The Switch’s license list has a heading “Free BSD Kernel” which has, at least, zlib’s license under it. Not sure I’d jump to “runs FreeBSD” based on this alone.
There’s two possibilities - it’s actually FreeBSD, or its chunks of FreeBSD like drivers or the networking stack glued onto another OS. Judging by Nintendo’s precedent, I’m leaning the latter, especially as when the Switch was in development, ARMv8 FreeBSD wasn’t remotely mature, so development would be tough either way.
They could also be doing something like in the old Embedded, FreeBSD Cookbook: chopping the OS down significantly to use just what they need. I’m also leaning with you toward gluing it with proprietary stuff.
A proprietary platform running on top of a permissively licensed program? Well, color me surprised.
And the problem is? That’s precisely why people license it that way.
Not exclusively. There are a reasonable number of people (myself sometimes included) who use permissive licenses not because we want big companies to refuse to contribute back changes, or approve of them not doing so, but just because the cure of a GPL or AGPL style license can sometimes be worse than the disease in terms of imposing license-compatibility complexity on downstream users. It’s completely consistent imo to say, if someone makes significant improvements to my software and doesn’t likewise share them, I’m not going to reserve the right to sue them (hence a permissive license), but I do reserve the right to think they’re kind of a jerk.
It’s even fairly common sentiment in parts of the BSD community. I remember especially a few years back when OpenBSD was in financial trouble, people were drawing up lists of companies that had products built on OpenBSD and didn’t give anything back (code or money). De Raadt, for example, has complained that “it sure is sad that none of these companies return even a fraction of value in kind”, though nobody disputes that they had no legal obligation to do so.
Yeah, that’s my point. Wasted effort.
Ah yes, it’s definitely wasted effort to create great software, then watch people use it and benefit from it.
If you’re on the BSD side of open-source then there is a reasonable train of thought to it.
Many people create open-source not just to spread the idea of open-source, but to let others have good software. BSD people are usually totally happy with a closed-source system running BSD because they know that system is more stable and secure than if the company tried to create something themselves.
This is outright appalling to the GPL people, but oh well.
No it’s not. I don’t know a single “GPL person” (including myself) who is anything remotely close to “appalled” by permissive licensing. The most anyone might care is being slightly disappointed that the author is allowing the proprietarization of their software. Personally, I’m just bemused that they would want to donate their labor to people making money off it without compensation (it’s like the opposite of socialism!), but that’s entirely their prerogative.
A lot of BSD and Apache licensed code I have written was paid for.
If they based the device off of Linux and the kernel bits modified were only some proprietary hardware drivers that aren’t of much use to anyone else, but the device is still locked down so you can’t run your own software on it, and all the fun stuff is in userland which isn’t open source, how is that any different to Linux kernel developers that still “donated their labor to people making money off it without compensation”?
Or more likely these days, some company building a SaaS product on top of Linux with some custom changes (like say… some custom hardware support) that nobody else ever gets to see. As long as said company never distributes it, they are in compliance with the GPL license.
The most anyone might care is being slightly disappointed that the author is allowing the proprietarization of their software.
But that’s pure fiction. No permissive software is ever “proprietarized”. The permissvely licensed work is never taken away. FreeBSD is still right there, as permissive as ever.
The only proprietary thing here is the proprietary work Nintendo did beyond or on top of it.
Personally, I’m just bemused that they would want to donate their labor to people making money off it without compensation
I’ve been paid for all the permissively-licensed software I’ve ever written. My employer was happy to donate the code to the community for a variety of reasons.