CyberTech Rambler

October 22, 2009

RMS admits GPL flawed??

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 9:52 pm

I was surprised to see RMS add his name to an open letter to EU regarding MySQL. Ed Brunette of ZDNet says that RMS finally admitted that GPL is flawed, on the gounds that it is difficult to commercialize software based on GPL. That is certainly one possible interpretation and I can see his reasoning. Equally I can see that RMS will says that he did not say GPL is flawed because GPL, from day one, gave the copyright holders the rights to license their work in other ways and MySQL is exercising this right.

If I am going to call RMS names, I will call him a leech. The reason he wants MySQL spinned off to a third party is because the GPL-ed version of MySQL cannot benefit from the other, proprietarily licensed MySQL. I am not going to call him that because I believe the relationship is symbiotic, with both licenses benefitting from the other. With GPL-ed MySQL, it benefited from development made possible by commercial support for the proprietary-licensed version. However, the proprietary-licensed version benefits from GPL-ed version because the cost of developing the software dropped as they do not have to pay simply to develop their software. Only when the software is ready, they pay per-distribution to keep their software code proprietary.

RMS, in this case, is hoping to keep the symbosis alive and he do not think Oracle stewardship of MySQL is a good idea, therefore, he is camapaigning against it. I don’t really think he had admited that GPL is flawed. The difficulty in commercializing GPL-ed software w.r.t. proprietarily-licensed software is known and I presume, he had acknowledged him long ago.

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