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Re: what's the killer app for GNU/Linux systems?

On Fri, Dec 01, 2006 at 09:52:16PM -0700, Nate Duehr wrote:
> Both the GPL *and* commercial licenses are ultimately based on FUD.  If 
> you're scared of the consequences of simply taking some code and using 
> it as you please and/or the consequences of doing so:  You want a 
> license to tell you how you may or may not use it.
> Neither is Freedom.  Both are restricted.  Otherwise they wouldn't be 
> licenses.
> If you simply do what you wish with whatever code you have, and accept 
> the consequences, whatever they might be, you don't need a license.

Your argument does not hold.  In the early days, so few people were
using code that it really didn't matter.  As more people came along and
became education in programming and computer science, more people
started founding companies to develop software.  These people realized
that like a book, someone could copy it without permission and sell
those copies without the original author getting the benefit.  That is
called copyright.  It has existed for a very long time.

Eventually enough people got involved that it was decided somehow
(probably on some obscure court case) that computer source and binary
code are treated the same as books and words.  The author has a right
to restrict distribution.  In the absence of instructions to the
contrary, that is the default: no redistribution unless you are the
author.  Now, I don't want to get into the argument of doctrine of first
sale or anything else like that.

The point is that copyright restricts your freedoms, *for a time*, as an
incentive to the creator of the work actually create it.  Now, the time
has been growing, but that is another argument.  The GPL grants you
*more* freedoms by letting the creator decide to provide special
instructions that this copyrighted work can be distributed even though
it is still covered under copyright.  Now, how that is not freedom, I'm
not sure.

Of course, other licenses go further, such as the BSD-style licenses and
you can always put something into the public domain, but that option is
not attractive to many.



Roberto C. Sanchez

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