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FSF On How To Choose a License 210

Posted by timothy
from the have-it-suit-your-endeavor dept.
ciaran_o_riordan writes "FSF have put together their license recommendations, beyond just their own licenses, for software, documentation, and other works: 'People often ask us what license we recommend they use for their project. We've written about this publicly before, but the information has been scattered around between different essays, FAQ entries, and license commentaries. This article collects all that information into a single source, to make it easier for people to follow and refer back to. The recommendations below are focused on licensing a work that you create — whether that's a modification of an existing work, or a new original work.'"
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FSF On How To Choose a License

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  • by bky1701 (979071) on Friday May 27, 2011 @06:23AM (#36260916) Homepage
    I don't believe copyright should exist, but as it does, support GPL-like licenses as a sort of attempt at perversion of the system to ends actually beneficial to society. It would be stupid to give one side all the legal ammunition by just using public domain.
  • by GPLHost-Thomas (1330431) on Friday May 27, 2011 @06:31AM (#36260944)
    In Debian, if you release some documentation using the FDL, and if don't specify that it has no back-cover or invariant part, we'll consider it non-free (eg: it wont go in Debian main, wont be allowed to be put on the CDs, etc.). Yet, the FSF doesn't recognize how bad this license is, and continues to push for this broken one. This is really pure stupidity. People are going to release documentation under this license, thinking that it will render the documentation free, when in fact, it's going to do the exact opposite thing. Why can't the FSF learn and correct this huge mistake? I don't get it...
  • by maxwell demon (590494) on Friday May 27, 2011 @06:39AM (#36260976) Journal

    What is the advantage of the BSD license over the Apache license (which they did mention)?

    But it is not ridiculous anyway. It details what they think about how software should be licensed in order to further their goals.
    Now your goals may be different to their goals, so the advice doesn't fit your goals. So what? You may not share the goals, but the article isn't about the goals, but how to reach them. It would be ridiculous if the advice obviously did not further their(!) goals. But it is totally irrelevant if they further your goals (except if your goals coincide with theirs). If you don't share their goals, then this article is not for you.

    Of course you can argue whether their goals are right. But that's a different topic, unrelated to the question how to reach them.

  • by MikeyO (99577) on Friday May 27, 2011 @07:41AM (#36261242) Homepage

    Why can't the FSF learn and correct this huge mistake?

    The people from the FSF who I have talked to about this issue took the (suprising to me) stance that they don't consider documentation to be software, and don't believe that documentation should necessarily be free.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 27, 2011 @08:00AM (#36261334)

    While they had a pretty significant impact 20 to 25 years ago, the FSF is becoming more and more irrelevant each day. GPL'ed software was once considered among the best available, especially given that it was free, but those days are falling further and further behind.

    When it comes to licensing, performance, quality, and reliability, the Hurd never got anywhere and Linux plays second fiddle to FreeBSD's kernel. The only advantage that Linux has today is hype.

    In terms of compiler frameworks, GCC has become a huge, bloated mess. Now we have LLVM as an alternative, which is released under a very liberal license. In many ways it's far superior to GCC, and can compile complex C++ code in a fraction of the time, while emitting binaries that perform very well.

    The userland tools from the various BSDs are much better to use these days than the GNU userland tools. Plus they're available under a truly free license, not the GPL.

    Even when it comes to databases, we have PostgreSQL and SQLite under extremely liberal and free licenses. There's just no reason to use MySQL any longer.

    We can't deny that the FSF and GNU software was once important, and it did help set the stage for the widespread usage of open source software. Nevertheless, its time has passed, and every sensible person has moved on to alternative software that's better and released under truly-free licenses.

  • by Chemisor (97276) on Friday May 27, 2011 @09:20AM (#36261926)

    Here in the US it is not out of the question to be sued for your public domain program. The BSD license has appropriate disclaimers of liability that protect the developer from many kinds of lawsuits. Because a lawsuit is likely to bankrupt you whether you are guilty or not, this is an important consideration.

Some programming languages manage to absorb change, but withstand progress. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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