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05.19.11

Firms With Microsoft Ties Discourage Use of the GPL Licence

Posted in BSD, FUD, GPL, Microsoft at 12:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Locks and poll

Summary: Free/open source software which can be converted into proprietary is said to be preferred by enterprises, based on proprietary data from a proprietary software firm headed by a Microsoft veteran

We have seen it all before. Microsoft-friendly firms like Black Duck (created by a Microsoft guy) tell us that the GPL is in trouble while saying good things about Microsoft’s replacements for the GPL after a special Microsoft arrangement; Meanwhile, OpenLogic, which is headed by a Microsoft guy, continues telling us that GPL violations are so very commonplace, scary, etc. and now they say that enterprises do not like the GPL (they try to soften the FUD using a comparison). Here is their latest press release which advocates more BSD-style licensing over GPL. “So considerations around choosing an open source license that will further open source adoption remain important,” they say. They also sell FUD around licensing. Another such company, Protecode, has this new press release about its proprietary software. The whole thing just doesn’t smell like Free software at all; rather, it is proprietary and it continues to portray the GPL as a threat to businesses, which it obviously is not. Many of the most popular packages out there (WordPress, Drupal, Linux, etc.) are GPL-licensed and it is working pretty well for everyone.

The BSD-style licences are mostly useful for one type of business: proprietary. Several years ago, code that I wrote and published under the GPL (and got about 100,000 downloads) was relicensed “BSD” without my permission really. I was given the option to either not publish it or relicense it as BSD. Now it can be exploited by companies whose behaviour I do not endorse — companies that harm my freedom (using my code that I wrote). Remember that Apple and Microsoft exploited a lot of BSD-licensed code, which became proprietary. They don’t really like to talk about it, unless they spin that as “supporting” open source (or “leveraging”, but never “exploiting” or “ripping off”). What ever happened to KHTML?

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