Re: [hackers] Licensing status of patches

From: Hiltjo Posthuma <>
Date: Wed, 30 Sep 2020 14:06:39 +0200

On Wed, Sep 30, 2020 at 11:41:03AM +0200, Laslo Hunhold wrote:
> 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
> market.
> 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.

The last sentence regarding non-financial political interests is not
true/misleading. See also the page "Selling Free Software":

I think it is a too simplistic view mapping it to a certain economic/political
wing or to put it even more bluntly "people in business suits" vs hippies.

I think for businesses a development-model of selling and providing the full
FOSS and offer paid services for the custom work done is a more fair model.

> 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
> Laslo

Kind regards,
Received on Wed Sep 30 2020 - 14:06:39 CEST

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