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Will GPLv3 Drive Users from Linux to FreeBSD? 374

Posted by Zonk
from the sad-penguin dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Last week ZDNet put up an article asking a simple question: will GPL3 drive Linux users to FreeBSD? It's based on issues raised in the August FreeBSD Foundation Newsletter. That publication features a letter by the vice president of the FreeBSD Foundation, Justin Gibbs, arguing that the GPLv3 restricts the rights of commercial users of open source software, and is just the FSF's first step in changing the GPL in ways that authors of GPL software may not have intended. He suggests that commercial users should seriously consider BSD-licensed software as an alternative if they want to be able to safely ship products in the future. This is especially in light of requirements from the FCC that software running on devices (such as software-defined radios) be end-user replaceable. Gibbs states that the FreeBSD Foundation will provide an alternative to GPLv3'd software, especially in light of Stallman's statement that further GPL revisions are due in the near future. Is this likely to cause discontent among Linux users, or will they mostly ignore it?"
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Will GPLv3 Drive Users from Linux to FreeBSD?

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  • So I take it there's a BSD licensed fork of Samba out there, right?
    • No, but there's a GPLv2 one...
    • Re:Um (Score:4, Informative)

      by ajs (35943) <ajs&ajs,com> on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @11:02AM (#20553863) Homepage Journal
      Yeah, I always find this debate pointless on its face. BSD uses huge amounts of GPL-licensed software, so there's no substantial difference. In fact, BSD will be using GPLv3-licensed software, unless they intend on taking over their own fork of GCC (a monumental task which would substantially harm their ability to support BSD itself).

      I also suspect that you'll see a fair amount of Gnome and KDE packages (though I don't know about the core of those two projects, and how they'll proceed) use the GPLv3.

      Linux and BSD OSes will continue to use much of each other's code, and things like the file utilities will become less and less important. Eventually, I expect that you'll find Linux and BSD essentially differing on nothing more than how their distributions are structured and their kernels. The idea that their different licenses have a substantial impact on the end-user OS is rather myopic at best.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Eventually, I expect that you'll find Linux and BSD essentially differing on nothing more than how their distributions are structured and their kernels.

        BSD's don't have 'distributions'.

        The OS (the kernel and the userland utilities) are written by the same folks. They don't slap together bits and pieces from all over the place like Linux. That gives them a much more consistent feel.

        The BSDs do use a good number GNU utils, but they are working to write BSD versions of everything. It's a large task so it wi
      • I believe GCC is under the LGPL so your point about it is moot. (In Slashdot tradition, please slag the living crap out of me if you think I am wrong.) Unless Stallman moves to change the nature of the LGPL which is entirely possible.
      • Actually, the FreeBSD team is committed to building a truly free set of binutils, and they already have a number of high quality truly free compilers. It just hasn't been as convenient to use them as gcc recently. AFAIK, the FreeBSD kernel still builds with pcc, though.
    • Get Real (Score:4, Insightful)

      by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @11:49AM (#20554787) Journal

      I guess no one if they wanted to could write a Samba-like app for BSD? And please refrain from the juvenile "well if you think it is so easy, you do it" kind of crap. The point is, if someone wants to, they can. Complacency and pride has killed more than one software project/product. Ask Novell and maybe Corel about that.

      Really, the only reason Linux/GNU software is where it is at today is because of commercial software and hardware companies. You can wear rose coloured glasses and talk 'lovey-dovey' about the hoards of volunteers, but Linus himself would have to work on predominantly 'commercial' software projects if his employer didn't think it was in their interest to have him work on kernel projects. The much vaunted open source alternative to MS Office is financed mostly by Sun and other companies. Even Ubuntu, everyone's darling of Linux distros right now would be nothing if commercial money weren't behind it to help in its financing. Shuttleworth wouldn't be able to keep the thing financed for a long time if he didn't form a company to provide commercial support options to it. Ubuntu wouldn't have the look and direction without him. And we have all seen how well he fits in with Stallman's thinking vis a vie mp3 support etc. and all the other GPL purists out there.

