Subject: Re: A few here may have an opinion on this
From: DV Henkel-Wallace <>
Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 20:25:40 -0700

On Wednesday, Oct 23, 2002, at 16:42 US/Pacific, 

> Maybe I'm just in a grumpy mood but
> I think government tilting the playing field
> against GPL is perfectly reasonable. So far,
> free software has been an utter failure at
> producing large profitable businesses that
> generate tax revenue.  Government legislating
> in favor of GPL will push more of the software
> business into the non-profit sector and make
> us all poorer.

You are a curmudgeon today; you know better.

The roads have been an utter failure in generating major tax revenue 
(what, Bechtel?), but they are the infrastructure that enables _many_ 
such businesses.  If secure Linux speeds the deployment of secure 
servers (through its deployment by industry and as an example of how to 
do it) then the NSA is doing (part of) its job.  It doesn't have to 
create a new business per se.

Forbidding GPL software forbids this kind of thing.

Requiring that the gov't GPL or PD software is a different debate and I 
am sorry I contributed to blurring this issue.

>> On Wednesday, Oct 23, 2002, at 11:55 US/Pacific, Benjamin J. Tilly
>> wrote:
>>> Brian Behlendorf <> wrote:
>>>> On Wed, 23 Oct 2002, Benjamin J. Tilly  wrote:
>>>>> A Washington State senator is trying to make it government
>>>>> policy to not support research that produces GPLed
>>>>> software...
>>>> Everyone knows my biases, but I think there's a pretty reasonable
>>>> point
>>>> here.  A "university" license would, in my opinion, be the most
>>>> appropriate license for government-funded software to be released
>>>> under.
>>> This movement is specifically aimed at keeping the
>>> government from distributing things like its security
>>> enhancements for the Linux kernel.
>> You raise a very good point that I hadn't seen the first time around.
>> In general I agree with Brian's point (I prefer GPL but I'm OK with 
>> the
>> gov't using BSD instead).
>> But the gov't pays companies (Lockheed, SAIC, IBM, MS) to modify their
>> proprietary software for gov't requirements; those changes end up as
>> part of the vendor's offering (generally such changes wouldn't make
>> sense on their own).  Likewise the gov't needs the ability to make
>> changes, or contract for changes, to GPL software as with your 
>> example.
>>   Such changes _can't_ be released under the BSD license -- it would 
>> be
>> prohibited by the GPL.
>> So this appears to be reasonable, but really does suck.
>> Yet another in a furious attempt by the government to shift software
>> development offshore.  I guess in five years' time we'll have direct
>> government subsidy to the software industry, as happens in other 
>> sunset
>> industries like steel.
>> -g