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Re: GNU "Moral Codes"

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: GNU "Moral Codes"
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2007 00:08:03 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.1.50 (gnu/linux)

mike3 <> writes:

> It seems the GNU licenses are designed so you can't just monopolize
> off someone else's work -- rip it off and pilfer it for your profit,
> which is what incorporating it into a proprietary package without
> making that free would do.

Wrong.  I'd say you have been reading too many of Linus Torvalds'
rants: that is his opinion as well.

The GPL is not a "tit for tat" license: the upstream author gets
nothing from the recipient by defaul, nor does he have any right to.
But any further downstream recipients get all the rights the GPL
guarantees.  The GPL ensures that no recipient gets crippled software,
software which can't be serviced.  It is the software engineering
equivalent of placing good schematics inside of any sold appliance.

So the GPL is "tat for tat" rather than "tit for tat": it is not
reciprocal but seminal.

> This may be good, but what is the GNU position on monopolizing or
> reaping a profit off licensing your OWN work?

You have to distinguish here between the stance of the GNU project in
general, the subset of the effects and goals that the GPL codifies,
and the FSF's and Richard Stallman's personal convictions, and those
have changed over time as well.

I recommend that you read the GNU manifesto.  It should tell you

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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