      As much as the idealogues don't want to admit, people need to put food on the table and to pay the rent. Much (not all) of the most useful contributions to Linux/Gnu wouldn't be possible without commercial companies paying people to create the code for it. E.g. Sun, IBM, Redhat, Novell, and scores of others. Look at all the promising software projects that have died out because the original and most inspired stakeholders/developers have eventually realized that they have to spend their time elsewhere to have a family life as well as to make a living. The database tool Tora is a good example (the latest release is a year and a half old). If you can't program for your Linux/Gnu project during working hours you have to do it during 'non-working hours'... and you can't have a life outside that since it is time consuming. Most people want a 'life' and a family. The Linux/Gnu project is then tossed aside (maybe not happily, but it is still tossed)... Except if you are paid to do it during the daytime by the 'evil' commercial companies. Yes, the projects are open source. But the only ones that don't eventually die are the ones that companies help pay people to continue.

      Stallman has hinted that there are more changes to GPL coming. Times have changed, and people playing with this license should be careful not to bite the hand that feeds GNU/Linux. Apple has shown that it is very possible to make some very good things from BSD.

  • Linux != GPLv3 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Seeing how Linus doesn't plan to us GPLv3 for Linux, but rather stay with GPLv2, I'd have to say no.
    • Re:Linux != GPLv3 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NReitzel (77941) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @10:37AM (#20553341) Homepage
      It's kind of amusing to look at the history of FOSS, and a recurring theme has been that developers think that just because they have developed a complex piece of software over a long period of time (gcc comes to mind) that it's not open to being reimplimented in the future. If GPL3 becomes a thorn in would-be commercial users, there will be money available to replace it with something that's not so obnoxious.

      In 1977, we (SWTPc) reimplimented libc for exactly that reason: Western Electric licensing provisions were obnoxious and restrictive. This is the very same reason that RMS and others undertook to reimpliment the Unix toolkit. It's not magic; it's just code, and like employees, there is no piece of code that can't be replaced.
      • by savuporo (658486)
        de-facto GCC and GLIBC replacement that does not weigh in with minimum 500KB statically linked binaries would be hailed as a Good Thing across the globe too.
        Newlib, dietlibc and a couple of others are a good start and actually crossplatform as well, whats missing is a good compiler.
      • The point is that they don't get to take our code, not that we prevent them from making the product in the first place.

        Read my signature.

        Of course, part of the point is the hope that sometimes, companies will actually decide it's worth it to go GPL simply to use GPL'd libraries. And I believe this has happened.

        Regarding GCC, I'm not sure how it could be a problem. At least for now, GCC explicitly allows you to compile programs with it that are not necessarily released under the GPL, even though GCC itself i
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @10:27AM (#20553155) Homepage Journal
    More users and more developers would be a good thing.

    But please, leave the attitude that i see too often in the linux world community. We don't need it on this side of the street.

    ( attitude is one reason i left the linux camp long ago. And i was there in the very beginning.)
  • by div_2n (525075) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @10:29AM (#20553175)
    No. That was easy. Next troll post please dear editors.
    • Zonk's trolling and flame baiting is almost as bad as John C. Dvorak [youtube.com].
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LWATCDR (28044)
      How useless of a comment.
      The answer is in some cases yes. I think you will see BSD used in more Embedded systems now. After RMS went after Tivo other manufactures will be less willing to risk the wraith of RMS.
      I really hate how GPL forces only some equipment manufactures to allow the end user replacement of software. It should be all or nothing.
      • by fsmunoz (267297)
        Actually, the answer is almost always "no". You see, the question was about *users* (in your example, it would drive manufacturers), and apparently whomever made the question assumes that "some dislike from someone in the BSD community" == "great concern in the heards of ordinary users of the software". This kind of apocalytic stories about millions of poor users being death scared about their poor software being GPLv3 is a projection of the concerns of a specific group of developers (in this case, BSD) upo
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @10:29AM (#20553177)
    Vice president of FreeBSD says FreeBSD is superior?

    well i would never have guessed he thought that way
  • Let me be the one to answer that.... "NO".. It wont... :-)
  • Smells like FUD. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    So the FreeBSD folks want more attention, and they've decided to FUD the GPL to get it?

