Subject: Re: Why EROS is Open Source
From: Ben Laurie <ben@algroup.co.uk>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 15:02:56 +0000

shapj@us.ibm.com wrote:
> 
> > shapj@us.ibm.com wrote:
> > > Taken overall, my opinion is that GPL'd software has done better than
> BSD
> > > software. In the Linux/BSD case a direct comparison is possible, and
> the
> > > outcome to date is pretty clear.
> >
> > That's a really dumb comparison to make, for the obvious reason that the
> > inevitable conclusion we must reach, if we believe the comparison has
> > any use, is that we should all go and work for Microsoft.
> 
> I have thus far declined to reply to this, because Ben seems to be reacting
> strongly but tangentially.  First, my opinion is my opinion. Perhaps there
> were better reasons to open source EROS. If we all argue hard enough and
> successfully enough I promise to withdraw it and rerelease it under GPL for
> the approved reasons.  Sheesh.

I realised after I wrote this (and in relation to other similar
arguments) that the "GPL vs. BSD" argument is usually completely
misconstrued. From where I'm setting both GPL and BSD are _excellent_
licences. Both Linux and *BSD are _excellent_ OSes. But given that I
have a choice between two excellent things, I do find I have a
preference. And, like any other kind of connoisseur, I tend to go a bit
over the top when stating that preference. Unfortunately, this ends up
polarising two communities that should really be in harmony. I am
resolved to fight against this temptation! So, please do use the GPL.
With my blessings.

But do me a favour: don't say stuff like this:

> I believe this is
> part of why there is not today a single *BSD effort.

I mean - like there's a single Linux effort? Or a single GPL effort? Or
a single _anything_?

> My conclusion was that
> EROS needed a bazaar to succeed, and I chose accordingly.

Or that *BSD is somehow a totally different development model.

> I consider this
> something between a marketing and a community building decision (the line
> blurs in the bazaar). I wanted a mechanism that successfully encouraged
> involvement from a broad community, and it appears to me that GPL has done
> this better than the BSD copyright.

You prefer the GPL to BSD. Fine. I don't believe it has done it enough
better than BSD to detect, and I don't think you can demonstrate that it
has. I don't think they are distinguishable at that level of detail.

> It is not clear whether the success of Linux relative to *BSD is due to the
> license or the effectiveness of the respective groups at building
> communities.

Or the marketing, or the emphasis on features, or whatever. BTW, it is
interesting that the demographics are reputed to be rather different for
desktops vs. servers.

> A case can be made on each side.  What IS clear is that
> momentum is a self-reinforcing process, and that at this time the greatest
> momentum stands within the community using GPL. The bias within the GPL
> community is in favor of people who want to give back. This is the bias I
> wanted.
> 
> There are certainly people operating under BSD copyright and derivatives
> who are actively collaborating with their respective communities. Actually,
> I think the newer *BSD projects are doing pretty well at that.

Heh! See! You don't even believe it yourself!

Cheers,

Ben.

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