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rahilm
December 15th, 2009, 12:50 PM
Hi. I am new to the open source world. Just out of curiosity i wonder what is the difference between GPL LGPL and the BSD license. Are there any more licenses worth noting in the same line?

I tried googling and found some difference but I want personal responses. and I am not good at reading long licenses

issih
December 15th, 2009, 12:52 PM
http://developer.kde.org/documentation/licensing/licenses_summary.html

Hope that helps :)

Exodist
December 15th, 2009, 12:59 PM
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/lgpl.html
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gfdl.html
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/agpl.html
http://creativecommons.org/about/licenses/

Xbehave
December 15th, 2009, 01:19 PM
Oversimplified summary
BSD = Use this code as you wish
MPL = Changes to files we give you files must be given back
LGPL = Any changes to this project must be given back
GPL = Any code developed from this project must be given back

There are many licenses that are similar to BSD/MPL but have different restrictions, but AFAIK LGPL and GPL are the only licenses that require you give your code, if you distribute an improved version of the project.

earthpigg
December 15th, 2009, 01:34 PM
whatever you do, do not forget the WTFPL (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WTFPL)!!!

:D

rahilm
December 15th, 2009, 06:47 PM
So what makes GPL so much better??

alphaniner
December 15th, 2009, 06:52 PM
So what makes GPL so much better??

That's largely a matter of personal philosophy. I favour the BSD license.

aaaantoine
December 15th, 2009, 06:56 PM
So what makes GPL so much better??

The point of the GPL is for the source code to not only be open and freely distributable, but also to prevent others from taking the work and using it in a closed source application. Developing under the GPL license means compulsory source code sharing.

Contrast with the BSD license, which makes the source code open and freely distributable, to the point that anyone can take it and make their own thing with it, without giving back to those who developed it to begin with. *glares at OS X*

The GPL is arguably why Linux is more popular to develop for than *BSD.

earthpigg
December 15th, 2009, 06:58 PM
So what makes GPL so much better??

heh, funny you ask... this thread (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1354778) from yesterday was originally not about licenses at all, then it got off topic and thus closed.

a few of us got into some rather ranting discussions about the gpl, bsd, etc.

since this thread is specifically about different licenses, it should be ok to talk about here.

give that thread as skim :D

one thing we need to be sure about here, however, is that we keep it civil. a lot of folks have some pretty strong opinions on the matter.

so, anyone that wishes to participate: please keep the ad hominem (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominum) and straw man (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man) out of it.

i certainly wouldn't mind a good discussion about this topic that didn't get closed.

cariboo
December 15th, 2009, 07:00 PM
The point of the GPL is for the source code to not only be open and freely distributable, but also to prevent others from taking the work and using it in a closed source application. Developing under the GPL license means compulsory source code sharing.

Contrast with the BSD license, which makes the source code open and freely distributable, to the point that anyone can take it and make their own thing with it, without giving back to those who developed it to begin with. *glares at OS X*

The GPL is arguably why Linux is more popular to develop for than *BSD.

Remember to cast a few glares at Microsoft too, they used the BSD networking stack for the longest time.

RiceMonster
December 15th, 2009, 07:00 PM
So what makes GPL so much better??

The difference is the BSD License is more free.








GO!

alphaniner
December 15th, 2009, 07:03 PM
The difference is the BSD License is more free.








GO!

In before post deletion and /thread. :P

Tibuda
December 15th, 2009, 07:06 PM
*glares at OS X*

The OS X kernel is open source.

nrs
December 15th, 2009, 07:06 PM
It's a matter of perspective. Do you want the code / users to be eternally free? The GPL is superior. Do you want developers to be free? BSD is superior.

earthpigg
December 15th, 2009, 07:08 PM
It's a matter of perspective. Do you want the code / users to be eternally free? The GPL is superior. Do you want developers to be free? BSD is superior.

well said.

aaaantoine
December 15th, 2009, 07:30 PM
The OS X kernel is open source.

Are you referring to the original Mach kernel, or the Mach kernel as modified by Apple?

I'd like to see the code for the latter.

schauerlich
December 15th, 2009, 07:39 PM
Contrast with the BSD license, which makes the source code open and freely distributable, to the point that anyone can take it and make their own thing with it, without giving back to those who developed it to begin with. *glares at OS X*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwin_(operating_system)
http://opensource.apple.com/
http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=7347446&postcount=1

A little research goes a long way.

Tibuda
December 15th, 2009, 07:40 PM
Are you referring to the original Mach kernel, or the Mach kernel as modified by Apple?

I'd like to see the code for the latter.

Darwin, which is based on both Mach and FreeBSD: http://developer.apple.com/Darwin/

schauerlich
December 15th, 2009, 07:44 PM
Are you referring to the original Mach kernel, or the Mach kernel as modified by Apple?

I'd like to see the code for the latter.

http://www.opensource.apple.com/source/xnu/xnu-1456.1.26/

Penguin Guy
December 15th, 2009, 07:59 PM
I would highly advise against the GPL - it is very restrictive. The LGPL is a shorter, simpler, less restrictive, and all round better. But I release all my work in the Public Domain, meaning anybody can use it in any way for any purpose.

