Changing the license for gpl is good for the project


In my opinion, the project would develop faster


is there an enlish translation that can accompany this?


If the OP means “changing from the BSD license to the GPL would be good for the project”, I strongly disagree. In fact, the original/current copyright owners probably have stronger words than that.

GPL is good for forcing any changes back to the community because there is a legal obligation. Sometimes it means someone has to be sued in order to get those changes (Linksys and a few others know it now).

I’m ok with the GPL. I’m ok with the BSD. I’m ok with the MIT, CreativeCommons, Mozilla, whatever license you choose. They all have their flaws, they all have their pluses.


I’ve been thinking about this recently. Whilst I can guarantee you TrueOS / FreeBSD will NEVER switch to a GPL license, I believe the GPL HAS helped Linux A LOT and the GPL is one of the main reasons why almost every device today is running Linux and not FreeBSD because it has forced lots of big companies to contribute code to the kernel they otherwise might’ve chosen, preferred to, keep secret.

Companies are not naturally free software / open source zealots. They’re not. They’re focused on profit and not being a good community member. The BSD license has allowed companies such as Apple and Sony, as just two examples, to take advantage of (Free)BSD etc and give nothing back. I don’t think that’s fair but its OK by the BSD license so… it’s OK!

I license my software under copyleft licenses because I have given my code away for free and don’t want to be exploited. I want to see and benefit from derivative code. The FreeBSD devs think differently. Yes, BSD and MIT etc are ‘more free’ but I think they’re too free. Freedom comes at a cost.

On the plus side, BSDs more permissive license has allowed it to absorb ZFS, which is why I’m using FreeBSD today.Swings and roundabouts! :smiley:


While I could very easily treat this post as a sick joke, let me take a minute to dispel a few myths about the whole GPL vs BSD license “debate” instead.

  1. The GPL is what drives development on Linux. I think this is a misnomer and a better description would be that a free software distribution model is what gets the community involved. It is a fact of life that a free product is generally more appealing to consumers. A free product that people can tinker with and distribute again even more so.
  2. Linux is more popular than the BSD OS’s because of the license. Also not true. A better statement would be that linux is more popular right now because of historical events. Due to the lawsuit by AT&T against FreeBSD’s ancestor, Linux basically had the free operating system market to itself for a period of time. This gave it name recognition as the “free” alternative to Windows (a perception which still exists to this day outside of techie circles). The other thing is that Linux catered to the windows refugees, with a relatively low bar of entry due to thier focus on desktop systems - while the BSD’s remained the realm of the computer “guru’s” and shunned almost any non-server focused techological advances (at least in perception).
  3. Linux is used around the world more than the BSD’s. I think this is actually a much more complicated issue than presented. If you count Android as a Linux system (which is debatable), then that means that you need to count most of the console gaming market and the smart TV market as BSD systems. If you count Apple’s iOS as a BSD system (also debatable) then even the cellphone market is much less one-sided. The only market where Linux has distinctly more users than BSD systems would be the home desktop/hobbyist market, and even that is not worth mentioning because both are overwhelmingly outpaced by Windows systems.

What I am trying to get at is that no matter what Stallman and the FSF say, the GPL is not what drives development for Linux. Rather, it always seems to come down to the same old story… “Money makes the world go round”. In this particular case that would be corporate money from companies which can use the (free) OS to sell something else: hardware, support plans, consumer information, advertising, etc… In this area, the BSD license is a clear favorite.


to czemu sie linuks rozwija szybciej

English Translation: “That’s why Linux is growing faster” (added by moderator)


I think it would be beneficial for the development of the project
I’m not a programmer just an ordinary user who is interested in computer science


Well, technically, the license is attached to each and every file that makes up the source code base. The Project itself really doesn’t have a license, but it releases new source code under a license. So while the Project could change the license for files it’s created, one can’t just go back and change the license terms on existing files (that’s a big part of why AT&T lost).

FreeBSD and the other BSDs are effectively split in two pieces. The base system which includes the kernel and a bunch of standard utilities and ports. Ports are the applications you use, things like Firefox, VirtualBox, everything you need to do day to day work. A lot of the ports are things you find on Linux distributions and each has their own license terms.

