Re: [hackers] Licensing status of patches

From: Laslo Hunhold <>
Date: Wed, 30 Sep 2020 11:41:03 +0200

On Wed, 30 Sep 2020 11:19:43 +0200
Hiltjo Posthuma <> wrote:

Dear Hiltjo,

> I actively search for FOSS in my life and think using software which
> is GPL-licensed is fine.

yeah, opinions differ here of course. I also use a lot of GPL-licensed
software, but avoid it in terms of GPLv3-licensing-issues when picking
up APIs/libraries.

> Maybe spreading virally is a better term (although maybe not
> currently :)).

Haha, one could say I didn't want to trigger any Google censor bots
given the current global situation. ;) I can get behind the "viral"
term though, and it's better suited here.

> It is "restrictive" in this sense it forces a direction, which is by
> design.

Yes, in the end it's a matter of your personal world-view. MIT/ISC/etc.
are "libertarian". They remove restrictions as much as possible and
"let the free market" decide. The risk here is that big corporations or
other powerful players (e.g. state actors) can take over a project and
choose not to publich further modifications, and in a sense this
corresponds to right-wing economic principles that trusts the free

The GPL is corresponding to a left-wing economic view: Restrictions are
set in place in the interest of steering the market in a way that is
aligned with (possibly non-financial) political interests.

Both economic directions can go to extremes, and we all know the
corresponding issues this brings. With GPL vs. MIT/ISC, I think this is
the same: It's wrong to outright reject the GPL and one should accept
that there are valid reasons to use it. It's also wrong to give flak to
projects/people preferring MIT/ISC (or even actively avoiding the GPL),
and accepting that the policy induced by the GPL has downsides.

Most importantly though, one should protect the liberty of choice in
the FOSS landscape. Even though I am a strong proponent of MIT/ISC, some
(recent) developments in the FOSS landscape have shown me that copyleft
is a good thing to have on the larger scale.

With best regards

Received on Wed Sep 30 2020 - 11:41:03 CEST

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