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The GPL: By communists, for communists

A reader writes that he's all for open source done the right way, but the GPL does not fall under that category.


The GPL: By communists, for communists

In response to the May 7 Perspectives column by Michael A. Olson, "A business case for open source":

Olson is clearly a smart guy, especially because he did not choose to build a business on top of the GPL. I don't have a problem with the Berkeley license, or the Apache license, or the Perl Artistic license, or the MIT license or probably many others.

But the GPL is ridiculous. Let's say that I am building an application and I want to embed some GPL code. And maybe now I want to modify it because either I find a bug or I want to add an extension. Great--because I have the source code. The only problem is that now when I compile this code into my application, my application is also GPL code. That means I need to publish my proprietary secrets. How can you build a sustainable, competitive advantage when you publish your technology?

I'm all for open source done the right way, but the GPL is written by communists for other communists. It will kill innovation in the software industry if it catches on. Fortunately, most companies, like Olson's, are smarter than that.

Bill Brougher
San Francisco



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