Subject: Re: Open Content woes
From: Russell Nelson <>
Date: Sat, 25 Sep 1999 09:23:55 -0400 (EDT)

Andrew C. Greenberg writes:
 > At 12:36 AM -0600 9/25/99, Richard Stallman wrote:
 > >This week, when giving a speech, I asked the audience whether they
 > >considered "viral" a term of praise or condemnation.  Only a handful
 > >raised their hands for praise; most of the room considered it
 > >condemnation.
 > Still further, I have never heard critics of open source use the 
 > term.

Oh, fans of the BSD license (new or old; take your pick) frequently
call it "viral".  It's an accurate description, if pejorative.  So,
RMS, if you don't like "viral", what term would you prefer?  "sticky"
(that has its own set of non-desirable characteristics: think of wet
paint)?  "non-free" (as in: you can use it, but the cost of having to
free your own software is non-zero)?

The basic problem here is that the GPL is libre, non-gratis software.
You can use the software, but it comes with restrictions on its use.
You don't have complete freedom to use the software in any way you
wish.  Use of GPL'ed software imposes the cost of having to free your
own software.  GPL'ed software comes with two parts: the software
(which you want) and the license (which you don't want).

That said, as a businessman, I find the GPL to be a good free software 
license, because it denies my competitors the freedom of taking the
software proprietary.  The X11 license, or the BSD license, give my
competitors entirely too much freedom for my bottom line.

Yes, I'm trying to tweak Richard.  However, everything I've said is an 
accurate if unflattering description of the GPL.

-russ nelson <>
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