote tag.
Edit3: made this non-body text smaller.