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

hendrik@topoi.pooq.com wrote:
On Fri, Dec 01, 2006 at 09:52:16PM -0700, Nate Duehr wrote:
hendrik@topoi.pooq.com wrote:

My assertion: The kernel is more important than the license. Code trumps license. No code, no need to even use or have a license... whatever it is.
Code without licence tends not to propagate. Linux wasn't the first Unix-compatible one to have been written. It seems to me there was a Unix-compatible kerlen written in the language TURING sometime in the late 70's or early 80's. But it didn't have a free license, and -- well, have any of you ever heard of it?
Code before licenses were popular propagated just fine. Ask RMS! It's the basis for the entire GNU movement! Code *was* propagating just fine until greedy companies added licenses. Then the so-called battle was enjoined.

True. I remember those days from back in the sixties. What you need the license for is to grant the users the right to propagate the code. Placing it in the public domain (which to my mind is a kind of license, whatever the legal technicalities may say) has the effect that companies can take the code private, privately enhance it to the degree that they effectively own what the original code has become, which may atrophy. This may or may not be what is intended, but the larger the developer community, and the greater the utility of the code, the less likely is will be to happen.

GPL did prevent that kind of taking-private, but its contagion provisions are, in my mind, more restrictive than necessary to accomplish this aim.

GPL prevents it, but people CHOOSING to purchase the commercial version in the first place caused the problem. GPL was not necessary if people had simply refused to use the commercialized versions.

I could send you some code in e-mail right now if you'd like. You could modify it and send it on privately to someone or use it in your business and I'd never know about it. Code propagates just fine without licenses.

And if you ever found out about it seven years form now when you've acquired a different mindset? Would you sue? Are you sure? If you did sue, would you win? And even if you are sure you wouldn't sue or couldn't win, can I be sure unless you do explicitly place it in the public domain?

Depends on my morals and ethics, doesn't it? I could GPL it and later still sue, no difference there. GPL would limit whatever damage I could cause by suing -- maybe. That remains to be seen in court.

Under current international law, code is automatically copyright by the author. Unless a license is explicitly or implicitly granted, no one else has the right to make copies.

What if I don't WANT a Copyright. Stupid. What if I want nothing to do with it once released? I don't want an "automatic license" if I mail you some code without a license on it. That's stupid and sounds like it was creaed for idiots who forgot to license their code.

You guys do realize I'm playing Devil's advocate here, and would always explicitly license any code I released as a matter of course. Or explicitly release Copyright and place it in the Public Domain.

I completely understand all you guy's comments, but I disagree heavily that code ever *REQUIRES* a license.

And that is the point I'm trying to drive home to anyone who believes that code requires a license. It simply doesn't.

Code is code, and is always Free, unless created under contract that it remain non-Free or released under a restrictive license like the GPL or BSD or anything else... anything other than raw code is encumbered with non-Freedom. And that's okay... it's just a point that few in the GPL fan-boy community ever even think about, let alone really digest fully.


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