FreeBSD, TrueOS, NetBSD, OpenBSD, DragonFlyBSD all suffer from a lack of manpower, changing to the GPL won’t change that. Companies that use FreeBSD do have developers that contribute back to the project (NetFlix, Illuminos, ixSystems, Apple, plus others), simply watch the commit emails and you see lots of “Sponsored by” statements in the commit log.

The only thing the GPL does is creates a legal obligation to make your changes available to the community at large. It does not mean they will be accepted upstream or even integrated into anything, just that if someone asks you for them, you have to give them.

BSD license does not have that legal obligation, but companies discover it’s easier to get changes integrated upstream instead of having to maintain them inhouse, so it becomes “an obligation of honour”.


This is conflating two things. The license and the cost. Companies generally choose linux because it costs them nothing to grab and go. Developing an OS for your product is far more costly than not developing an OS. The reason companies give back to the GPL is because they are forced to. This is a legal requirement, they are not doing it out of some nebulous concept of ‘good will’. For a company that’s fighting to set themselves apart from their competitors, they would prefer to keep changes to themselves than give their competition an advantage. The GPL actually causes some companies to not choose Linux, for this very reason. Some companies want to remain competitive and not give their competitors access to how their product works. it depends on what code a company is going to be editing. If they need to tweak base system utilities to give themselves an edge, they may want to keep that to themselves… ie what Sony did with the Playstation.

Also, it’s worth nothing for others that the GPL that covers Linux does not cover all of the software that is on a device. Sony Digital Cameras for example, run Linux, but the Sony processing engine and UI is proprietary. Sony decided to use linux in this case, because they didn’t want to have to develop an ARM based OS to use… so they grabbed Linux and ran with it. The GPL only covers the kernel and the userland though, so all of the Sony written applications can be closed source. In this situation it made business sense for Sony to use Linux, because they weren’t needing to edit the userland or the kernel… and BSD wasn’t as strong in the ARM arena as Linux was/is.

As danboid stated, Companies primary motivation is making money. Period. Full Stop. Companies will use whatever technology helps them to accomplish that. Sometimes that will be Linux, sometimes that will be BSD, sometimes that will be QNX, etc. Companies do not make business decisions out of some desire for Utopian good for society.

Personally for myself as an ex Linux developer, I licensed my code as MIT because I want to allow anyone downstream to do whatever they want with the code that I’m giving away. I don’t feel I have the right to tell you what you can and can’t do with the code I’m giving away. You don’t give someone a christmas/birthday gift and then stipulate the situations they are allowed to use it.

I find most developers just want to get something done, so they will use whatever they can. The BSD license does not include a threat of force to follow… the GPL does. I prefer the MIT/BSD license when I’m looking for code, because I know I dont have to worry about getting sued, or worry about rabid fanboys wanting to make an issue.

The argument can be made that GPL has helped GPL licensed code grow because it’s cancerous. I know people that have licensed their code as GPL because they were afraid that they’d be sued because it got coze with other GPL code. When people choose a license out of fear of being sued… that’s not a good license as far as i’m concerned.

[quote=“mer, post:8, topic:1490”]
BSD license does not have that legal obligation, but companies discover it’s easier to get changes integrated upstream instead of having to maintain them inhouse, so it becomes “an obligation of honour”.[/quote]

I would argue it’s less a matter of honor and more a matter of ‘i don’t want to pay to maintain this code’.


I’ll accept that argument on “obligations”. GPL was intended to be viral, LGPL lets a developer work around the viral nature to a certain extent, but every iteration of it tries to take away some of the freedom you have to develop something.

Your analogy to restricting what someone can do with a gift is spot on.


Some of the things that would happen if TrueOS migrated to GPL. Just my 2 cents.

-forget contributing code back to upstream (for vanilla FreeBSD). TrueOS would become again “consumer” instead of being “contributor”. GPL, " derived code" and all that bs…
-forget backing out of GPL (changing license) once you have more than handful developers. Linux kernel is literally stuck being on GPL v2.
-GPL would not make hell of difference in a user base. It could, in fact have negative impact. BSD users would avoid TrueOS because of pre-conceptions, Linux users would not be attracted anyway, because it’s not, well, Linux. kFreeBSD does not have much users even though it’s literally Debian, just without Linux kernel.

Better if the license stays BSD.