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

Re: It's even worse than it appears
Posted:8/30/2000; 6:41:36 AM
Topic:scriptingNews outline for 8/28/2000
Msg #:20532 (In response to 20477)
Prev/Next:20531 / 20533

Here's a thought:

Can it be demonstrated than anyone who was incapable of realizing exactly what the GPL said created something that was new, interesting, or innovative?

It occurs to me I commented on someone else's POV without giving anyone a chance to reciprocate by stating my own, which is hardly fair. The way I see the GPL is that anyone who uses it is saying: "These are the terms under which you are permitted to stand upon my shoulders. If you do not agree to my terms, you may not use my work."

Frankly, I don't see what the hubbub is all about. Everybody is entitled to set terms for the use of their creations. If you don't like the terms, go find someone whose terms you *do* like. We are *not* free to appropriate the sweat of someone else's brow, no matter how useful it might be to us to do precisely that, without first meeting their terms.

There's a word for that act: "theft."

In a nutshell, the GPL is the "license fee" for using a particular library or code base. If you're not willing to pay the fee, fine. Then don't use it. Nobody's forcing you to.

But there's no need to attack the folks who *do* decide to pay it.

And I don't like the term "poison pill" used to describe it. It's too perjorative. It's simply a license, with the terms stated clearly. Just because the license fee isn't stated in dollars doesn't make it any worse than any other license. It's still a voluntary fee. The only folks compelled to pay it are the ones wanting to use the software. You want to use the product without paying for it? Sorry, you'll get no sympathy from this quarter.

True, there are times I wonder if the FSF isn't becoming Microsoft just to fight Microsoft, using the same "lock-in" tactics to fence off developers. They have every right to try to do that, just as MS before them. But no one can lock me (or any other developer) in without my permission. If that's truly the course they're choosing, they'll wake up someday with Pogo's words echoing in their heads: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

I'll GPL whatever I want to GPL, and I'll not GPL whatever I don't want to GPL. I won't allow anyone (Glass, Winer, O'Reilly, Stallman, Torvalds, Jobs, Gates, or whoever) to make those decisions for me. (Names selected at random, no implication is intended about any of them.)

The GPL isn't insidious: It states its terms right there in black and white. It's not a secret plot or a conspiracy; it's a license. No more, no less.

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