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[Caml-list] Re: User library license
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Date: 2003-02-26 (13:17)
From: Anonymous via the Cypherpunks Tonga Remailer <nobody@c...>
Subject: [Caml-list] Re: User library license

Many successful languages use a very liberal license with
basically BSD or X11 terms.  Python, Oz, SML/NJ, etc.

"RedHat makes a living from GPL code" is misleading.  A big
reason for Linux success is Apache, which is BSD licensed,
plus the BSD-licensed languages running on Linux.

The big sticking point with me is that it's much easier to
convince my management to use software with a clean license. 
If I want to make a product with an embedded XYZ engine, the
company lawyers come down on me like a ton of bricks when
they see xGPL license terms for XYZ.

Then everybody loses.  Me, the business, and XYZ Project. 
Believe me, I've had the GPL/BSD debate before, and am not
interested in repeating it.  My statement is simply that the
GPL philosophy completely misreads the business situation. 
It sets up an artificial antagonism instead of finding
common ground.

There are Bad Guys like Microsoft, but also Good Guys like
Sun and IBM, which have both given away millions of lines of
code.  Business is at least as likely to be your friend as
your enemy.  There is enough overlap of mutual interest that
you will get some code back from proprietary work.  If you
xGPL it, then you destroy many possibilities for

Business wants the code to be better, but does not want to
be forced into revealing family jewels.  So it contributes
what it can.  However in the face of xGPL licensing,
business says basically "forget it" to its software team. 
xGPL pushes them to the wall and demands their code; no
business can submit to that.  Some GPL folks say, "fine do
it yourself," and that's exactly what business ends up
doing.  It's all horrific duplication and waste.  Over-
worked software teams duplicating open source work, and
understaffed open source projects crying out for volunteers.

Sometimes business uses BSD code without sharing back --
true enough -- but that's not always bad!  The whole
Windows TCP/IP stack, and the new Mac OS X, are perfect
examples.  We have better quality operating systems because
of this BSD adoption.  They may have even caught a few bugs
for us.

If it were up to me I'd put all of OCaml and its libraries
under the Academic Free License which is the current OSI
best practice for BSD-style licensing.  You would see much
broader usage of OCaml in the commercial sector.

Yeah I know plenty of people use OCaml at work, I do too,
don't beat me over the head.  There is a difference between
internal usage and mass production.  Mass production is
where you get real returns because the code has to be
right, or customers complain.  Internal use doesn't generate
anywhere near that kind of development effort.

OK, thanks everyone, I know opinions differ, this is just
my perspective and I hope it was communicated clearly.

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