[squeak-dev] Re: On the swazoo list

Jimmie Houchin j.squeak at cyberhaus.us
Mon Mar 24 20:26:56 UTC 2008

Paolo Bonzini wrote:
>>>  >  So from his description it sounds like an attempt
>>>  >  at forcing the software into LGPL simply by "injecting" your own
>>> LGPL
>>>  >  code into it.  Which would, of course, be every bit as reprehensible
>>>  >  as the "software mugging" you describe.
>>>  If you look at the version history of Swazoo in the Cincom public
>>>  Store and at the archive of the Swazoo mailing list you'll see that I
>>>  wasn't just injecting a bit of code here and there :-)
>> In the theoretical situation I described, the amount of code wouldn't
>> matter.  It would be someone contributing a bunch of code under a
>> different license and trying to do a "hostile take-over".
> You assume that everyone is satisfied with MIT, and that "injecting"
> everything but MIT is considered hostile (oversimplifying -- I grant you
> that).
> But some people might disagree with that, especially if they have
> contributed time to a project and would like to get back improvements to
> that project (but not code *using* it).  MIT does not give you that, and
> I can see why Bruce would like his Swazoo code to stay under the license
> he thought Swazoo was being released under.

Here is the philosophical difference.

Neither license prohibits contributing improvements back to the project.
GPL/LGPL require it, MIT does not.

However, you can not demonstrate based on any MIT/BSD licensed project
that those licenses are unsuccessful at having contributors contribute
improvements back to the projects. On the contrary, it is a culture of
giving, not the law which compels people to contribute to a project.
People who are inclined to give back do so because of choice.

Squeak, BSD, PostgreSQL, and many other such large projects do just fine
with MIT type licensing. And everyone of there contributors works just
as hard as anybody working on a GPL/LGPL project. Their authors do not
value their work any less, nor do they appreciate the contributions back
any less than their GPL/LGPL counterparts.

People who aren't givers just simply either choose something other than
GPL/LGPL projects, or simply ignore the license altogether. Regardless
the project is not advantaged by them at all regardless of the license.
And those that are givers, give regardless of being compelled by law or not.

I would much prefer a culture of giving because people want to give,
than because the letter of the law compels them to give. If I am
contributing code, I much prefer the MIT license, because I prefer the
greater liberties is allows the users of the code.

I would much prefer a culture of giving because people want to give,
than because the letter of the law compels them to give.

Just my opinion, but then I guess I'm one of those MIT/BSD
fundamentalist. ;)


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