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Alexis de Tocqueville Institution: Patents and the Penguin

May 12, 2004, 01:00 (12 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ken Brown)

"To summarize, the General Public License (GPL), the contract/license for GNU/Linux software and other open source software requires distribution of the source code for the original program. If you receive a copy of GPL’ed software, you can use it without worrying about the original author exercising any limitations, fees, licenses, etc. The GPL enables developers to transfer the rights of their work to anyone they would like, for the privilege of having the reciprocal use of GPL’ed work. This feature makes selling GPL’ed software inane because anyone that agrees to the terms of the GPL can also have a copy of the same software with the code--for free.

"However, the dynamic nature of software patenting, something that cannot be governed directly by the GPL, has made it very difficult for the future of open source development to play out predictably..."

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