The GPL vs. Skype: Open source's bedrock license wins again

The GPL, like Ionesco's Rhinoceros, "ne capitule pas" (won't capitulate). So long as we have a strong and vibrant GPL community, we'll have a strong and vibrant open-source community. It really is as simple as that.

Groklaw is reporting that Skype has given up on its appeal against a lower German court's ruling that the GPL is enforceable, thank you very much. Skype had considered appealing on the grounds that the GPL inhibits (???) free trade, but a few minutes of serious reflection must have caused the Skype attorneys to realize that would be one of the dumbest possible arguments to make against the GPL. As one court already found:

The GPL encourages, rather than discourages, free competition and the distribution of computer operating systems, the benefits of which directly pass to consumers. These benefits include lower prices, better access, and more innovation.

Indeed.

It seems to me (and to Glyn) that so long as the defenders of the GPL are motivated by defense of the GPL, there's roughly zero chance that this bedrock open-source license is going to fade away. One may prefer Apache-style licensing, but it is the GPL that provides the foundation for all other open-source licenses.

The GPL, like Ionesco's Rhinoceros, "ne capitule pas" (won't capitulate). So long as we have a strong and vibrant GPL community, we'll have a strong and vibrant open-source community. It really is as simple as that.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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