Subject: Re: Artistic License Essay
From: Norbert Bollow <>
Date: Wed, 1 Aug 2001 17:09:16 +0200

> Not only viral, in my opinion (and countless others), but a one-way 
> license. What I mean by that is: I can release software under a 
> "proprietary" license, change my mind later on and open source it, or 
> even GPL it. If I GPL my software, am I not stuck with it? Am I not for 
> all eternity forced to allow others to modify and redistribute *my* 
> work?

If you own the copyright of the project, you are free to
re-release it under a different license later.  You can
re-release under a proprietary license.  If you program is
popular, it is likely that someone will fork it at that stage
and continue maintaining a GPL branch that is based on your last
GPL'd release.

I you want to, it is possible to give up your freedom to
re-release under a proprietary license.  That is usually done by
assigning copyright to the FSF.  Your benefit from this is that
the FSF will take action to enforce the license if necessary.
(Whether or not you want that benefit, that is your choice.)

> There is a lot of talk about freedom coming from the FSF and, while I 
> don't wish to knock what it has done, in my estimation the GPL can be 
> just as (if not more) freedom resticting than a proprietary license.

The GPL does not restrict the freedom of the copyright holder in
any way.  Neither does a proprietary license.

The GPL gives the users of the program much more freedom that
proprietary licenses do.  That's why I and many others like the
GPL: We want to give a lot of freedom rights to the user of the

Greetings, Norbert.

A member of FreeDevelopers and the DotGNU Core Team
Norbert Bollow, Weidlistr.18, CH-8624 Gruet  (near Zurich, Switzerland)
Tel +41 1 972 20 59      Fax +41 1 972 20 69
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