GNU A Possible Ally?

Dwight Hughes
Tue, 6 May 1997 21:43:17 -0500

Most of the discussion has centered around the question of 
licenses -- whether to go with the GPL/LGPL or something
like the FreeBSD license -- rather than the FSF/GNU 
organization as such. Should we decide to adopt the 
GPL/LGPL for this project then I'm sure the FSF would
support us in spirit - what tangible benefits might be
gained from this I have no idea. Publicity perhaps, to 
bring others into the project as it goes along.

Fare makes a number of arguments for the GPL/LGPL - many
of which I find debatable, but two factors finally
convinced me in their favor: 1) the protection against
some bastard getting a patent on some piece of previously
free software (the Patent Office being *totally* clueless
concerning software) and removing it from general use
and benefit to all; 2) the GPL/LGPL sets forth a framework
to protect the free nature not only of the original free
work and source code, but of all derivatives of it --
this means that any improvements, updates, extensions,
whatever will likewise return to increase the value
and utility of the original work (you might have to chase
the new sources down, but they will be available and free).
There is *no* such mechanism to aid any work under a
simple "free to use however you like" license -- 
regardless of how much work is done on it by any 
number of people you might only ever see the initial
release, so all that advancement goes to nothing (as
far as benefiting you anyway).

In this light, the bit of additional complexity to follow
their framework seems to be well worth it to me.

Ok, not really an answer to your query, but more of a
supporting vote in favor of FSF/GNU and their crusade.

-- Dwight