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GNU is Not Unix Operating Systems Software BSD

GPL Hindering Two-Way Code Sharing? 456

An anonymous reader writes "KernelTrap has some fascinating coverage of the recent rift between the OpenBSD developers and the Linux kernel developers. Proponents of the GPL defend their license for enforcing that their code can always be shared. However in the current debate the GPL is being added to BSD-licensed code, thereby preventing it from being shared back with the original authors of the code. Thus, a share-and-share-alike license is effectively preventing two-way sharing." We discussed an instance of this one-way effect a few days back.
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GPL Hindering Two-Way Code Sharing?

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  • by msimm ( 580077 ) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @03:06AM (#20438591) Homepage
    This is nothing new. Provide a permissive license and expecting everything to be returned to you is contradictory to the very license you've chose. Forking happens all the time, usually around licensing or management issues. So aside from the little dust storm we've seen recently regarding the wifi driver and the copyright clause I don't see how this is news.
    The GPL and BSD type licenses coexist perfectly, so long as both parties take the time to understand each other. Which is mostly the way it's happened. Kind of making this a none story.
  • by gowen ( 141411 ) <> on Sunday September 02, 2007 @03:17AM (#20438635) Homepage Journal
    Reyk Floeter (et al) [] put the following license on their code:

    * Alternatively, this software may be distributed under the terms of the
    * GNU General Public License ("GPL") version 2 as published by the Free
    * Software Foundation.
    If you think adding this to Linux would do anything the code's original authors did not want to happen, you don't understand what "alternatively" means.

    Clue: it doesn't mean "as well as".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 02, 2007 @03:27AM (#20438685)
    Quote Sam Leffler, the original author of the code, in 9.0/0159.html [] (emphasis added by me):

    I dual-licensed the code so folks could adopt and use it however they saw fit. As I've said before I don't care what people do with the work I give away so long as they don't claim it's their own.


    I am speaking up as the author of the code that set the dual license in place. I have the definitive say and I have said that any of my code that is dual-licensed can be made gpl only.


    So Theo and the rest of his OpenBSD-Trolls better shut up.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 02, 2007 @03:37AM (#20438725)
    And third, you're an idiot [].
  • by gwk ( 1004182 ) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @03:47AM (#20438775)
    No you idiot the files reyk contributed were never dual licensed.
  • by drabgah ( 1150633 ) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @04:16AM (#20438897)
    Q: What happened?
    A: A contributor of a patch to the linux kernel didn't notice that it contained both dual-licensed and BSD-only code, and posted a diff that GPL'ed the whole thing.

    Q: What happened then?
    A: Several things. 1) The mistaken (and clearly incorrect) change of license on BSD-only code was rectified. 2) Theo de Raadt leaped upon this golden opportunity to accuse the linux kernel developers of stealing code and eating babies 3) Separate issues of the legal and ethical obligations related to license changes, dual-licensing, proprietary software, and the price of peanuts in Perth were immediately injected in the discussion and a classic internet blizzard of bullshit blanketed the land of free software.

    Q: Latest news?
    A: Several developers involved have attempted to help the situation by saying they want collaboration and harmony and dual-licensing their code, but these positive efforts have gone mostly unnoticed as everyone on all sides proceeds to get angry and confused. Apparently high intensity behind the scenes consultations with Eben Moglen have resulted in a daring mission to dual license an OS/2 + Novell Netware application stack under GPL 3 as translated into Babylonian Cuneiform, thus simplifying the situation for everyone.

    Q: What's the moral of the story?
    A: Sometimes, cooperation is harder to achieve than competition, or "the greedy fox gets stuck debugging the rotten oysters".
  • by Estanislao Martínez ( 203477 ) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @04:25AM (#20438933) Homepage

    The Linux code is being patched to fix the license problem, says TFA. Here's the content of the patch [].

    Note what the patch is doing, very carefully. The patch is changing the copyright notices on top of the modified files to say that these files are licensed under the GPL, but are also based upon an earlier work licensed under the BSD, and then reproduce the copyright and license statements as required by the original BSD licenses. This makes completely transparent the following things:

    1. The new work is released under the GPL license only. Anybody who uses, modifies or distributes this new work must abide by that license. They don't have any other license to that work.
    2. The new work is based on older work whose authors released under the BSD license, and the authors of the new work received the original under that license. In order for the authors of the new work to comply with the license that allows them to release a derivative of the original work, they reproduce the copyright and license notices of the original. These license notices only apply to the portions of the new work that are taken from the original one.
  • Re:BSD (Score:3, Informative)

    by Daengbo ( 523424 ) <daengbo AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday September 02, 2007 @04:27AM (#20438945) Homepage Journal
    When I read the original OpenBSD thread, the author of the driver (originally dual-licensed BSD/GPL) was the one who submitted the GPLed driver to the Linux kernel, so he's not denying himself anything. Additionally, the original BSDed code is still available for anyone to take. No one squirreled that code away. The fork of the BSD/GPL code to a GPL project didn't lock anyone out.

    Sure, improvements on the GPL side won't be BSD licensed, but any proprietary company which takes it won't contribute back, either. This is what the BSD license fans call "freedom." "Freedom" here means the ability to do anything you want with the code, including close it up entirely. GPL fans use "Free" tomean that the code stays open. Don't confuse the two.
  • Re:BSD (Score:2, Informative)

    by nocomment ( 239368 ) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @04:28AM (#20438949) Homepage Journal
    Then you haven't read Theo's rant. When they converted the files to GPL they even deleted the lines at the top that said 'do not remove these lines'. The BSD license does permit use in proprietery code, but does not permit the removal of the copyright notice.

    Read these two posts.
    1> &w=2 []
    2> &w=2 []

  • by Daengbo ( 523424 ) <daengbo AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday September 02, 2007 @09:12AM (#20440361) Homepage Journal
    The author himself disagrees with Theo (and apparently you, as well). Check it out []
  • by Synn ( 6288 ) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @10:30AM (#20441047)
    The GPL camp takes code from the BSD camp and the BSD camp is not able to merge those changes back into BSD code.

    And that's the inherant problem with the BSD license, people can mod your code and not give it back to you.

    The complaint here is about the hypocrisy of the GPL camp, who claim that they don't want anyone to use their code without giving back the changes, but then turn around and do just that to the BSD people's code.

    There's no hypocrisy in that. Anyone can use the changes that where GPL'd, but you just have to adhere to the GPL license for those changes. The hyprocisy is the BSD camp saying "be free to use our code any way you want" and when people take them up on the offer, they complain.

"The following is not for the weak of heart or Fundamentalists." -- Dave Barry