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    I realise this isn’t the main point of the article, but:

    The GPL, in addition to being a much more complex tome to understand, is more restrictive. The GPL forces you to use the GPL for derivative works as well. Clearly this affords you less freedom to use the software. Obligations are the opposite of freedoms.

    Here’s how I’d describe the difference between copyleft and permissive licences: Permissive licences maximise freedom for users that obtain the software directly from the original author, while copyleft licences maximise freedom over the whole downstream distribution graph. People who say permissive licences are “more free” than copyleft licences really mean that they feel first-hop distribution is more important (strategic, ethically relevant, whatever) than the rest of the distribution graph. That’s a perfectly reasonable opinion to hold, but it’s an opinion, not a universal axiom.

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      I’ve been thinking about this a bit as of late as well, as I’m working on some open source programs that I also want to offer as a service, roughly similar to Drew’s SourceHut.

      For this, the GPL probably makes more sense. I don’t want to stop anyone from running their own copy of my software, and I don’t mind of they offer it as a service, but I would mind if someone would take the source code, make a few modifications, and then offer that as a service. It’s taken me some time to warm up to this, because I also don’t like restricting people’s freedom and am not a huge fan of GNU/FSF/RMS, but I’ve slowly warmed to the idea that the GPL is a better fit for this project.

      For most of my other projects this is not really an issue. For example I recently did some work on a commandline Unicode database querying tool. It’s pretty useful (for me, anyway), but I don’t think anyone is going to add proprietary extensions to this; there’s simply no reason to. The simpler MIT seems like a better fit for this. Even if someone would use it in a proprietary context, I have nothing to lose by it, so why not allow it?

      It seems like a “right tool for the job” kind of thing to me.

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        You’d want the AGPL in your case, then, which is designed for network services like SaaS.

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          This article explicitly states that the AGPL does not address the problem of SaaSS (Service as a Software Substitute), as the FSF/GNU call it:

          https://www.gnu.org/licenses/why-affero-gpl.html

          I otherwise agree—it is designed for software accessed over a network, and is appropriate for this case; it’s just the “SaaS” part I’m commenting on.

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            I am aware of this stance, but thanks for pointing to it. It is of course true that a SaaS company may process the data in a way that doesn’t provide the freedoms the AGPL attempts to preserve—I just don’t have a better option to suggest. :(

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          Exactly! I posted my licensing philosophy in another thread recently and it’s basically this.

          For libraries (which most of my projects are), I do not want a large license, I do not even want any copyright, my sentiment for libraries is very strongly “I’m throwing this crap out there, do whatever the hell you want.” I used to use the WTFPL, but then switched to the more serious Unlicense. But if I were to pick my preferred license for this now, it would be 0BSD :) For end-user apps, I have no problem with copyleft, the one Android app I made a while ago is under the GPL even.

          Also to expand on this: if someone uses, like, my http library in a proprietary project, I don’t see it as a corporation exploiting my work, I see it as my work helping another worker do their job.

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            I quite like the Blue Oak Model License for a permissive license and have started using it in my open source projects (where I have sole copyright and can license/relicense as I please). Compared to the 0BSD license, it discusses patents (to protect all contributors from liability in case any other contributor enforces a patent they own now or later) and there’s also no required copyright line and dates to keep up to date. It’s odd to me that the 0BSD license would remove the need to include the copyright attribution to gain the license, while still including the copyright line at all.

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              Last time I saw it, it looks interesting. But I wonder if it is reviewed by other lawyers. Also, does not seem to be OSI/FSF/…-approved yet?

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                It’s not, but not due to some issue with the license. The authors are less-than-endorsing of OSI and haven’t applied for approval: https://writing.kemitchell.com/2019/05/05/Rely-on-OSI.html

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                  That’s unfortunate. I work on a package manager and we aren’t lawyers (or have money to pay), so we default to “whatever DFSG/OSI sees as OK, we do too”

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                    The Blue Oak Council specifically set out to create a permissive license list first: https://blueoakcouncil.org/list

                    The Model License came about due to a lack of the desired qualities in many of the other licenses available for public usage, but it wasn’t the original goal of the project.

                    Maybe consider licenses on that list, or parts of the list?

                    I also recommend reading the blog post I linked above, because blindly accepting whatever OSI approves will likely not end up well for whoever is accepting the license or that policy.

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              You really need patent protection in the license to reduce risk of patent trolling. That’s a huge problem. Most permissive licenses pretend patent law doesn’t exist.