    How is GPLv3 suppposed to prevent software from being end-user replaceable? If anything, TiVo showed that GPLv2 didn't even do that, and BSD licenses won't even try to stop TiVo-like antics.

    Besides, Linux is staying with GPLv2, so nothing changed anyway. Nothing to see, please move along.
    • by glop (181086) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @11:04AM (#20553895)
      I believe the description is a bit wrong. The FCC probably mandates that it be impossible for the end-user to change the application. This is meant to avoid people changing the software to use spectrum that they are not supposed too. Example : a WIFI transmitter might be able to transmit at 2.5GHz, outside of the WIFI band. The only thing that prevents that might be a software check. So if you can update the software, you can do something that the FCC does not allow you to.

      So they are arguing that it might be impossible to legally make a software radio with GPL V3 software (unless you enforce the mandatory checks at a hardware level so that the modified software is safe from an FCC perspective).
      • I think this is correct. Much as I'd like it if the FCC did require the software in SDRs to be user-replaceable, in reality I think they want the opposite. They want to eliminate the ability for users to tinker with anything, and that's exactly what the GPL is designed to protect.
  • Not a chance. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Miltazar (1100457) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @10:30AM (#20553201) Homepage
    GPLv3 may have some contraversy around it, but some of those reasons stated seem like FUD to me. For instance, they mention that software is required by the FCC to be end-user replaceable in devices such as software driven radios. Last I checked one of the main purposes of GPLv3 was to allow end-user replacement of software. Isn't that why they changed parts of it, so that no tivoization happens again? That alone makes me want to ignore the rest of their reasons. If they can't get that simple part correct, most likely everything else is a load of bull.
    • by jrumney (197329)

      they mention that software is required by the FCC to be end-user replaceable in devices such as software driven radios.

      I'm pretty sure that the above statement was missing a not there somewhere, otherwise it isn't really making the point that the BSD folks think it is, and the wireless card vendors are being dishonest about the reasons for their binary blobs.

  • I Doubt It... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Necrotica (241109) <cspencer@lanlCOBOLord.ca minus language> on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @10:30AM (#20553205)
    Most users don't care about the license. Users give far more weight to driver support and performance than licensing details.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by porkThreeWays (895269)
      Exactly. I use open source programs all day and have no clue the exact license, just that they are open source. Only zealots and those redistributing care about the nitty gritty of open source licenses. For me, all I care is that it's open source (within reason).
    • by OwlWhacker (758974) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @11:05AM (#20553927) Homepage Journal
      Even after all these years people eagerly line up to get screwed by Microsoft, so it's highly unlikely that something as tame as GPL v 3 is going to bring about a mass exodus from Linux.
    • by jacoby (3149)
      I agree. In the short term, say 5 years, there's nothing coming up that's GPL3 and crucial to desktop/workstation users. You can run nearly anything you want in userspace.

      But, you can put together 1TB systems today for under $300, with more storage just getting cheaper. Once you hit 12TB, RAID5 becomes useless because chance of unrecoverable read error approaches guaranteed. So, ZFS. Which is GPL3. And that's kernel, not userspace. (Yes, there's FUSE, but would you tie your enterprise to that yet?)

      I know pe
  • by Vexorian (959249)
    Hah, why would it?
  • by Al Al Cool J (234559) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @10:33AM (#20553261)
    s/users/distributors/g
  • no. (Score:2, Funny)

    by zsouthboy (1136757)
    Will douchebags everywhere create apparent conflicts where there aren't any?
  • by nweaver (113078) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @10:35AM (#20553307) Homepage
    For FreeBSD, the kernel is BSD liscenced but pretty much all the tools are a mix of BSD and GNU v2 or later (and all from the FSF are GPLv3 soon), which is "hello GPLv3" for a lot of what you care about.

    For Linux, the kernel is GPLv2 only but pretty much all the tools are the same mix of BSD and GNU v2 or later (and all from the FSF are GPLv3 soon), which is "hello GPLv3" for a lot of what you care about.

    Thus there is no way GPLv3 will drive people from Linux to BSD for business use, as it really is the same impact for both.

