Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Ignorance or Propaganda?

I just came across an article on Legal Technology which to say the least was irritating. The article is about new risks for businesses using free software in their products. Here is my opinion on the arguments the author presented:

First, despite its title, the article is strictly about GPL and its new version GPLv3. Anyone who has ever visited FSF website knows free software has a precise definition for them.
A philosophical debate over the meaning of 'free' software is quickly turning into a dangerous real-world business dispute
I found the 3rd paragraph fascinating where the author says that users of a GPL software can't violate the licence terms and comes up with the spectacular conclusion that ...the freedom belongs to the software, not to users.

In the following paragraphs, he discusses how none-GPLed software could be linked with older version of the licence and not possible anymore in GPLv3. Well, clearly the author haven't read either licences. Only LGPLed software can be linked to incompatible source codes and nothing seems to have been changed about the linking.

Patent clause of GPLv3 is mentioned in remaining texts, rendering the requirement as excessive obligations whereas lack of having such terms in a modern free software licence should come as a surprise. Several other free software licences have adopted similar patent clauses well before GPL.

Well, it is obvious by now that I'm biased toward free software but still I think the author failed to emphasis that GPL has always meant to be a legal contract and not a wishlist and violating its terms is like violating EULA of any other software. I guess it's time for big software companies to know that free software developers, too, can afford lawyers!

Link to original article:

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