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              How does GPL prevent someone from modifying your code and then offering it as a service? The modified code is not being distributed. This is key to the business model of Facebook, Google, Amazon etc and why Reddit changed their license.

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                It doesn’t, and that’s okay. But it does prevent people from using my code with their own proprietary extensions without contributing their changes back (the AGPL does, at least).

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                I have nothing to lose by it, so why not allow it?

                What people often miss is that applications and libraries in a GPL ecosystem protect each other from patent trolls, tivoization, and, partially, SaaS/cloudification.

                How does the “herd immunity” develops? In the same way companies create large patent portfolios as a legal shield/weapon: if bad actor enters litigation against one project/product/patent it can be sued regarding others.

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                  There are plenty of other licenses that discuss and protect against patent trolls. Off the top of my head:

                  • MPL 2.0
                  • CDDL
                  • Apache 2
                  • Blue Oak Model License
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                    I did not claim GPL is the only one. Also, some of those do not protect against tivoization or have other issues.

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                      But do you really care about, say, tivoization, if you wanted to use a more permissive or less copyleft license than the GPL? Patent protection is important for all licenses. Tivoization protection is not.

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                  There is a deep cultural difference between the Open Source crowd and the Free Software crowd. Open Source crowd says “Right tool for the right job” and the Free Software crowd says “Right tool for the right society”. These are different points of view at a very fundamental level. Open Source people believe in it because they think it makes better software. Free Software people aren’t concerned with making “better quality software”. They think it’s good to make better software, but acknowledge that proprietary might be better in many cases. But that’s not the point of Free Software to them. Free Software people view the GPL as a social hack, not an end in itself.

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                    Free Software people aren’t concerned with making “better quality software”.

                    Citation needed.

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                      To be more specific, Free Software people don’t view “better quality software” as the end goal. Freedom is the end goal.

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                  I for one use permissive licenses in the hope that one day an aerospace company will use my code and it will end up in orbit.

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                    Maybe they already do? With a permissive license you have good chances of never finding out.

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                      And how would the GPL change that?

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                        Because the aerospace company would have to publish their code.

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                          s/publish/provide to customers/

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                            No. It is not required to publish GPL code of the modified version if it remains private (= not distributed).

                            So you have the same chances of never finding out about usage in either case (but the virality of GPL might actually decrease the odds).

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                              I was referring to this aspect of the license:

                              But if you release the modified version to the public in some way, the GPL requires you to make the modified source code available to the program’s users, under the GPL.

                              Whether or not that would come into play with the hypothetical aerospace company in question is beside the point.

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                              Or not.

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                            https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.en.html#GPLRequireSourcePostedPublic

                            I guess what you mean is better chances of finding out?

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                            I found out that my open source code was being used in nuclear missiles. It did not make me feel good.

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                              What license were you using?

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                                GPL

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                                  Interesting that you could have discovered this, would presume such things would be quite secretive. I guess there’s nothing you can do to stop them using it either?

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                                    It was a shock. And nope, nothing could be done. In fact, I suspect that Stallman would say restricting someone from using software for nuclear weapons (or torture devices or landmines or surviellance systems) would be a violation of the all important issue of software freedom.

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                                        It would be an interesting argument to try to make. The FSF already recognizes the AGPL – which explicitly does not grant Freedom Zero as defined by the FSF – as a Free Software license, and the general argument for that is one of taking a small bit of freedom to preserve a greater amount over time. A similar argument could be made about weapons (i.e., that disallowing use for weapons purposes preserves the greatest amount of long-term freedom).

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                                          … Stallman would say … violation of the all important issue of software freedom

                                          Restricting use on ethical basis is quite difficult to implement for practical reasons.

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                                            That’s not really the issue. One of the things I dislike about FSF/Stallman is that they claim, on moral principal, that denying a software license to , let’s say, Infant Labor Camp and Organ Mart Inc. would be wrong. I think that “software freedom” is pretty low down on the list of moral imperatives.

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                                              Being able to (legally) restrict the use of my creative output (photographs in my case) is the reason I retain the “all rights reserved” setting on Flickr. I’d hate to see an image of mine promote some odious company or political party, which is what can happen were I to license it using Creative Commons.

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                                    How did you find out?

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                                      They asked me to advise them.

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                                      For ethical reasons or for fear of some possible liabilities somewhere down the line?

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                                        What a question. I didn’t want to be a mass murderer.

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                                    I had a similar journey myself, although I contribute far less to open source software than @SirCmpwn. I really enjoy reading this write-ups. Thanks for sharing it.

