Craig White wrote:
Regarding the GPL, though, it is all a matter of religion. Mine is that
making something deliberately not interoperate with something else,
whether by refusing to publish an interface spec, refusing to use
standard protocols, or licensing in such a way that interoperation (or
distributing working components together)is prohibited will harm random
people and is thus pure evil.
you are of course calling the Linux kernel evil - notwithstanding that
the intent was always to restrict the ability of commercial interests so
that the source and the endless improvements upon always remained
available to all users.
This case has never been entirely clear. In the early days, Linus
stated that the kernel module interface was in fact an interface and
proprietary modules were permitted. And despite current waffling, he has
never clearly reversed this statement. And despite constant changes to
that interface, RHEL keeps the changes from being pushed to customers
within a long distro timespan, sometimes claiming both to be paying
salaries to some of the kernel developers and that it is a big effort to
work around the changes they are making...
Of course this is unlike something like a BSD
license which permits absorption and further development without any
requirement to release their improvements.
Yes, even if Microsoft cleaned up their networking by copying BSD code
we are all better off with everyone using safe, well tested, standards
compliant code. Apple finally produced something that could be a
competitor to Windows with large chunks of it and again we are all
better off for having choices instead of a monopoly.
For standalone programs the GPL doesn't necessarily have these evil
effects. For things that should be usable in cooperative efforts but
can't because of license restrictions, it does. There's no accounting
for religions, though, and no doubt others believe the harm is justified
by something or other.
Seeing as how the entirety of the Linux kernel is GPL license and to
change now would require a complete abandonment of the current kernel
code and start from scratch, your point - however it might be made is
The linux license is not quite GPL and all it would take to fix it would
be for Linus to restate his original assertion that module code is not
part of the kernel. Others might not agree, but he is the expert on the
The license chosen for Linux kernel development was of
course Linus's and others who contribute code to the kernel are
necessarily bound by the GPL license and of course, they can choose not
to contribute code.
And there was a reason that the kernel license contains an exception.
Of course the thing that makes your rich is also the thing that makes
you poor and vice versa. The Linux kernel code, like all GPL license
code, will always be available to continue, fork, examine, etc. and
commercial enhancement of GPL code must necessarily be released in
source as required...I feel rich.
I think opensolaris has potential as an alternative, especially with
distributions like nexenta that have fairly current userland programs
equivalent to ubuntu on top of it.