    • Not quite. (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The only GNU tools in any of the BSDs are the compiler toolchain. None of the standard unix utilities are the GNU versions like they are in most (all?) linux distros. Everything from ls, to grep to diff/patch to inetd is BSD licensed in the BSDs.
    • I think it's unlikely that GPL3'd toolchains will be much of a concern for anyone, since these tools are seldom extended or modified by commercial users. Kernels are a big one. Many Linux kernel developers appear to be pushing a move to GPL3, and while Linux seems to be still in the GPL2 camp, he also seems open to moving to GPL3 under the right conditions.
  • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @10:35AM (#20553315)

    Short answer: no.

    Why? Simple. The users of both GPLv3 and BSD licensed software really do not see a difference at all. They usually load the software in binary form and it does whatever it does in both cases. But the GPL vs. BSD differences affect mostly programmers and distributors, i.e. the provisions of the license control changes to and distribution of the software.

    And in the case of programmers, nothing has really changed. Those who believe in the ideology behind GPL (ideology which was never hidden by RMS or FSF) will continue to do so, and are pleased with the direction in which v3 is headed. Those who loathe that idology in favour of another, BSD centered, which is just as ideologically motivated as the GPL, except covertly and implicitly, will continue to use BSD and bemoan the "evil" and "anti-profit" nature of the GPL.

    What will change is that various large corporate leechers, who sought to abuse the GPL to their own ends, will see it harder to achieve their aims. They indeed might consider BSD ... or simply return to closed-source proprietary crud whence they came from in the first place.

    • by mwvdlee (775178)
      It may just be me, but do I smell a bit of dislike for BSD?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        It may just be me, but do I smell a bit of dislike for BSD?

        I really do not care about BSD one way or another, nor do I care about X11, MIT and a whole bunch of other licenses out there. And I do believe that it is the absolute right of the creator of whatever open software to put whatever licence he/she wants on it (although I do have deep misgivings about the whole notion of "licensing" information in the first place - but that is another discussion).

        What I do dislike is the propensity of the BSD crowd t

    • by samkass (174571)
      Those who believe in the ideology behind GPL (ideology which was never hidden by RMS or FSF) will continue to do so, and are pleased with the direction in which v3 is headed.

      That's a pretty bold statement that has many outspoken counter-examples. A lot of people believe in GPLv2's software sharing principles but think GPLv3's dictation of hardware usage crossed the line into the realm of DRM and other evils ("You must use your software how we say or you're in violation of our license"). I suspect, if noth
      • by IgnoramusMaximus (692000) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @11:35AM (#20554519)

        That's a pretty bold statement that has many outspoken counter-examples. A lot of people believe in GPLv2's software sharing principles but think GPLv3's dictation of hardware usage crossed the line into the realm of DRM and other evils ("You must use your software how we say or you're in violation of our license").

        You probably mean the "accidental" GPL users, chief amongst them Linus, who never really bothered to understand the ideology behind the GPL and simply used it out of "convenience". This "whatever works", "convenience-first" crowd is rather amusing since their success is pretty much dependant on a far greater number of contributors to their projects who do subscribe to the GPL ideology. Speaking of Linus, for an example of the consequences of his short-sighted, "technocratic" approach, witness the the Bitkeeper fiasco, amongst many other such examples.

        I suspect, if nothing else, GPLv3 will drive a lot of software to remove the "and later" provision from their licenses, since they now realize that including it is essentially handing all control of their software's future to one man who seems to have gotten more extreme in recent years.

        Again, that depends on if you actually subscribe to GPL ideology, or are merely using GPL because it is "convenient" or for some other such mis-guided reason. As to how many people are in this camp, I cannot even try to estimate. I would venture however to say that many of them do instinctively understand that GPL protects their work from being simply appropriated by some business for commercial use and that is what keeps them away from BSD.

        • by roscivs (923777)
          I think there are still some (at least one--me [indessed.com]) who agree with Stallman's original "four freedoms", but believe the GPLv2 is sufficient for protecting those freedoms, and the GPLv3 adds too much complexity to be worth it. I personally contribute to GPLv2 projects (and write my own), but I will not contribute to GPLv3 projects. I don't know if I'm the only one in the world--certainly on Slashdot I appear to be the minority--but I do think there are others.
          • I think there are still some (at least one--me [indessed.com]) who agree with Stallman's original "four freedoms", but believe the GPLv2 is sufficient for protecting those freedoms, and the GPLv3 adds too much complexity to be worth it.