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                                      Agreed. Personally I have chosen the MPL as my minimal, preferred license for new projects, one reason is because I believe that the file-based scope makes it easy for non-lawyers to follow the rules correctly.

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                                      So, an interesting side effect of the GPL is you’re effectively banning your software from being run in large enterprise environments with legal departments that are concerned that having any GPL code will be infectious and that Stallman will come and steal all their monies :)

                                      Our socialist free software utopia is ripe for exploitation by capitalists, and they’ll be rewarded for doing so. Capitalism is about enriching yourself - not enriching your users and certainly not enriching society.

                                      IMO this boils down to whether or not you think capitalism is inherently exploitative at its base or whether it can also be a force for good.

                                      I’m on the fence on this one. I would love to live in a post materialism utopia, and in that world, I would be utterly in favor of the GPL and the total freedoms it guarantees.

                                      But in this world, the world where my choices are profit or die (quite literally in my case) , I’m less convinced that profiting from other people’s work when it’s a gift, ostensibly freely given, is inherently exploitative.

                                      I give people free software because I want them to reciprocate with the same. That’s really all the GPL does.

                                      This right here? This is the best articulation of all the hurt and anger I see around companies like the one I work for building commercial products based on OSS code bases. This actually makes sense to me, and is perfectly reasonable.

                                      Permissive licenses were designed to allow for commercial use of the licensed work, so having expectations to the contrary seem like a recipe for disappointment to me. Rather than being outraged, software authors should choose licenses that will do what they want and mean, and save their energy for creating more awesome software :)

                                      As others have said it’s a great article - super thoughtful and well written. Thanks for posting it!

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                                        I’m on the fence on this one. I would love to live in a post materialism utopia, and in that world, I would be utterly in favor of the GPL and the total freedoms it guarantees.

                                        There’s great irony here; as the article points out, in such a world the GPL wouldn’t exist, because it would be pointless.

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                                          More correctly, it would be unnecessary. Like in the scientific environment, where people don’t feel the need for reciprocity and anti-troll clauses when publishing a paper.

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                                            In the scientific environment, most of it gets put behind paywalls even though that isn’t strictly necessary. I think they also give them the copyrights, too, in many cases. There’s been more papers on the open sites recently. So, we might look at the scientific environment like software when it was mostly proprietary with a strong upswing of F/OSS.

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                                              most of it gets put behind paywalls

                                              Researchers are not being paid by that and that’s also besides the point. There are no restrictions on the concepts of the paper, e.g. a theorem. Readers can teach the theorem to other people or use it without some legal restriction (e.g. being required to provide citation or not to sue the author of the theorem)

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                                            There’s great irony here; as the article points out, in such a world the GPL wouldn’t exist, because it would be pointless.

                                            My understanding is that GPL is exactly that: a copyright way of fighting copyright. From what I remember Stallman basically created it to restore the world to the state it was before people started copyrighting software: hardware came with the full source code and you could modify whatever you wanted. Kinda like the freedom @SirCmpwn is describing in the article.

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                                              You’re absolutely right. In a sense, the GPL exists to protect software author’s intent FROM capitalism and the legal mechanisms around it.

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                                                  He’d know. Look forward to reading that interview when I have more time.

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                                              you’re effectively banning your software from being run in large enterprise environments

                                              This is generally false. Only some large companies are avoiding GPL. Only some versions of it (3). And only in some use-cases. Also, they can change their decision without asking you.

                                              IMO this boils down to whether or not you think capitalism is inherently exploitative at its base or whether it can also be a force for good.

                                              How can you leap to this conclusion from reading a license? Plenty of companies release software under conditions that are way more restrictive than GPL (closed source, partnership agreements, contribution agreements…).

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                                                This is generally false. Only some large companies are avoiding GPL. Only some versions of it (3). And only in some use-cases. Also, they can change their decision without asking you.

                                                I will absolutely cop to my statement being too general, but you’re going to far the other way. I can speak to at least several environments where this is in fact the case.

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                                                  What, exactly, is the case? I’m aware of the internal policies of some FAANGS and other large companies.

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                                                    I can only speak for Google (having worked at the open source office), and our docs on GPL are here: https://opensource.google.com/docs/thirdparty/licenses/#restricted

                                                    Google’s monorepo and strong launch tooling means that we have very high confidence that GPL code doesn’t sneak into code that it shouldn’t, and we take great pains to ensure that all OSS is separated into a separate directory tree to make sure that people don’t accidentally patch the library and trigger a reciprocal license. We can do this because we have the money to have an OSS office, because we have the money to build the tooling, and because we have the institutional support to be a good OSS neighbor.

