Subject: Re: Why EROS is Open Source
From: <>
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 1999 10:43:59 -0800

On Fri, Dec 10, 1999 at 10:39:58AM +0000, Ben Laurie wrote:
> "Stephen J. Turnbull" wrote:
> >     >> clear.  Could it change? Time will tell.  I made a call with
> >     >> EROS that was the best call I felt I could make at the time.
> > 
> >     Ben> That's a really dumb comparison to make, for the obvious
> >     Ben> reason that the inevitable conclusion we must reach, if we
> >     Ben> believe the comparison has any use, is that we should all go
> >     Ben> and work for Microsoft.
> > 
> > I can't make head nor tail of this.  Help!
> If the conclusion is that the "most popular" thing has the better
> licence, then we know that Windows is even more popular than Linux or
> FreeBSD, and hence we should adopt that licence.

You're conflating "most popular" with "most prevelant".   Microsoft has
attained its current status through manipulation of free market
conditions.  Linux and BSD are pretty nearly purely competitive
products operating in a free market, competing on merits (and what
non-coercive marketing as may be possible).  

Information flows freely, costs are identical (largely nominal).
Differences in adoption either speak for the personality of leadership,
the acceptability of licensing terms for adoptors (particularly commercial
distributions based on the works), and possibly of early random variations
in penetration which have been magnified by network and lock-in effects,
such as both occur in free software.

> > It strikes me that one of BSD's problems may be that Linux distributions
> > can, and do, include lots and lots of BSD/MIT X/etc-licensed code.  As
> > I understand it, the BSD distributions do not include much GPLed code.
> > Is that true?  If so, Linux has a clear advantage because of the lack
> > of "Not Licensed Like Me" syndrome, and probably on average has better
> > code and certainly more of it.
> Hmm. I don't think there's any particular bias against GPLed code, and
> I'm not really aware that BSD distributions are particularly less
> featureful than Linux distributions. I'm pretty sure my FreeBSD boxes
> are stuffed full of GPLed code.

xBSD distros can aggregate GPLd software in the same way that a GPL'd
Linux distro can aggregate BSD, X, MozPL, IBMPL, and proprietary
software.  There's nothing in either the GPL or the BSD license which
prevent mere aggregation of sources on common media.

The distinction has been the ability to integrate specific code from one
license into software based on the other.  With this past summer's
revision of UC Berkeley's version of the BSD license, removing the
advertising clause, it is now possible to convert BSD licensed code to
GPL code.  GPLd software can now integrate software licensed under the
new BSD terms, allowing a one-way integration of BSD developments into
specific GPLd projects.  However, this is a very recent change, and hasn't
historically had an impact on the relative standing of BSD v. GPL code.

Karsten M. Self (
    What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?

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