            It doesn't just add complexity, it adds restrictions that I think can semi-reasonably be considered to abridge some of those freedoms.

            I personally contribute to GPLv2 projects (and write my own), but I will not contribute to GPLv3 projects. I don't know if I'm the only one in the world--certainly on Slashdot I appear to be the minority--but I do think there are others.

            Yeah, there's at least a few more.

        • You probably mean the "accidental" GPL users, chief amongst them Linus, who never really bothered to understand the ideology behind the GPL and simply used it out of "convenience".

          The ideology expressed in the GPL is not quite the same as the ideology of the FSF.

          Speaking of Linus, for an example of the consequences of his short-sighted, "technocratic" approach, witness the the Bitkeeper fiasco, amongst many other such examples.

          So what exactly was lost in this "fiasco"? If you pick a crooked landlord be

  • Excuse me? (Score:3, Funny)

    by mdm-adph (1030332) <mdmadph&gmail,com> on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @10:37AM (#20553359) Homepage
    I just now got Ubuntu working fine with my wireless card. I'll be damned if I'm moving to another bloody OS after all that. :P
  • linux user here (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FudRucker (866063) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @10:38AM (#20553361)
    i do like FreeBSD, PCBSD & DesktopBSD, but PCBSD & DesktopBSD needs a feature during install to allow the person doing the install to allow selecting multiple mount points for / and /usr and /usr/home during the install, seems like with both PCBSD & DesktopBSD i could only select one partition to install everything in, i like to use a small / and a larger /usr and a /usr/home, as a long time slackware user i found FreeBSD's installer to be not much different and did allow selecting multiple mount points, i am looking forward to FreeBSD's next release (6.3? or 7?)

    i welcome the competition the *BSDs will bring to the Linux world, and if Ian Murdock can get Solaris in the mix that will be good also...
  • by mjcb (1154977) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @10:38AM (#20553381)
    I don't know about the rest of you, but I've been following this whole GPLv3 debate for a while, and I don't really see what the big deal about it is. I've read and I understand the differences between the three versions of the license, and I really don't see how that is going to really affect me. I've been using Red Hat/Fedora and Gentoo since 2000, and I can't think of a single instance of a software license ever really affecting me. Maybe its because I'm not a software developer, but does the regular user really care about any of this? I can't speak for everyone else, but I know I don't care. Maybe I just don't care about the politics of the whole thing, I have better things to do with my time. Am I going to jump ship on GNU/Linux because of an updated license? No. Would I ever? Probably not. Will this license ever affect me? Doubtful. Do I really care? No. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but if you don't like GPLv3, then you don't have to use it. Problem solved, next FUD article.
    • I've read and I understand the differences between the three versions of the license, and I really don't see how that is going to really affect me. I've been using Red Hat/Fedora and Gentoo since 2000, and I can't think of a single instance of a software license ever really affecting me. Maybe its because I'm not a software developer, but does the regular user really care about any of this?

      Not directly. Indirectly, however, it will affect what is available to you.

      Parts of GPLv3 were specifically designed

  • by nweaver (113078) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @10:39AM (#20553399) Homepage
    I was visiting an academic CS research group, which is doing some networking protocol work they want widely adopted (eg, in Windows would be a good start).

    Their release of the prototype code was "whatever", so they did it under GPL (well, dual liscence, GPL for everyone, and a free liscence for funders). They were kind of shocked when the link on their web page was now pointing to a GPLv3 description, and I explained the implications.

    They may very well change to BSD liscencing.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rubycodez (864176)
      bah, they only had to say it was released under gpl2 and put a copy of the license right there in their own web page. You're basically telling a story of a group being lazy and stupid and careless.
  • Commercial Users (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Aladrin (926209) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @10:41AM (#20553429)
    TFS says 'commercial users', which would be businesses. If I were a business, and the GPL looked like it might be starting to impact me, I'd definitely start looking at BSD, the license of which is known for how 'free' it is to the user, rather than the developer. So far, it hasn't started to do that to anyone but Tivo and other hardware manufacturers, but the moment it starts looking like just using the software for any commercial purpose will be a problem, you can bet there'll be a ton of companies jump ship.