Some things to note:

There is no 'right' license - pick whichever one you think is fair
It isn't that important - don't get too worked up about it, it's just a license
Once you've licensed something, you won't (legitimately) be able to change the license

JDShu
December 15th, 2009, 08:03 PM
There is no 'right' license - pick whichever one you think is fair
It isn't that important - don't get too worked up about it, it's just a license
Once you've licensed something, you won't (legitimately) be able to change the license



Point 1 is very true.

Point 2... its not just a license... its law ;)

Point 3 I don't believe is true. Correct me if I'm wrong but code you've written always belongs to you and you can do whatever you want with it at any point in time.

schauerlich
December 15th, 2009, 08:10 PM
Point 3 I don't believe is true. Correct me if I'm wrong but code you've written always belongs to you and you can do whatever you want with it at any point in time.

It is very difficult to change the license of a GPL'd project, because you have to 1) track down everyone who's made any contribution to it, however small and 2) get their permission to change the license.

JDShu
December 15th, 2009, 08:16 PM
It is very difficult to change the license of a GPL'd project, because you have to 1) track down everyone who's made any contribution to it, however small and 2) get their permission to change the license.

Yes, but you can theoretically change the license of your original code right? Its not useful and you probably get no benefits, but its legally possible.

Xbehave
December 15th, 2009, 08:36 PM
It is very difficult to change the license of a GPL'd project, because you have to 1) track down everyone who's made any contribution to it, however small and 2) get their permission to change the license.
You can include a clause in your project saying that you own all code contributed to it (Gnu,mozilla,sun & nmap all do this) to avoid the "problem" you just described.

The only license that fully prevents leaching is the GPL, so the only code i have every put out there is under GPL. MPL/LGPL do have some provisions but if you use my code i want all code you derive from it in return, because if it wasn't for me you wouldn't have a project !

koenn
December 15th, 2009, 09:56 PM
LGPL = Any changes to this project must be given back
GPL = Any code developed from this project must be given back

this is oversimplified to the point where it becomes inaccurate, or at least very ambiguous.
There is no obligation, under GPL or LGPL, to "give back" to the project/person/copyright holder/ ... the code came from. There's only the obligation that if you distribute this modified code, it has to be distributed under the same license, and if you distribute it in binary form, you must allow and arrange for access to the source code for the person/people you distributed the binaries to.

koenn
December 15th, 2009, 10:00 PM
Yes, but you can theoretically change the license of your original code right?

yes and no.
you can decide to distribute (new copies of) your program or source code under any license you choose, but people who received a copy under your original license X, will still be entitled to all rights you granted them in that license.

koenn
December 15th, 2009, 10:03 PM
The difference is the BSD License is more free.
... but makes no effort to preserve that freedom.

alphaniner
December 15th, 2009, 10:21 PM
... but makes no effort to preserve that freedom.

...at the expense of other freedoms.

nrs
December 15th, 2009, 11:13 PM
...at the expense of other freedoms.
The only freedom that is a causality of the GPL is the freedom to take away the freedom that was initially granted. :-({|= Rules like this generally exist in the real world too.

For all the talk of Stallman being the crazed idealist, I think it's the actually the other way around. For me, the GPL is the pragmatic license because it recognizes the reality of the situation and provides you with protection whereas with the BSD license you're basically staking the code's freedom on the kindness of the strangers. Nothing wrong with that, but it definitely seems more idealistic.

If you can't think of a scenario where either the BSD or GPL would be useful, you're not using your imagination.

koenn
December 15th, 2009, 11:30 PM
The only freedom that is a causality of the GPL is the freedom to take away the freedom that was initially granted. :-({|= Rules like this generally exist in the real world too.

It's a case of "Your freedom to swing your fist ends where my nose begins"

alphaniner
December 15th, 2009, 11:35 PM
The only freedom that is a causality of the GPL is the freedom to take away the freedom that was initially granted. :-({|= Rules like this generally exist in the real world too.

For all the talk of Stallman being the crazed idealist, I think it's the actually the other way around. For me, the GPL is the pragmatic license because it recognizes the reality of the situation and provides you with protection whereas with the BSD license you're basically staking the code's freedom on the kindness of the strangers. Nothing wrong with that, but it definitely seems more idealistic.

If you can't think of a scenario where either the BSD or GPL would be useful, you're not using your imagination.

With the BSDL the code's freedom is never at risk. The only thing risked is that others might claim their work as their own. They can't take the work of others out of the 'public domain'.

And there are other casualties of the GPL, for example the inability to have native support of the ZFS filesystem. When your freedom limits your freedom, you need to stop and consider if you have gone too far.

Xbehave
December 16th, 2009, 12:10 AM
With the BSDL the code's freedom is never at risk. The only thing risked is that others might claim their work as their own. They can't take the work of others out of the 'public domain'.

And there are other casualties of the GPL, for example the inability to have native support of the ZFS filesystem. When your freedom limits your freedom, you need to stop and consider if you have gone too far.
Using linux/BSD/solaris/any free OS limits my freedom to play flash well though, so by your logic i should go back to windows.

