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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 23:11:18 +0200

On 9/22/20 10:05 PM, Jean Louis wrote:
* Marinus Savoritias <> [2020-09-22 20:18]:

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

Not everybody is capable of programming, and not every programmer is
capable of understanding legalities of licenses. Legalities are mostly
interpreted and many times wrongly interpreted.

If you find specific case for this subject here

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.

Then present the case to proper person, authorized and capable of
understanding your specific case.

The problem is though that if somebody wants to write a program he doesn't want to have meetings with lawyers first. He just wants to write a program. By making it harder for people to start writing a program you end up in a situation where nobody uses your license. And then you have the title of the original email. Which seems to come true if GPL is as hard as you say it is.

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:

On that link I do not see nothing new, GPL is not compatible with
proprietary apple stuff, yes, that is well known, and I am wondering
why is that a problem. I see nothing to worry there.

You see nothing to worry. But if you think about all the developers wanting to depend on libraries that are not GPL. or Software that wants to be included in clients like Steam. Like Supertuxkart.

That is how you have people using non-copyleft.


I do not see a problem, and probably we are not part in that
discussion, people are free to use free software licenses as they
wish. I know those discussions since 20+ years.

And that is what we are discussing here. That people have been choosing other licenses than copyleft. Because they don't see the point of going through all the legal questions.

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.

I am talking about freedom, in the world with freedom, there would be
no licenses, that is why and how GPL began, as we do not have freedom,
GPL is there to use same legal limitations to ensure of freedom in

In East Africa or many other parts of the world, no license is
respected, so there is simply practical freedom, so, you will be able
to distribute and modify, patch, proprietary software as well as free
software, but do not expect that free software will be respected in
such areas, that is practice. Find your source code yourself. You
cannot enforce laws in many countries, especially not something seen
as ridiculous as licenses for software. Radio, TV, are copying media
as well and cannot be attacked by US or European copyright holders,
and so is same for software, it can be copied, distributed, do what
you wish. That is freedom in practice, it may become less and less in
those countries, but currently it is so.

When I arrived to Germany in 1993, I was used to freely sharing
software in Yugoslavia, we purchased proprietary or free software from
software dealers which were not authorized, all software was patched
or cracked that games and applications can be played, nobody bothered,
movies were freely copied, yet in Germany in the same time, there were
licensing issues, one could get serious legal problems for copying the

Such areas are still on this planet, there is freedom in certain
countries beyond proprietary and free licenses.

Let's Agree to disagree here.

Marinus Savoritias


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