FreeBSD Boss: GPLv3 is Driving Linux Users to BSD

Sep 03, 2007

The FreeBSD Community should leverage GPLv3 to convince Linux users to use FreeBSD. It is a good time to push FreeBSD, says Justin Gibbs, founder and Vice President of the FreeBSD-Foundation.

In the FreeBSD Foundation's official August newsletter Justin Gibbs writes: "the GPLv3 is a critical concern for many current commercial users of OpenSource software." quoting legal restrictions that result from version 3 of the GNU General Public License (GPLv3). What GPLv3 intends to do is to rule out conflict with Digital Rights Management (DRM), the Tivo digital video recorder and patented software. According to the FreeBSD boss, these are exactly the things that are causing problems: "Some use models that were possible under "loopholes" in GPLv2 are now explicitly forbidden in GPLv3." says Gibbs. This leads to higher support costs for application vendors, and makes it more or less impossible to access specifications.

Gibbs sees this as the perfect time for the FreeBSD Community to put some facts straight, starting with the common misconception that Open Source and the GPL are more or less identical. He sees a considerable difference between the license philosophies promoted by the BSD Community and the FSF. "A GPL proponent might argue that a license for free software must be upgraded periodically since we cannot anticipate what new use models for free software might be developed that restrict freedom.", he writes, pointing to statements by GNU founder Richard Stallman. The BSD license in contrast to this: "The BSD license is as permissive as possible exactly because we cannot predict the future or to what beneficial purpose (commercial or otherwise) our software will be used."

Linspire boss Kevin Carmony used similar arguments to Gibbs when warning of possible GPLv3 side effects in an open letter. In line with this, Freespire was released with proprietary components by Carmony's successor.

Related content

  • Sun Opens Chip Documentation and Appoints an Ombudsman

    Sun has publicly released developer hardware for older proprietary hardware on a Wiki site entitled "FOSS Open Hardware Documentation".

  • Dwdiff Shows Changes Word for Word

    Version 1.3 of dwdiff, a free front-end for the Unix diff program has just been released and is now licensed under the GPLv3.

  • GPLv3 Celebrates Two Years, GPLv2 Still in Front

    In June of 2007, after many months delay, the Free Software Software Foundation released GPLv3. Since that time, the license has been gaining an increased following, but without much threat to GPLv2 in first place.

  • GPLv2 Less Popular

    Latest statistics from Black Duck Software show version 2 of the General Public License (GPLv2) sliding in popularity. Just under half of all the open source projects contained in the September 2009 statistics used the GPLv2.

  • Trolltech to release Qt under GPLv3

    As part of the KDE 4.0 release event, Trolltech CEO, Haavard Nord, announced that the Qt library would be released under GPLv3. Qt is an important framework for the KDE Linux desktop system.

comments powered by Disqus

Issue 175/2015

Buy this issue as a PDF

Digital Issue: Price $9.99
(incl. VAT)

News