Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

More on the GPL and cooperation

Author:Brett Glass
Posted:8/25/2000; 12:21:17 PM
Topic:A softer GPL?
Msg #:20234 (In response to 20216)
Prev/Next:20233 / 20235

Sorry if I'm repeating myself somewhat here. Tell you what: I'll add something that's especially germane. Here's a quote from Richard Stallman about the GPL, from his essay, Copyleft: Pragmatic Idealism.

The GNU GPL is not Mr. Nice Guy. It says "no" to some of the things that people sometimes want to do. There are users who say that this is a bad thing--that the GPL "excludes" some proprietary software developers who "need to be brought into the free software community".

But we are not excluding them from our community; they are choosing not to enter. Their decision to make software proprietary is a decision to stay out of our community. Being in our community means joining in cooperation with us; we cannot "bring them into our community" if they don't want to join.

In short, commercial software developers (whom Stallman misleadingly calls "proprietary" software developers) are not welcome in Stallman's "community" unless they embrace the GPL. By doing so, they will cease to be commercial developers, compromise their own livelihoods, and attack the livelihoods of their colleagues. This is a Faustian bargain.

There is simply no cooperation with anyone who remains a commercial developer.

--Brett Glass

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