                                                    If I was CTO of a smaller company or one where all the code was federated into small repositories that I can’t track, I personally would ban GPL-style licenses. License forgiveness is certainly helpful, but once you’ve violated the license you are in a sticky situation where you have to either excise the library, or find employees who never looked at the code to clean-room implement it. Depending on how big that library is you might be very screwed. I would just see GPL as too dangerous.

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                                                      I would just see GPL as too dangerous.

                                                      That’s basically the point. If you plan to restrict users, stay away from the code that was written to provide them with freedom :)

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                                                      The (small) company I work for (based in Sweden, sells software for telecoms) bans the use of GPL libraries.

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                                                        The company I work for (based in Finland, sells software for telecoms) also bans the use of GPL libraries. ;)

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                                                          There’s a pattern emerging. It’s… that we need to sell GPL license exemptions to telecoms. Oh yeah!

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                                                  Except GPL would actually allow you to make money as a creator by selling a dual license. If you released it as MIT, then well, too bad.

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                                                    Care to explain this a bit? MIT is a permissive license, so you can sell your work, as can others. What’s “too bad” about this?

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                                                      Let’s say you have a library you wrote with MIT license that a company wants to use. You can’t sell them a license but you can sell them support. Most companies will simply not pay you.

                                                      However, with GPL, companies are afraid to use your library for free because GPL would force them to open source. You can say “look, I can sell you a license and you won’t be forced to open source”. This is a dual license scheme where companies pay you for the right not to have to open their own code.

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                                                    you’re effectively banning your software from being run in large enterprise environments

                                                    Are you ? AFAIK, you are not allowed to modify it privately or use it as an integral part of another solution. If you just use the tool as an end user on your own, I am 99% sure you can’t be approached by the layers. If I am wrong, I would also like to know :)

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                                                      The point is that these companies don’t actually care what the true legal implications are and just run away out of GPL phobia.

                                                      The GPL is used commercially in many places, so if you think you can’t do business with the GPL you’re either mistaken or your business is shady.

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                                                        The point is that these companies don’t actually care what the true legal implications are and just run away out of GPL phobia.

                                                        I see it more as paranoia, but in some cases, paranoia grounded in cold hard fact. When you are the biggest target, your legal department needs to figure out how to protect said target from attack. In order to do that, it MUST set incredibly paranoid boundaries to protect the company’s liability.

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                                                          Sort of. Apple forbids all GPLv3 but Google doesn’t. Both of these have comparable legal departments and are equally attractive targets and ship about as equally important software. They shouldn’t come to different conclusions on GPlv3.

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                                                          You and @feoh are talking about different thing which I don’t care for. I talk about legal stuff only, not about human psychology here. Please focus on topic.

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                                                            No, this is the topic. You’re “effectively banning” your software because those companies have internal rules to ban any GPL software. They don’t care what the actual rules are, because effectively they have decided to interpret them their own way.

                                                            Legal stuff is human psychology anyway, you have to convince a judge and a jury, who are fallible, biased, manipulatable humans.

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                                                          You are. Speaking from my personal experience at one such large corporate enterprise, use of GPL licensed software is straight up banned.

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                                                            I don’t know where you work, so I can’t comment on specifics, but I have found at other places I worked many coworkers thought “using any GPL’d software was banned” but all ran Bash on their MacOS laptops… now maybe you’re all Windows all the time and really have a ban where you work, but in my experience such bans are not quite so total as is sometimes perceived.

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                                                              So you’re banning stupid people from using your software (stupid, because apparently they can’t read a license and estimate its effect). I’d call that a net win because it reduces customer support requests: stupid as they are, they’re probably of the “you must fix the issue I have, now, for free” kind, too.

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                                                                FSVO “stupid people” which includes “smart people who’ve chosen to work for people who make stupid decisions”, sure. But it’s not an invalid point.

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                                                                  Respectfully, you’re both being a bit elitist here. There are limits on what we can conceive of based around our previous personal experiences.

                                                                  I have been thorugh the process of thinking something was stupid, only to learn that no really it’s NOT stupid and there were honest to god good reasons behind this or that restriction which I just wasn’t aware of at the time.

                                                                  Are they decisions you’d make? Possibly not. Are they decisions I’d make under the circumstances? Maybe and maybe not. I know I don’t have all the answers, and I’m arguably in a better position to have a wider view than some.

