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osOpinion: Public Domain Software - Better Than Open Source?

Nov 13, 2001, 14:54 (99 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Philip Stephens)

[ Thanks to Kelly McNeill for this link. ]

"Open source and free software were founded on the idea that all information and knowledge should be made freely available for the benefit of all, and what is software but the embodiment of knowledge?

Unfortunately, much of today's open software is not free in one important respect. The use of copyright and the General Public License (GPL) restricts its commercial exploitation.

The GPL came about because many software developers did not want monopolists like Microsoft taking open software and adding proprietary extensions so that other implementations of the software cannot interoperate with it or replace it. This goal keeps these companies from using their corporate muscle to make their proprietary version the de facto standard.

The problem is, that is the only reason for the GPL. By disallowing commercial use of open software, smaller, struggling companies cannot leverage open software to reduce their time to market, thereby making it more difficult to compete against entrenched monopolists."

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