[svlug] RANT: Ubuntu is Evil

Chris Miller lordsauronthegreat at gmail.com
Sun Jan 17 17:07:13 PST 2010

On Sun, Jan 17, 2010 at 3:49 PM, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:
> Quoting Chris Miller (lordsauronthegreat at gmail.com):
>> On Sat, Jan 16, 2010 at 5:07 PM, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:
>> >
>> >> I'll send you $50 if you can cite to me any codebase licensed under
>> >> GPLv2 or GPLv3 (or any combination thereof) that I am not permitted
>> >> to use in commerce _or_ am not permitted to sell to others.
>> >
>> > ...where that inability is on grounds of the licensing.  (Telling me
>> > about one where that deficiency is caused by, say, a patent problem
>> > doesn't qualify.)
>> The provisions that all software must use the GPL or a "compatible"
>> license is a major blocker.
> I note in passing that you carefully ignored where I called bullshit on
> your assertion about a "whole anti-commercial use thing" inherent in GNU
> GPL.  The reason you did is that, obviously, you _cannot_ cite any GPLed
> codebase I am not permitted to use in commerce, or am forbidden to sell
> to others (on account of licensing), is that none exist -- and none ever
> will.
> Anyone who actually reads and understands GNU GPL knows that it
> actually _guarantees_ the right of use in commerce of covered works.
> What it doesn't permit is proprietising.
> And proprietising _what_?  Proprietising somebody -=else's=- copyrighted
> creation, from someone who elected to release to the public an instance
> of that creation under some version of GNU GPL.

Yes, the letter of the law lets you sell GPL software.

In practicality, I'm not going to have much success selling
librandomlibrary disks when my customers can use wget for nothing.  In
practicality, I'm not going to have much success selling Ubuntu disks
when people can download their own disks.

Most commercial ventures based on Open-Source are around services,
such as support contracts and such where you pay to get a phone number
you can yell at if something doesn't work.

A few are built around a core product that is free and open source
while the copyright holder keeps extensions to that source under a
proprietary license, or else makes it difficult to obtain the
extensions without paying.

Wow, what a great raft of business models!  If I missed any let me
know.  But the business model that most people feel safest with
(selling copies and licenses of software) remains predominant and
shows no signs of going away soon.

I, however, don't want to make distinctions about who can use my code,
be it in a proprietary situation under a proprietary project, or be it
in an open environment under an open project.  Which is why for me, I
chose 2-clause BSD.  Before that I used a public-domain dedication,
but upon learning that some countries don't have a public domain, I
decided that retaining copyright and then giving it a weak license
would be the next best choice.

I concede that the GPL isn't evil, per se, but it pains me to see a
number of great libraries and tools severely limited in their
usefulness to people because of limitations of the GPL.  Maybe their
creators intended to keep it strictly open-source forever.  But I
highly doubt that most software makers really gave it much thought.

By making outlandish claims (like the GPL being evil) I hope to draw
attention to the limitations of the GPL, so maybe we can get more
things released in MIT and BSD licenses, or at least get people to
examine the GPL and understand it when they release software under it
(by asking the question "Why would Chris say the GPL is evil?").  So
what if it benefits Microsoft?  So what if they [the evil corporations
actively raping FOSS, because we all know they do ;-)] never
contribute back?

So what?  The reason I write software is to make life easier on
PEOPLE.  I don't write software to perpetuate a sectarian war between
Open-Source and Proprietary interests.  100% of the coders I have
talked to are the same way.  From my chair, by using the BSD license I
can open my work up to both sides of the divide, making it that much
easier to get the code to benefit PEOPLE.

> But beware of packages compiled using GCC.  It has GPL cooties.

I use LLVM/CLang, but as GCC-compiled software doesn't touch on a
source level* I think it's safe.

* Usually, though if you read through the Objective-C runtime sources,
it does bring into question a lot of Apple's "proprietary" stuff.
Although again, if you are observant, all of Core Foundation framework
as been released to the public, and many people think that Foundation
isn't far behind (which is the library upon which Cocoa and CocoaTouch
is built).

If Foundation were released, then instantly most of the trouble
building GNU Step would be completely alleviated.  Plus it would make
porting native OS X applications much simpler.

Registered Linux Addict #431495
For Faith and Family! | John 3:16!

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