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                                                                One person already pointed out FAANG are known to do this. What they do doesn’t generalize to most enterprises, though. Heck, their success has a lot to do with being opposite of most enterprises. You should probably just say the specific companies, esp if it’s SaaS like Amazon.

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                                                                  FAANG are known to do some of that.

                                                                  I work at Google and editing GPL code (not just using, actually changing and distributing an external project, coreboot) is what they hired me for, so the GPL is certainly not “banned”. There are bans though and the list is public: https://opensource.google.com/docs/thirdparty/licenses/#banned

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                                                                    No but as someone else explained in more detail, it’s walled off from the mono-repo to protect the main code base from the viral nature of the GPL.

                                                                    Google has wisely chosen to put enough resources into play that it can safely play with fire safely.

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                                                              Rather than being outraged, software authors should choose licenses that will do what they want and mean, and save their energy for creating more awesome software :)

                                                              You’re missing the important case where one’s ethics does not necessarily align with what one thinks should be enforced by law. For example, you might think that cheating on your SO is wrong, but it is generally not illegal to do.

                                                              Just because I share similar goals as the FSF, does not mean I agree with their desired means to accomplish those goals.

                                                              Effectively, you’re espousing a form of “the ends justify the means.”

                                                              (You don’t need to ask me why I disagree with using copyleft as a means. Just go look up arguments against the use of intellectual property.)

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                                                                “Support Intellectual Prosperity, Not Property!”

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                                                                  You’re missing the important case where one’s ethics does not necessarily align with what one thinks should be enforced by law. For example, you might think that cheating on your SO is wrong, but it is generally not illegal to do.

                                                                  So then get involved with activism efforts to change said law to more fully align with your desires?

                                                                  My point is simple - we live in a society awash with outrage, and honestly I think it’s becoming a canned response to way too much, so I’m suggesting the channeling of that energy into something more useful. That’s all.

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                                                                    All I’m saying is that your outlook on how to choose licenses is extremely short sighted. And you aren’t the only one falling into this trap. Lots of people, for example, think it’s entirely unreasonable to be upset with someone plagiarizing your work if you put it into the public domain. And you’re effectively making the same argument, and it’s ridiculous.

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                                                                      I don’t agree. You’re making analogies that don’t work, at least in my world view. I’m sure you have information or background that I don’t, but can you please help me understand how writing some code and then putting it under a license which is explicitly designed to allow it to be copied, sold or otherwise used in a particular way is equivalent to plagiarizing someone’s written work which was explicitly designed NOT to be copied etc?

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                                                                        Sorry, but I don’t see what you’re missing. My last comment had zero analogies. The first analogy in my initial comment (cheating on SO) was merely used to demonstrate that laws and ethics are not the same thing. That is, just because I don’t want to use the full weight of the law to force you to do something (e.g., the GPL) doesn’t mean I thinkI don’t agree with the motivation for the GPL in the first place (reduce the amount kf proprietary code).

                                                                        In other words, saying you should choose a license based on its effect neglects the fact that one may disagree with the means by which the license achieves said effect.

                                                                        For example, I might choose to publish my source code in the public domain. In the eyes of the law, it would be legal for anyone to do anything with that work without restriction, including plagiarizing it. If you argue that one should choose a license only by its effect, then you’d think this was completely reasonable since I chose to put it into the public domain and knew this could happen. But what I’m saying is that this is a fairly shallow way to interpret license usage, and that it would be completely reasonable for the publisher to be upset at someone plagiarizing their public domain work. Because laws and ethics are not equivalent.

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                                                                          For example, I might choose to publish my source code in the public domain. In the eyes of the law, it would be legal for anyone to do anything with that work without restriction, including plagiarizing it. If you argue that one should choose a license only by its effect, then you’d think this was completely reasonable since I chose to put it into the public domain and knew this could happen. But what I’m saying is that this is a fairly shallow way to interpret license usage, and that it would be completely reasonable for the publisher to be upset at someone plagiarizing their public domain work. Because laws and ethics are not equivalent.

                                                                          I see where you’re coming from now, and you’re right. I am a citizen of the US. In the US, putting something into the public domain says that you can do whatever the hell you want with that code. If you copy the code and claim it’s yours, then I would think that is morally bankrupt of you to do, but you wouldn’t be violating the law.

                                                                          The law is what it is, and we have to live by it, or break it and face the consequences. When I have discussions with people, my assumption is that generally speaking “we will act within the boundaries of the law” goes without saying.

