Re: what's the killer app for GNU/Linux systems?
On Fri, Dec 01, 2006 at 09:52:16PM -0700, Nate Duehr wrote:
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
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?
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
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.