    Why would they stick around and try to fight it instead of just picking an already-existing alternative? At the moment Linux isn't scary (to a business) and it is more popular. But let the boss get wind of imminent problems with it, and he'll ORDER a switch. That switch may even be to Windows Server, as the liabilities and costs are well known.

    This is a very very hypothetical situation, since it would be absolutely insane for the GPL to further limit the freedom of users/distributors (beyond the v3 limits)... But it's possible.
  • by Theovon (109752) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @10:44AM (#20553479)
    For practical reasons, people often find they have to use Windows. There are a lot of practical people out there, trying to actually GET STUFF DONE, so they make choices based on need.

    In a similar vein, it is frustration with the out-dated UNIX system of spreading bits of applications around inconsistent places in /bin, /usr, /etc, /usr/local and who knows where else that has pushed me away from most Linux distros towards using BogoLinux, PC-BSD, and MacOS X.
  • Until Netcraft confirms it...

    But seriously, a good deal of the health of the Linux community has been due to the GPL. It has also been the reason why companies are so fearful, yes, but once in, they generally end up doing the right thing because of the licensing terms.

    There are no shortage of commercial products with their roots in a BSD. The problem is they most often don't bother to contribute work back. There is some mindshare that letting upstream maintain non-specific stuff for you is inherently bet
  • by Kartoffel (30238) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @10:47AM (#20553557)
    Long ago in a galaxy far far away, Marshall Kirk McKusick wrote:

    "You had copyright, which is what the big companies use to lock everything up; you had copyleft, which is free software's way of making sure you can't lock it up; and then Berkeley had what we called 'copycenter,' which is 'take it down to the copy center and make as make as many copies as you want.' You want to go off and do proprietary things with it? Fine, you can do that. You want to keep it out in the Open Source domain? You're welcome to do that as well. In fact, in the end, Richard Stallman had to agree that we had a less restrictive license than he did, although it took pulling some teeth to get him to admit to that."
    • BSD: providing unencumbered software for 30 years

      Really? Tell me how do you did the math on that. I think you are confusing BSD Unix with the BSD license. Linux predated the first fully unemcumbered BSD distribution, heck tone of the most important reasons for Linux to caught on was exactly that. Furthermore the usage of the BSD license for BSD Unix was something that, imagine that, was in no small part due to the lobbying of people close to the FSF near the BSD developers of the time.

      I can give references for everything in the preceding paragraph, bt

  • Users? (Score:3, Informative)

    by leuk_he (194174) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @11:07AM (#20553957) Homepage Journal
    Users care only a very little bit about the license. They want working software. Developers do care only a little bit since they cannot randomly mix & match code uder different licenses. GPL by definition gives them the most choice of source. Creators of disitibutions and hardware vendor (should) care a lot about the license. But they do not care about the freedom of the suers, they care about the number of copies they can distribute.

    The vice president of bsd foundation cares for hardware vendor, who want to restrict hardware, which he calls the users/ freebsd community. However that are not users you and me who buy/use the end result.

    PS..
    -- BSD is dead. ;)
  • by syrinx (106469)
    I just last week switched my home server from FreeBSD to Debian... mainly just to learn something new, and get some hands-on experience. I last tried any Linux flavor about 7 years ago, and have been on FreeBSD since then, so I figured I'd try something else.

    In any case, I really don't care about licensing as a user. As a developer, I'd prefer the BSD license, but that doesn't mean I care what my OS and other programs are licensed under... I just want something that works.
  • The vast majority of Linux users simply don't give a crap about the license beyond the question of whether or not it is free for them to download and install. And why would anyone move to FreeBSD to get away from the GPL license anyway? Probably about 80% of your average FreeBSD desktop is GPL'd or some other non-BSD license. FreeBSD itself is actually a relatively small core of software. Almost everything of use to a user on a *BSD system comes from ports... not the FreeBSD installation.
    • You're half-right. Most users don't care about licenses. Most users who even think about licenses don't care about the differences between the BSDL, GPL2, GPL3, or even some random shareware license that lets them use a program for 30 days before they start getting nag dialogs... there's basically two licenses, ones they have to pay money for, and those they don't.

