Women in Technology

Hear us Roar



Weblog:   Software Choice vs. Sincere Choice
Subject:   Alas, Bruce is hypocritical.
Date:   2002-09-27 19:38:55
From:   brettglass
He claims that he wants people to have a "choice," but then advocates the GPL, whose purpose is to destroy choice by forcing itself upon those who create derivative works. This is not choice, nor is it freedom.
Full Threads Oldest First

Showing messages 1 through 4 of 4.

  • Tim O'Reilly photo Alas, Bruce is hypocritical.
    2002-09-29 09:45:08  Tim O'Reilly | O'Reilly AuthorO'Reilly Blogger [View]

    I don't see any hypocrisy. I agree with the other complainants that you've introduced a red herring here, Brett. Just because the GPL isn't as free as the BSD or Apache style licenses, or the Artistic license, doesn't mean that it's wrong. In fact, I was heartened to see Bruce saying that sincere choice means that any license--including proprietary licenses--can be OK.


    The only coercion I'm concerned about is external to licensing terms. My objection to Microsoft's licenses has always been the fact that, as a monopoly, certain terms that might be acceptable in a small company's license (which the customer can walk away from) become coercive when the licensor has such market power that they can dictate terms. Add that to Microsoft's past abuses of power, and you have a problem.


    The GPL might be considered a coercive license if the FSF had such market power that people were forced to accept it. But if it's freely accepted as a condition of use of the licensed software, it's not a problem. No one has a right to use the software except on the terms under which it is provided.

    • Coercion and elimination of choice
      2002-09-29 19:53:53  brettglass [View]

      You write:
      <blockquote>Just because the GPL isn't as free as the BSD or Apache style licenses, or the Artistic license, doesn't mean that it's wrong.
      </blockquote>
      The GPL is not unethical because it is less free than the BSD license, etc. It is unethical because:


      <blockquote>
      a) It is intentionally and wantonly misleading. It claims to make software "free" when in fact it does just the opposite.


      b) It was created for, and accomplishes, the unethical purpose of destroying the livelihoods and businesses of people who have done no harm themselves.


      c) It is coercive and confiscatory, in that it compels hard working and creative people to forfeit rewards for their hard work.
      </blockquote>


      Note the Bruce, in particular, has practiced deception when promoting the GPL by failing to explain or acknowledge its destructive effects.


      <blockquote>
      The only coercion I'm concerned about is external to licensing terms. My objection to Microsoft's licenses has always been the fact that, as a monopoly, certain terms that might be acceptable in a small company's license (which the customer can walk away from) become coercive when the licensor has such market power that they can dictate terms. Add that to Microsoft's past abuses of power, and you have a problem.
      </blockquote>


      The GPL is intended to garner the same abusive market power. Witness Stallman's claim, in The GNU Manifesto, that a goal of the GNU project is to "remove operating systems from the realm of competition." The ambitions of Stallman and the FSF GPL are no more honorable than those of Microsoft.


      The GPL might be considered a coercive license if the FSF had such market power that people were forced to accept it.


      They already are. I, for example, would very much like to run a UNIX-like operating system distribution that contains no GPLed code. However, I cannot, because even the BSDs are bundled with GPLed utilities. There's already no choice. Tim, if folks like you don't take a stand against the cancer, it will be too late to stop it.


      --Brett Glass

  • John W. Adams photo There <b>is</b> a coercive element in the GPL...
    2002-09-28 07:39:34  John W. Adams | O'Reilly Blogger [View]

    ...one which coerces the developer, should that developer decide to accept the licence and use the work thereby licenced, to make work available to others.

    The coercive element in many proprietary licences coerces the developer, should that developer decide to accept the licence and use the work thereby licenced, not to make work available to others.

    One coercion extends the choices available to others, the other restricts those choices.

    I prefer a world without such coercion--Artistic License, anyone? Better yet, a license that somehow reframes the debate--but absent that world, the GPL is a reasonable licence.
  • Bruce is not hypocritical and GPL is a license like the prorprietary ones
    2002-09-28 03:03:43  GerardM [View]

    This is old hat. GPL is like a proprietary license; you are not allowed to use it. So whining that you can not pick a GPL piece of code and run with it. It is similar to proprietary code. Use Microsoft's code and tweek it a bit, sell it and you will find lawyers on your way. If that is a"law"ed that I do not see why it is not a"law"ed when it is GPL code.

Showing messages 1 through 4 of 4.