                                                                          I guess if you think people’s outrage is just and warranted, then that’s fine. I don’t know that I agree with you, but I also suspect that we are coming at this from two very different perspectives and I’m unsure whether it makes sense to try to have a meeting of the minds in this forum.

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                                                                            I’m not advocating breaking the law. I’m not sure how I could be clearer unfortunately, and I don’t know why you think I’ve abdicated the assumption that one should generally act within the law. This is about choosing licenses and the reasons for doing so. i.e., It can be about the means as well as the ends.

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                                                                  IMO this boils down to whether or not you think capitalism is inherently exploitative at its base or whether it can also be a force for good.

                                                                  As you mention later a lot of us don’t have a choice whether or not to participate in capitalism, but it is inherently exploitative. For example, you wouldn’t be forced to choose between profit or die unless you were being exploited in the first place.

                                                                  But you raise a really important point, which is that being able to avoid capitalism is a luxury and that’s something to keep in mind whenever we criticize people’s actions.

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                                                                    As you mention later a lot of us don’t have a choice whether or not to participate in capitalism, but it is inherently exploitative. For example, you wouldn’t be forced to choose between profit or die unless you were being exploited in the first place.

                                                                    False dichotomy, every developed country has some form of social welfare for its citizens to fall back on should they absolutely need it. Even in the wacky old free-market capitalist utopia United States.

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                                                                      False dichotomy, every developed country has some form of social welfare for its citizens to fall back on should they absolutely need it. Even in the wacky old free-market capitalist utopia United States.

                                                                      … Have you ever lived on welfare or other state supported benefit / plan? I have, albeit admittedly while I was still under my mother’s roof. I had MassHealth and she lived in survivor’s benefits and SSI to raise me.

                                                                      We got by and I never starved but please don’t put living in such a state forward as a viable alternative.

                                                                      For instance, with the expensive medical care I require, were I living on welfare or something like it, I might not die, but I’d likely wish for death given the hardship such a situation would impose.

                                                                      It’s very easy to make arguments based on theory, but living the reality is something quite different.

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                                                                        I was responding to the grandparent’s statement that I quoted and the fact that he/she painted a false dichotomy under capitalism of “profit or die” and used social welfare systems as a counterpoint. I didn’t say every country’s social welfare systems are perfect, just that by and large, they exist and they keep a lot of people from dying.

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                                                                        I’m not sure what you’re getting at, social welfare is not a capitalist construct.

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                                                                          But lack of social welfare is not a capitalist construct either.

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                                                                      “ermissive licenses were designed to allow for commercial use of the licensed work, so having expectations to the contrary seem like a recipe for disappointment to me. Rather than being outraged, software authors should choose licenses that will do what they want and mean, and save their energy for creating more awesome software :)”

                                                                      That’s what I keep saying.

                                                                    3. 3

                                                                      Great reflections, and I’m really happy to see this write-up. I’ve made a similar journey. One big factor for me was reflecting on how many times over the years I’ve seen thriving open-source ecosystems fall under corporate control, and the harm it does to the communities that had been built around that software.

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                                                                        I don’t think anything about Free Software is socialist. Socialism isn’t a synonym for “sharing”. In fact, I like Stallman’s formulation of the situation:

                                                                        Isn’t it ironic that the proprietary software developers call us communists? We are the ones who have provided for a free market, where they allow only monopoly. … if the users chooses this proprietary software package, he then falls into this monopoly for support … the only way to escape from monopoly is to escape from proprietary software, and that is what the free software movement is all about. We want you to escape and our work is to help you escape. We hope you will escape to the free world.

                                                                        Even being a democratic socialist, Stallman himself doesn’t see Free Software as some kind of socialist idea. I think it’s pretty anarchist, if you ask me.

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                                                                          Socialism and anarchism are totally compatible!

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                                                                            They are not. Communism and Anarchism are compatible.

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                                                                              Socialism and communism are practical synonyms (despite what many Americans seem to believe, socialism is not when the government does stuff), while socialism/communism and anarchism are two rather distinct strains of the radical workers’ movement. Communism largely grew out of critiquing utopian socialists and anarchists, both for their idealism.

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                                                                            Open source as formulated by Stallman is a great tool for evading anti-trust law and for exploiting cheap labor.

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                                                                            It took a while still for the importance of free software to set in. But this realization is inevitable, for a programmer immersed in Linux

                                                                            This!

