"The Gnu General Public Licence (GPL) has been around in one form or another since the Gnu manifesto published by Richard Stallman in 1985. The free software movement founded at that time has not simply created the most successful copyright licence ever, it has acted as a guide to other, similar movements..."

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can.axis's picture
Created by can.axis 12 years 38 weeks ago – Made popular 12 years 38 weeks ago
Category: Legal   Tags:
J.B.Nicholson-Owens's picture


12 years 37 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago


Google reports GPL use but disallows AGPL use?

"Fast forward to July 2009. Google is reporting that half the GPL projects it hosts are now using the GPLv3 — that is roughly 56,000 projects hosted by Google alone. In the world of active projects GPLv3 adoption is even greater."

Google's position regarding the AGPL -- the Affero General Public License -- is an interesting discussion. The AGPL's most notable characteristic is that it allows licensors to require that licensees distribute complete corresponding source code when the program is used as a network service.

Bradley Kuhn pointed out on funambol.com some time ago why Google's proprietary interests directly conflict with the AGPL, and there are Google bug entries (1, 2) discussing the matter further (including plenty of uncalled vitriol from Google employees) that don't appear to conclude with Google code hosting allowing AGPL'd projects. I don't have (and don't want) a Google account, so I don't know if they've changed since these bugs were last updated.

"Freedom: For some reason mentioning the word “freedom” is considered bad form, as if we are supposed to take freedom seekers as wild zealots who lack the ability to approach life in a rational and pragmatic manner."

That reason isn't as mysterious as this article would have you believe. That "bad form" explanation is propagated by open source proponents who see program development as a purely pragmatic exercise aimed primarily at benefiting business.

Open source advocates would have you believe that your software freedom is irrelevant. Accordingly they offer multiple ways to get you to part with freedom-related thinking including framing the issue of "choice" above that of freedom. Software freedom is more important than choice because one can easily lose software freedom by reducing one's choices to only include proprietors: whose OS would you rather run, MacOS or Windows? The question is a distraction away from what's important. Neither choice ends in respecting a user's software freedom but as long as you have more than one option, you have a choice.

The social solidarity at the heart of the free software movement is a far more compelling reason to prefer software freedom to "open source" development methodology. Working together with others and sharing information is something anyone can appreciate.

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