      Hell, a lot of *developers* don't care about licenses, and release their code using whatever license they run across first.

      On the other hand, "Pr
  • Why would we care if GPLed software isn't used in embedded devices? If the full source for the software shipped in the device isn't available, it might as well be BSD- or proprietarily licensed for practical purposes anyway.

    Presumably, there might be some Linux fanboys out there who buy a device primarily because 'it runs Linux', but I think most people buy a device based on how useful it is (which may or may not be related to it running Linux!). This even applies to hackers, who'll buy a device based on

  • But if the BSD organizations make a serious attempt to re-implement GPL3 apps with BSD licenses, and the Linux organizations stick with GPL3, then I'll switch to BSD and away from Linux (used since 1995 ...).

    The BSD license is my idea of free software. But that's just me; as they say, ymmv.
    • by fsmunoz (267297)
      Er.... why don't you use BSD then? What's holding you? Most of the applications run just as fine on any BSD as in Linux (especially the properly made ones). You are waiting for Linux to become BSD licensed, or for people that develop GPL software to suddenly stop doing it and start using BSD?
  • You act like bsd is comparable to linux for the average end user. It's not. Ok...so say I wanted to run BSD instead of linux. Can I pop in an install dvd, have all of my hardware recognized and configured, and be dropped into kde or gnome, depending on what I chose?

    Do I have nice programs available from the default install like SuSE or Fedora give me...so I don't have to use the command line and can take care of my machine from the GUI?

    Your average non-geek user doesn't want to spend a large portion of h
  • Yes, the GPL (all versions) restrict certain of the user's rights. Specifically, they restrict the right of a user to restrict other user's rights under the GPL. If I grant you through the GPL a right to modify and distribute my code and you include my code in your product, the GPL takes away your right to not grant the same rights to my code to recipients of your product that I granted you. Yes, this makes life hard for commercial users. They can't benefit from my code and then turn around and deny those s

  • Has anything else ever driven anyone to FreeBSD? For every dozen people I know who use some form of Linux, I know zero people who use FreeBSD. If Linux were completely vaporized overnight, more people would switch to MacOS or Windows than to FreeBSD.
  • My understanding of the GPL is this: if I want a program's source code to be freely available as well as any modifications to said source, I use the GPL. People are not allowed to extend my stuff without GPLing the result. They also cannot include it in their projects without GPLing the whole thing. Thats all I understand about it.

    Now, GPL 2 vs. GPL 3: what exactly changes from a programmer's point of view? Googling this is hopeless, its full of blogs FUDing around, and I dont think the FSF is an unbiased s
  • FUD (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drwho (4190) on Tuesday September 11, 2007 @12:35PM (#20555779) Homepage Journal
    What a bunch of FUD. This is what I'd expect from Microsoft or similar. It's already clear that the Linux kernel cannot ever adopt any new license, and it the keystone for all Linux distributions. Many, many other projects have already said they will not adopt the GPLv3. I am sure that many Linux distributions will be wary of it as well, making it very prominent wherever a package is provided with said license. ("warning: module rmsgnu.o taints the kernel").

    It's a shame to see such FUD perpetrated under the BSD banner, when there is actually so much more that the communities of Linux and BSD have in common than that which separates them. The only thing I have as bad is this is that NetBSD spinoff company that promotes their own embedded BSD version (Wasabi).
  • ...patent trolls, DRM pushers or tivoizers are any big contributors of GPL code. Perhaps some will go proprietary, perhaps some will grab what they can from BSD or the last GPLv2 versions, but I don't think you'll get any serious contributions to BSD. Here's the brief options:

    1) Spend money developing a proprietary branch and earn money exclusively selling/supporting that product
    2) Spend money developing code you'll give away, then try to make it back on support with competition
    3) Forego the business altoge
  • Not on your life would I ever pick a BSD license over any version of the GPL.

    What user cares what license any of it runs under?

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