Many think that zfs was licensed under CDDL specifically to stop linux being able to import the code as linux is a significant competitor to solaris, but BSD and mac are not (not in the markets where sun make money on solaris anyway), in addition to this even if linux could use the code, it probably wouldn't anyway because it has a very mature VFS that would need a significant rewrite to get ZFS to work and btrfs is an equally good fs (IMO it's better as it's b-tree based which makes more sense than just having slices) and just around the corner (just behind the corner if your experimental)

Chame_Wizard
December 16th, 2009, 12:59 AM
Oversimplified summary
BSD = Use this code as you wish
MPL = Changes to files we give you files must be given back
LGPL = Any changes to this project must be given back
GPL = Any code developed from this project must be given back

There are many licenses that are similar to BSD/MPL but have different restrictions, but AFAIK LGPL and GPL are the only licenses that require you give your code, if you distribute an improved version of the project.

:lolflag:

3rdalbum
December 16th, 2009, 02:00 AM
whatever you do, do not forget the WTFPL (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WTFPL)!!!

If this license ever got tested in court, I'm not sure it would stand up because of the use of profanity. ;-)

alphaniner
December 16th, 2009, 02:09 AM
Using linux/BSD/solaris/any free OS limits my freedom to play flash well though, so by your logic i should go back to windows.

Many think that zfs was licensed under CDDL specifically to stop linux...

If Flash is a priority for you, then yes, I suppose you should.

And frankly I doubt the licensing of ZFS was chosen to limit its use in Linux, but even if it was I my point is still valid. People ask this about Windows all the time, why choose software with a license that limits your options? And I think it's a very reasonable question. But as soon as this logic is applied to Linux, it suddenly becomes bad juju. I call bullsh*t.

rahilm
December 17th, 2009, 08:17 AM
Given the structure of above mentioned licesnses
Would linux have become more successful if Linux released the kernel under the BSD license or would it have fallen prey to EEE policies of Microsoft?
I personally favour the latter case.

nrs
December 17th, 2009, 08:27 AM
With the BSDL the code's freedom is never at risk. The only thing risked is that others might claim their work as their own. They can't take the work of others out of the 'public domain'.

Their work? And what of all the preceding code? How are they entitled to close that?

earthpigg
December 17th, 2009, 09:04 PM
Their work? And what of all the preceding code? How are they entitled to close that?

there are ways.

"if you want to contribute code to Project X, you agree to transfer all ownership of the code to Project X Leader. Agree? y/n"

thats how chromium does it.

RiceMonster
December 17th, 2009, 09:06 PM
there are ways.

"if you want to contribute code to Project X, you agree to transfer all ownership of the code to Project X Leader. Agree? y/n"

thats how chromium does it.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I know, if you contribute to a GNU project, you're required to assign copyright of your code over to the FSF as well.

Xbehave
December 17th, 2009, 09:19 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I know, if you contribute to a GNU project, you're required to assign copyright of your code over to the FSF as well.
Yes and for software by canonical or sun, but not for the kernel or busy box [1] (http://lwn.net/Articles/359013/)

phrostbyte
December 17th, 2009, 09:19 PM
The primary difference between the (L)GPL and BSD is the GPL guarantees that derivative works will also be open source, while BSD does not. There is no proprietary Linux kernel.

Wine for instance used to be licensed under a BSD-like license, but was re-licensed when proprietary software companies making closed source forks of Wine, and not sharing any of their advancements back. So the Wine developers voted against this practice, and now Wine is LGPL.

phrostbyte
December 17th, 2009, 09:22 PM
Yes and for software by canonical or sun, but not for the kernel or busy box [1] (http://lwn.net/Articles/359013/)

Right the Linux kernel is GPLv2 with a glibc linking exception.

Xbehave
December 17th, 2009, 09:27 PM
Right the Linux kernel is GPLv2 with a glibc linking exception.
What RiceMonster is talking about is copyright assignment that various projects require, it isn't really dependent on the license. The LWN article i link to explains it much better than i can but if you want to give code to an opensource project they often ask you to assign them copyright.
As Fyodor puts it:

By sending these changes to Fyodor or one of the *
* Insecure.Org development mailing lists, it is assumed that you are *
* offering the Nmap Project (Insecure.Com LLC) the unlimited, *
* non-exclusive right to reuse, modify, and relicense the code. Nmap *
* will always be available Open Source, but this is important because the *
* inability to relicense code has caused devastating problems for other *
* Free Software projects (such as KDE and NASM). We also occasionally *
* relicense the code to third parties as discussed above. If you wish to *
* specify special license conditions of your contributions, just say so *
* when you send them.
However for the linux kernel there is no such assumption and all code is remains yours+GPL instead of yours+project's+GPL (the re-licensing is rarely done so most projects don't even mention it explicitly, but when you hand over copyright assignment you do permit sun/canonical/etc to do that.)

schauerlich
December 17th, 2009, 09:53 PM
I think the LGPL is a good compromise between the GPL and the BSD license.

"I don't really care what you do with the code from my project or what kind of project it's used in, but if you make changes to it, I'd like to see them so that my project gets the benefits too."