                                                                            I used Windows since 3.11, then after some 20 years I moved to Linux (when MS was like Oracle/Google today). I used Linux as a main system for couple of years, then I returned to Windows again as my main system today.

                                                                            The Linux experience profoundly shaped me, and not because of the things I couldn’t do on Windows - its strictly because of way more open and sharing community and GNU philosophy.

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                                                                              You didn’t say why you moved back to Windows despite all the good you saw in Linux ecosystem. Im curious.

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                                                                                I find Windows much better for every day use. Its clear that usability was not a thing for Linux folks and I can understand that, given the priorities and agendas on that side (I consider Linux non-general-user system, mostly engineering system; exclude Android).

                                                                                I was initially using Ubuntu and later switched to Arch with i3 and although I liked everything a lot from professional and engineering viewpoint, many little things that I didn’t want to think about pushed me back to Windows. Like, why do I have to mount USB flash (yeah, I know about auto-mount and friends but the point is that I don’t want to think about such things, I wanted to work OTB) or recompile a kernel to use gpu drivers.

                                                                                All Linux desktops I tried sucked or looked like Windows 95 in design and usability (and even security). All in all, it required a lot of patience and knowledge and learning just to put the basics on and while it was invaluable experience first time I did it, later it became frustrating as I didn’t get any new knowledge but just a lot of setup and maintenance.

                                                                                There were also many many things that Windows just did better:

                                                                                • Automation in Linux Desktop is next to non existent. On Windows, I can choose many different tools (I prefer Autohotkey) that don’t exist there. Naturally, there is a lower need for those tools on Linux but lower is not the same as non existent like most people pretend.
                                                                                • Bash and friends are ugly and I would personally never like to see them again. Powershell is simply light years ahead of it.
                                                                                • Windows has much better file managers. I use Total Commander and there is simply nothing like that on Linux. I got in love with ranger but later dropped it as it can’t work on Windows.
                                                                                • Windows has instant search via Everything, locate and friends simply can’t compare.
                                                                                • I am a gamer and back then gaming was the best on Windows (maybe not true any more).

                                                                                Today, 5 or so years after, I am more happy about that decision then before as MS is doing all the right moves today. Open sourcing and cross platforming basically everything and including Linux kernel side 2 side will make my eventual return to Linux (or any other) system a non issue. I still use Linux systems a lot, both at home and at job and I believe just by the fact that Windows is not free its unusable for any system that needs to be scalable or contains large group of agents (IoT).

                                                                                The most important thing for me is that when I returned to use Windows, I got to use it radically different then before. I almost always use cross-platform tools now, almost always FOSS and I am in the shell 99% of the time. My Windows setup is automated 99%, I use package manager to install software 100% of the time (if there is no package, I create it rather then installing from the vendor site). 15 years before I used cracked software EXCLUSIVELY. Today I don’t use any, because of CBB and because I know so many little tools that do one job good that I can combine them any way I want. Plus I want to support the community, as we would all benefit from Windows culture to be more alike to one of Linux. My Windows distribution is coded and I can replicate it anywhere starting from default ISO install, by executing script and going for a coffee.

                                                                                Professionally, I think Linux made me great Windows engineer as I use Windows in Linux way. Strange thing to say, but that is what I believe :).

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                                                                                  Out of curiosity, do you have something like a tiling window manager on Windows? I may need to work at a Windows workstation and the hotkey to start and the fast automatic tiling leave me in fear of being very slow. That and apparently vim on Windows being a so-so experience.

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                                                                                    No, window managers aren’t really a thing on Windows.

                                                                                    There are number of tools that try to do this, more or less successful, but IMO none is akin to i3 and friends. Since YMMV you may try some. Last time I was looking into this was few years ago tho.

                                                                                    I have a cross platform vim settings with 50+ plugins and I can’t say I see any difference on vim behavior on Windows vs Linux.

                                                                                    In console world ConEmu gives you great tiling for console windows, Similar to how it works in vim or tmux. It also lets you tile in GUI apps but in explicit (scriptable) manner.

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                                                                                    Woau thank you for your explanations

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                                                                                      I don’t care about achievements, points, for all I care you can all think I am retarded.

                                                                                      But here, I honestly wonder what kind of asshole you need to be to downvote honest personal experience? Shame on those guys.

                                                                                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yy4CN9DVPII

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                                                                                  Personally I’ve been going in the opposite direction. Originally I was a big fan of the GPL and believed that MIT-type licenses result in proprietary derivatives which will ultimately become superior to and displace the open original. That was at a time where there were a lot of proprietary X servers, for example.

