Licensing Open Source in General

Roland roland at
Mon Feb 18 18:47:24 CST 2002

Hello all,
with the ongoing discussion about this topic has brought me to think about 
licensing open source(OS) in general.
I think a broad discussion involving all major OS advocates is long 
overdue. I think there should be made a webpage somewhere to start 
discussing this topic on a serious basis.

Two important licenses:
1. BSD-style
2. xGPL

Many projects are started with the xGPL nowadays. It just seems natural. 
Any other license for open source looks unnatural at first glance.  I think 
the popularity of Linux has contributed to this. But is the xGPL a good 
I think one of the main reason for the xGPL is that developers have the 
fear that their project might be hijacked and their work used to make 
profit by some companies. As Brett Glass pointed out, this is not a fair 
point of view. After all if a companies adds value to a project by creating 
new features why shouldn't it be allowed to sell it and make money out of 
it? The GPL prevents this from happening but where is the advantage in 
that? I think the GPL retricts software development because many good 
projects cannot be done by companies because they are not allowed to use 
any GPL code as basis of their products. The sad thing is that this affects 
mostly small companies. Big companies can allow themselves to reinvent the 
wheel, coding everything they need. I think a lot of small businesses could 
do money out of open source if the licensing allowed this.

Linus Torvalds wrote:
"But _personally_ I don't want to do
significant work under that kind of copyright and having to wonder
whether the best version of Wine will be free in the future.."

Personally I keep wondering if it would be that bad if we had a company 
producing a better version of WINE than the free one. Why should this be 
bad? If you don't like it, you still can use the free version. And look at 
FreeBSD. AFAIK there is no proprietary version better than the free version.

Apple based his OS X on lots of free software and contributed back a lot:

This wouldn't be possible with Linux I think.

Best regards, Roland

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