Re: [Nolug] BSD vs GPL

From: Mark A. Hershberger <>
Date: Wed, 15 Jul 2009 16:02:07 -0400
Message-ID: <>

Petri Laihonen <> writes:

> 1) Licensing has absolutely no effect on peoples honesty nor lack
> thereof. (upbringing has the most effect on that)

Absolutely correct. But, honest people know that if they redistribute
GPL software, they are bound tro certain conditions. We've seen over
and over (with proprietary and GPL software) that there are those who
don't care a bit about the legal restrictions a license puts on them.
(Though, its a lot harder to violate the GPL than most EULAs.)

> 2) Licenses are created for the limiting purposes only.

Not true. The BSD-style licenses are there specifically because our
copyright system doesn't have a good, simple way of putting something in
the public domain. Back in the late 70s, early 80s, when copyright on
software was granted by default, it became extremely difficult to create
un-copyrighted software.

So, software has the terms that copyright sets by default. Changing
those terms (as the BSD, GPL and all EULAs do) requires a license.

> 3) Why would freedom need a license?

Because otherwise copyright restricts your freedom. Copyright means
that you do not have the right to modify someone else's source code.
That right has to be granted.

The GPL and BSD grants that right. The BSD does not put restrictions on
what you can do with your modifications, but the GPL does.

Every day, mindful practice.  When the mind is disciplined, then the
Way can work for us.  Otherwise, all we do is talk of the Way; everything
is just words; and the world will know us as its one great fool.
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Received on 07/15/09

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