Subject: Re: so waht? Re: WG: MSFT and GNU questions
From: Ian Lance Taylor <>
Date: 10 Jun 2001 22:45:52 -0700

Angelo Schneider <> writes:

> The GPL and LGPL are arguable the oldest "free" or "open" licenses.
> Slighly followed or even older, by MIT/BDS licenses.

There was free software out there before the GPL.  Arguably that
software typically didn't have a coherent license.  I just took a look
at a couple of old programs (B news and Timothy Stoehr's rogue), and I
couldn't find any explicit license.

> Thats no wonder that there is more software published under that
> license.

I disagree.  By the time free software development got to 1/10 of what
it is today, the GPL, the BSD/MIT, and the Artistic licenses were all
well-established.  I don't think there is any bias toward the GPL due
to its arguable age.

Also, from very early on there have been people on newsgroups and
mailing lists who have strongly argued against the GPL and in favor of
other free licenses.  Anybody who pays attention to those people would
be biased toward some other license.  (The GPL defense is normally
that it is up to the author to choose the license, and that the GPL is
not actually evil.)

> If you look, it seems to my eye that GPL is the easyst, "I throw my code
> to the public" license, where the author of the code has minimum hazzle
> to consider side effects etc.
> Other licenses are more complicated, so if I would like to get rid of
> the burdon of some code, but also like it to be available for the public
> I publsih it under GPL. That one needs the less infrastructure from my
> side ....

I'm a GPL supporter, but it's hard for me to believe that anybody
thinks that the GPL is simpler than the BSD license.  Or that anybody
thinks that the GPL requires less infrastructure.

I think that if it is indeed true that the GPL tends to dominate, that
the explanation is simple: Linux uses the GPL.