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Re: The sad decline of copyleft software licenses? :(

From: Marinus Savoritias
Subject: Re: The sad decline of copyleft software licenses? :(
Date: Tue, 22 Sep 2020 19:18:36 +0200

On 9/22/20 6:32 PM, Jean Louis wrote:
* Marinus Savoritias <> [2020-09-22 18:42]:
I was actually have been thinking about it a lot lately. Because as you said
the copyleft licenses are in decline and for me it feels increasingly like I
am one against many.

As to your first question the arguments I mainly hear are two:

1. The minority says that GPL requires you to keep the same license if you
fork. That isn't heard much from my side. And I wouldn't count it that much.
Since the people that usually say it want to close source stuff or that GPL
is communistic. Yes this people exist sadly.

We are varieties of people, and not each of humans is capable to read,
or read and understand the licesne, or read and understand the legal
terms, implications and consequences of a license. It is simply not in
capacity of each person to understand. It is also not a real purpose
of the license for everybody to understands it, what matters is that
they share the software, modify and enjoy it.

Those programmers who cannot understand legalities should rather get
third party opinions and advices.

It's not clear what you are trying to say here. Can you rephrase please?

2. The second criticism that I usually hear is much more serious to me. The
say that I can't easily link GPL to anything else unless I check the
license. And even then I end up changing the license of something else. Even
if they don't want it.

Be practical, when you have other specific need to link software, why
not just ask for opinion from FSF licensing or other person who can
help you like Eben Moglen, so when you have legal issue, ask legal
people to help you, don't assume that average programmer knows

If you imply that it is not true. Here is a link from wikipedia saying the same thing:


The second one is about the supertuxkart. There are also more examples.
The wikipedia one has also one interview with Stallman that says the same thing.

1. Is FSF and GNU as a whole happy with the current situation? We
technically have more Free Software than ever. But the Copyleft and user
abuse is as high as it has ever been.

I am from Europe, now in East Africa, I can tell you that all movies,
music, software is freely distributed, including sold on street, and I
am gladly purchasing movies duplicated on DVDs, and all kinds of
softwar is just copied onto computers like any type of proprietary or
GNU/Linux distributions are distributed without taking care of any
license, and any consequences of any enforcements, so by principle
that is type of society I would like to be in, I would not like that I
am spied on by governments or that license holders enforce it on me,
be it proprietary authors or copyleft authors.

Purpose of copyleft is not to enforce licensing terms, but to have
people enjoy free software. So if average African sells me GNU/Linux
distribution, there is no way that I can ask from such seller not even
a receipt, as they simply may not have a receipt, unspoken of asking
to provide me a source code by request or to respect the GNU GPL in
full. What matters is sharing, not enforcing. I do not feel abused if
they cannot give me source code, and if I would be interested, they
would probably try to find it for me.

What you are talking about seems to be MIT then. But for now we need at least GPL if you ask me. Maybe even more.

Now I could assume a position that as user, I am abused here, or I can
think I am in free country in respect to software and media, and that
is how I feel

2. Is FSF and GNU the center of thing anymore? Do we want it to be? Because
I can tell you that there are Copyleft Licenses outside of GNU. Few but
exist. And there are developers that left GNU for some reason but still work
on Copyleft software. And of course the young developers that haven't heard
of FSF or GNU. Or don't want/bother to join.

It is good to be specific, generalized statements don't help.

My question was basically: Do we want FSF and GNU to be the main driving force behind Copyleft? And if so how do we get there.
Because most of Copyleft development nowadays happen outside of GNU and FSF.

Marinus Savoritias


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