Re: [dev] [license] gpl issues

From: Laslo Hunhold <>
Date: Fri, 5 May 2023 08:07:25 +0200

On Thu, 4 May 2023 09:05:39 +0100
Ray Garner <> wrote:

Dear Ray,

> I'm curious about licensing and was wondering why suckless tools are
> released under MIT rather than an alternative like GPL. Is it just to
> make it compatible with more other software?
> Also, the GPL is included on the on the list of harmful
> software but without explanation. Does anyone here know if its
> considered harmful for compatability reasons or something else?

I try to take a balanced stance in the GPL vs. MIT discussion, given it
usually derails into tribalist diatribes on both sides.

My main gripe with the GPL (especially GPLv3) is its complexity.
Nothing beats a simple ISC or 0BSD license which clearly states what
you can and cannot do. I don't want to need a law degree to fully
understand a license, and the GPLv3 is literally a bloody book[0]!

I also do not like the infectious nature of the GPL. Having to license
derivatives under the GPL makes sense, but I find it highly troublesome
having to license my program linking against a GPL library also under
the GPL, which is insane. Sure, there's the LGPL, but there are lots of
libraries out there that are licensed under the GPL (e.g. toxcore), and
it really pisses me off. It's also really irritating having to hear the
patronizing tone of many GPL proponents.

Copyleft is an interesting concept, but it seriously breaks in a more
developed software ecosystem. If there's only one piece of software
around for a certain task (which was mostly the case back in the 90s),
you have some power by licensing it as GPL, and it also gives it some
"protection". However, for small software projects, many people (and
especially companies) will avoid anything GPL when there's a
MIT/BSD/ISC licensed alternative. You also do not need the GPL
protection when you have lots of contributors, so the only case where
GPL really makes sense is where you run the danger of a "proprietary"
fork where a company has more development resources than a group of OSS

TL;DR: Read the comic in the attachment. :)

With best regards



Received on Fri May 05 2023 - 08:07:25 CEST

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