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GNU is Not Unix Microsoft Patents

MS-Funded Study Attacks GPL3 Draft Process 206

Posted by kdawson
from the academic-astroturf dept.
QCMBR writes "A new Microsoft-funded study by a Harvard Business School professor concludes that developers don't want extensive patent licensing requirements in the GPL3. There are significant problems with the study, however, especially given the very small sample size. 'Although 332 emails were sent to various developers, only 34 agreed to participate in the survey — an 11 percent response rate. Of the 34 developers who responded, many of them are associated with projects like Apache and PostgreSQL that don't even use the GPL.' Ars points out that the GPL3 draft editing and review process is highly transparent and inclusive 'to an extent that makes MacCormack's claims of under-representation seem difficult to accept given the small sample size of the study and the number of respondents who contribute to non-GPL projects.'"
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MS-Funded Study Attacks GPL3 Draft Process

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  • by teh_chrizzle (963897) <kill-9.hobbiton@org> on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @04:21PM (#19226783) Homepage

    in this day and age, and on slashdot in particular, isn't "MS funded" synonymous with "/ignore"?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @04:37PM (#19227101)
    I take it you didn't bother to read the actual study. If you had, you'd have to agree that what they're saying does make sense.

    A lot of it revolves around the decades-old debate between the BSD- or MIT-styled licenses, and the GPL-styled licenses. Essentially, what we find is that those who scream the loudest about giving freedom often are actually the biggest proponents of limiting it. That's what we have with the GPLv2, for instance. It puts some pretty serious restrictions on what can be done with modified code, for instance. It actually takes away a lot of freedom, when we think of freedom as measured for the entire community, and not just the developers/users of the GPL'ed software.

    Meanwhile, those who use licenses like the BSD license or the MIT license tend to be more focused on technical excellency. But by not focusing as much on the freedom-related issues, they actually tend to offer far greater liberties when it comes to using, modifying, redistributing and profiting from their work. Their attitude tends to be one of "do whatever you want, just keep our license and disclaimer notices intact". So in the end, everyone in the community has a far greater degree of freedom as to how they want to use, modify, redistribute, etc., the software. Freedom is maximized, as much as is practically so.

  • by qparadox (1105733) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @04:40PM (#19227179)
    Here's a summary of the developer data used in the study, see pp 21-22.

    Demographic Group
    Pragmatists 19
    Intellectuals 8
    Philosophers 7

    GPLv2 / LGPL / GPLv2+Commercial: 20
    included: Linux, MySQL, XenSource, Snort, Amanda, JBoss, GCC Toolchain

    Non-GPL: 14
    Includes:Apache, PHP, Apache Geronimo, Perl, PostgreSQL, Eclipse

    Raw Data:
    Amanda 2
    Apache 4
    Apache Geronimo 3
    Eclipse 1
    GCC Toolchain 4
    Jboss 3
    Linux Kernel 7
    MySQL 1
    Perl 2
    PHP 2
    PostgreSQL 2
    Snort 2
    XenSource 1
  • by karmatic (776420) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @05:53PM (#19228501)
    The GPL and the BSD license both aim to "maximize" freedon - however, the difference is not about communities, or developers vs users.

    The GPL is designed to maximize freedom for all recipients - the first user to get the source must offer the same abilities to anyone he chooses to distribute to.
    The BSD license is designed to maximize freedom of those who get the software from the original author - almost carte blanche. On the other hand, users of derivative works only have as much freedom as the developers along the chain decide to allow them to have.
  • by Znork (31774) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @04:23AM (#19233273)
    "GPL has some pretty harsh restrictions on what the users of the code can do."

    No. The GPL has no restrictions on what users of the code can do. The GPL isnt an EULA. The GPL is a copyright license, and as such only becomes relevant once you want to do something you would otherwise be forbidden to do by copyright law, ie, copy, modify and distribute.

    "care about the people who only intend to use the compiled software."

    Care about the people as in ensuring that they too have access to the code, should the software not perform the task they wish? Care about the people as in care about their right to share the software with friends if they enjoy it?

    Caring about people takes many forms; sometimes it means denying others the ability to gain power and control over them.

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