Subject: Re: Fork-prevention in the GPL
From: Brendan Scott <lists@opensourcelaw.biz>
Date: Thu, 21 Apr 2005 22:13:54 +1000

Bruce Perens wrote:
> David Dillard wrote:
> 
> 
>>>So a license that enables and allows forking is good?
>>>   
>>>
>>
>>I would say yes.  In fact, I'd say that the OSD, in effect, mandates
>>that it be possible.
> 
> Correct.
> 
> 
>>>I thought that was the whole point of the GPL, to prevent forking
>>>   
>>>
> 
> The GPL makes forks extremely easy to heal, becuase the only agreement
> necessary to merge forks together is the GPL itself. This was useful,
> for example, when the Linux fork of LIBC was merged back into the GNU LIBC.

I have written a short paper arguing that forking is a good thing (basically because
the costs of forking mean that it will only tend to occur for a good reason).  This
paper has been criticised for overplaying the role of the GPL in the development of
Linux:

The Forkin' Fallacy

http://www.opensourcelaw.biz/papers/041218_Brendan_Scott_Forkin_Fallacy.pdf


Brendan