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Re: [OT] - Interesting politics and the GPL

On Wed, Oct 23, 2002 at 08:34:38PM -0700, Craig Dickson wrote:
> Jamin W. Collins wrote:
> > I understand the concept of the BSD style license(s) (I think), but fail
> > to see why it would be acceptable as a license for anything federally
> > funded.  With a BSD style license, anyone is free to take the result (at
> > any stage) and create a closed (possibly enhanced) proprietary
> > implementation.  Why should this be allowed for something paid for by
> > the public's tax dollars?  The public has already paid for a good
> > portion (if not all) of the item through federal funding.  Now it can be
> > incorporated into a proprietary application and the public winds up
> > paying for it twice?
> Well, remember that corporations are taxpayers too. 

Well, some of them.  But corporations have no inherent right to
existence; real people, through their Governments, allowed corporations
to be set up as a kind of trade: the owners get some legal shielding
from the corps' actions, and we get taxes and societal benefits.  If a
corporation isn't living up to it's end of the deal, then something
needs to be done about it.

> One could reasonably argue that it is just as improper to deny them
> the full use of publicly- funded code is it would be to deny any
> individual American citizen.

Of course, the GPL does not restrict a corporations internal rights
anyway.  They can even develop proprietary software for in house use,
without sharing the source with anyone (including employees).  The only
restriction is that they can't sell proprietary derivatives to *people
outside the company* without also releasing the modified source under
the GPL; the exact same restriction that GPL places on me.  Oddly
enough, corps don't mention this while bitching about how the GPL is

What they actually want is for the code to be sold to them at fire sale
prices under a license that lets them do whatever they want with it,
without contributing back to the community that payed for it.


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