The Age: Open Source: Theorising Without Data is a Mistake
"Four years ago, when Linux first began to gain some mileage in
otherwise disinterested publications, it was common to see
uninformed articles, penned by people who were either ignorant,
shills, or both, recounting myths about the operating system. These
days the number of such articles is few.
"In case you're wondering what's under discussion, it's an
article in American publisher Rupert Murdoch's national Australian
daily, The Australian.
"Titled 'Open source legal warning', the article quoted
extensively from 'an expert' in a bid to prove that the General
Public License (or GPL as it is better known) is a minefield--in
other words, don't use software that is released under this
licence, it exposes you to 'legal threats and
"One of Oz's newspapers, The Australian, have a new story, where
they quote a lawyer from one of Australia's bigger firms, Minter
Ellison, suggesting that there are doubts about GPL enforceability,
and consequences of non-enforceability (Minters' (very) slightly
more extended analysis is also online: here. There's some trickly
little issues in here--and while some of the claims aired in The
Australian article are just silly, there may be something to it,
though I still doubt the world will fall apart...
"First things first:--the Australian's article is about as
general as it comes.--Minters' analysis is also aimed at
(generating new) clients--so is also very general in its terms.
"The other interesting thing about this story is that, in many
cases, the issues it raises are common to all software--not just
open source. Blaming it all on the GPL and open source is just