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NewsForge: Advice to Linux: Dump the GPL

Aug 25, 2004, 01:45 (13 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Joe Barr)

"BusinessWeek columnist Stephen Wildstrom recently wrote a piece called A Big Fly in the Open-Source Soup that concluded, 'The future of commercial open source might be considerably brighter if Linux and other programs went to a more commerce-friendly license with fewer complexities and ambiguities than the GPL.' At the risk of offending a great many NewsForge readers, I am going to say that I don't disagree with him. Not because of the alleged complexity or ambiguities of the GPL--it's a piece of cake compared to a typical proprietary EULA--but because I don't understand what he means by the term 'commercial open source.' If he had simply said 'open source'--or used the more definitive phrase 'free software'--I would reject his position outright.

"But even allowing for the escape clause provided by an undefined, rogue-hybrid term like 'commercial open source,' Wildstrom provides much to quibble about. His conclusion is based upon a series of weak or simply erroneous facts and observations..."

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