                                                                                  But over time I’m starting to think the opposite has become true. A commercial derivative of an open product tends to become inferior over time, because it’s unlikely that the vendor will be able to do more development than the rest of the community, and if they do any non-trivial development at all it’s very hard to continually merge community developments into their proprietary offering.

                                                                                  This tends to imply that whether a component is GPL or MIT, there will be an open version available, and it will probably be the best version available. The difference is how forcefully the author is demanding that to be the case.

                                                                                  For my own personal projects, whatever anyone else does with the code, I’ll always have my code that does what I want it to do, and I’ll always be able to take it wherever I want it to go, so whatever anybody else does really doesn’t matter too much.

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                                                                                    I’ve said for a long time that “permissive” licenses are copyleft-by-complaining and “copyleft” licences are permissive-by-laziness.

                                                                                    The number of times I’ve seen a permissively-licensed project used in a proprietary (or even just copylefted) way and have the community in an uproar over someone doing exactly what their license says you can do is… baffling.

                                                                                    The number of times I’ve seen a copyleft-licensed project with rampant copyright infringement (sometimes people say “license violations”) occurring but no enforcement action of any kind is also… baffling.

                                                                                    I’ve gone through a similar journey to the one in this article, but unless we start doing and supporting the work to may these licenses mean what they say it may not matter so much.

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                                                                                      In an ideal world, copyright wouldn’t exist in any form, but it’s a good thing to use it for copyleft while it’s still around, I think. I use the AGPLv3 for most of my work and the CC0 for those very few cases where I’d rather more people use the software. I like that the AGPLv3 scares several companies, as I’d really rather they not use my software to start with; in addition to this, I also have the option of selling exceptions or anything else, if I wanted to, although I don’t really see this in my future.

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                                                                                        Abolishing copyright entirely seems to be a too extreme step to me. I’d like to return to a more reasonable time frame though - author’s lifetime or 12 years, whichever is longest.

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                                                                                          3-5. Make them earn the monopolies with productivity.

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                                                                                          If you don’t want companies to appropriate your work in software, abolishing copyright seems like the worst of both worlds. For compiled languages, companies can still keep their privately developed code secret, while any collaboratively developed code is up for grabs.

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                                                                                          Capitalism is about enriching yourself - not enriching your users and certainly not enriching society.

                                                                                          By enriching themselves capitalists produce positive externalities that enrich society. What an unnecessary statement that derails the discussion about this piece into a flamewar.

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                                                                                            What an unnecessary statement that details the discussion about this piece into a flamewar.

                                                                                            My guess is that is exactly what’s intended. The OP has a history of writing inflammatory blog posts.

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                                                                                            I agree with the conclusions in this article yet cannot deny the existence of successful projects that use more permissive licenses, the BSDs being an obvious example. Even if/when a corporation takes the source for their own gain, the community of developers surrounding the original project remains unchanged, assuming the project is not a service wanting to turn a profit.

                                                                                            When you’re developing a service you hope to charge a fee for, such as sourcehut, it seems wise to use less permissive licenses like GPL, but for the other cases I’m tempted to think it might not make much difference whether you use MIT or GPL?

                                                                                            edit: clarified point

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                                                                                              I used to think this as well, but I also think that GPL played a large role in the greater popularity that linux has over bsd.

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                                                                                                There was uncertainty about the lawfulness of using the BSD source due to AT&T’s UNIX patents and ongoing litigation.

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                                                                                                  That was also a big part. But I think that forcing people to contribute their improvements to the community was also a contributing factor.

                                                                                                  That being said I don’t think any license is one size fits all. And I am very glad that we have great kernels in both gpl and bsd licenses.

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                                                                                              I am fine if people want to make money with my software, as long as whatever they add on to my software is also open source.

                                                                                              People are willing to pay for software, even open source, as getting from the source code to a finished binary can be a pain. I want an open source license that that doesnt allow people to use my stuff as part of a closed source project, unless they pay me.

                                                                                              I dont know if such a thing exists, so for now I am using this:

                                                                                              https://choosealicense.com/licenses/osl-3.0

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                                                                                                You don’t need a single license for this. As long as you maintain sole copyright, you can license the software under any additional license someone is willing to pay for. That license applies to their copy, while the open source (likely copyleft) license applies to everyone else who receives the license without pay.

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                                                                                                “My Personal Journey from MIT to GPL”

                                                                                                You went the wrong direction :p