[erlang-questions] [OT] Re: GPL vs. whatever [was: Erlang UUID]

Torben Hoffmann <>
Mon Mar 19 20:46:12 CET 2012


I think that many big companies avoid GPLv3-code like the plague. 

I worked for Motorola and it was virtually impossible to get approval 
to use a GPLv3 licensed piece of software - this was due to an incident 
where Motorola lost some patents due to incorrect usage of a GPLv3 
library.
This viral aspect of GPLv3 is keeping big companies from using products 
with that license.

You may argue that "why don't they just get a non-GPL license agreement 
with the author", but unless you are dealing with a single contributor 
it becomes very difficult to do and even in the case of a single 
contributor it is not easy to get set up correctly.
That is too much risk and stops the usage of GPLv3 software in many 
companies.

Just a different angle on the discussion...
Torben

On Mon Mar 19 14:46:58 2012, Simon Thompson wrote:
> Isn't the biggest difference likely to be that many companies won't contribute patches to GPL code, because they're not using it? At least, not as a component of their product. OK, some cowboys may be using it in violation of the licence... but then they're hardly going to advertise the fact by contributing patches!
>
> John
>
> Sent from my iPhone
>
> On 18 Mar 2012, at 18:40, Miles Fidelman<>  wrote:
>
>> Daniel Dormont wrote:
>>> In the simple case, it's pretty straightforward:
>>>
>>> BSD - I can make fixes in your code and send them to you, and it's cool because both of us could release our own proprietary version based on those if we want
>>>
>>> GPL - I can make fixes in your code and send them to you, and it's cool because neither of us can make our own proprietary version
>>>
>>> Except that, as mentioned above, some companies use the "dual-license" approach so that they and they and they alone can produce a proprietary version of their own code. I assume RMS must find this terribly ironic, but it is only the GPL and not BSD that enables this. But in this case, upstream contributions are a problem unless the contributor is required to give permission to the original author to dual-license the code. But if you were a potential contributor to such a project, wouldn't you think twice about it?
>>
>> Not necessarily.  If the original author is both doing most of the development, and being fairly responsible about releasing code as open source (i.e., the commercial version has serious value added capabilities, rather than the "community version" being a substantially crippled version of the commercial product), I certainly don't begrudge the developers the ability to generate revenue.  Rather, it benefits me for them to be able to support their activities, and for contributions and fixes to make their way into the open source version.  On other hand, contributing a fix to a crippled version of code, that enhances the commercial version - that I'd think twice about.
>>
>> Miles Fidelman
>>
>>
>> -- 
>> In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
>> In practice, there is.   .... Yogi Berra
>>
>>
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