You must log in or register to comment.

emma wrote

The GPL v2 worked well for its intended purpose. v3 fractured the FOSS ecosystem, and drove corporations to develop their own alternatives to projects that were relicensed under it, instead of having their employees contribute to those existing projects.

Ultimately, this shows that copyright law isn't a good tool to wield against corporations to make them act responsibly/ethically, so I think developers should just choose a licence that requires as little legal understanding as possible, and doesn't conflict with other popular licences.


Stigmata wrote (edited )

I don’t mind GPL, but only because there are plenty of licenses to choose from including the different GPL versions.

GPLv3 does lead to some problems I think. I like what it attempted to do with preventing “tivoization” but at the same time it really limits what open source software can be used for. I guess I just think the license is a bit naive to think companies will use code with that license and then open their entire platform up to the public (whether they should is a different question). It basically just leads instead to companies re-writing things and not contributing to the open source code base with the v3 license.

A lot of times open source projects are supported using corporate time and resources because a company uses the project. I think it is more desirable to say “you can use this in anything you want, but any modification to this code needs to be open sourced as well” so that you will get contributions from the people that use it.


capitan wrote

Big tech avoids GPL because they want to benefit from volunteer work without having any obligation to the community they benefit from. The biggest obstacles for lay users to use free software are:

  1. Inconvenience of free software, particularly its integration with proprietary networks and hardware.

  2. Low tolerance for inconvenience by lay people. They sell their attention for convenience on a regular basis, by watching ads and propagandized television programming.

The second group is a lost cause. They just want to sit on their couch and watch a whitewashed, watered down, dramatized version of real life trauma. Pain is entertainment to them.

For the first group, we can improve on boarding and integration experiences for people who already have hardware and preferred social networks, but more importantly we must build and participate in FOSS networks and hardware.

When you purchase new hardware for yourself or others, consider how much nonfree software has to go into it. Are there kernel drivers upstream? Is the firmware open source or do you need blobs? How do those details factor into the overall experience and sustainability of the hardware? I think many of us have owned android devices that never saw notable updates, and now regret buying those devices.


nulloperation wrote (edited )

The second group is a lost cause.

Not sure. Recent Gnome Desktop releases are quite polished and MacOS-like, which I think helps people with that inconvenience.

When you purchase new hardware for yourself or others, consider how much nonfree software has to go into it.

An easy and practical way of doing this is to bring a Debian live bootable USB drive and ask to try it out on the device before you purchase it, because it's not really something you can ask staff at a tech shop: "Is the driver for the wireless card for this laptop releases under a free / libre license?"


capitan wrote

The desktop is polished, but can they use MS office? And outlook? Can they run iTunes and iCloud to sync their photos from their phone?

Lack of integration with services like that is exactly what many lazy people will not tolerate. They would rather have ads on their home screen and an OS that tracks them to optimize those ads.

bring a Debian live bootable USB drive and ask to try it out on the device before you purchase it

Have you ever done that? I would bet 0 laptops being sold in a shop today would have working WiFi without firmware blobs. Is there a single 802.11ac capable chipset that is blob free? Not that I know of, and ax is popping up these days.


nulloperation wrote

but can they use MS office? And outlook?

Yes, they can.

Can they run iTunes and iCloud to sync their photos from their phone?

I was recently syncing photos off an iphone and icloud off Debian. Works fine.

bring a Debian live bootable USB drive

Have you ever done that?

Yes. Second-hand laptop shops where they are more patient.

I would bet 0 laptops being sold in a shop today would have working WiFi without firmware blobs.

There are some. I've run Trisquel on a random second-hand laptop with wifi. Atheros made some wifi drivers free. I usually go for Debian + nonfree firmware though, because usually the non-free wifi drivers work fine.


capitan wrote

I really wish your last link was more discoverable. Those ath9k chipsets are not particularly common, especially in newer hardware. Most people want 5 GHz and ac/ax functionality.


nulloperation wrote

Yea, it was on an older 32-bit laptop. We need more free wifi drivers.

I think that Debian with non-free wifi driver is an improvement over Windoze though.

Going back to the GPL, it was actually effective in getting Linksys to publish their code leading to the creation of the OpenWRT Linux distro for routers.


nulloperation wrote

by discouraging companies like apple, google, etc from using them,

Well, that's because GPL is more concerned with preserving the rights of the user rather than the rights of Apple and Google to spy on users and lock down their devices.

without worrying about legal issues, or stating changes, and forcing the same upon others.

Yes, GPL is copyleft and thus "forcing" derived software to be free. There's a lot of forcing in proprietary software though: forced upgrades, forced purchase, forced ads, forced spying; so it's not like using permissive licenses will be more "free".

A legal issue you could end up worrying about as a smaller developer is a big company taking your free/libre code and turning it into a proprietary project. Using permissive software licenses doesn't protect you from that, but GPL and especially AGPL can help you out there.

If you don't like the GPL, then don't use it for your software, fine, but it's an upside-down argument that the GPL is "strengthening the grip of proprietary software". Are falafels bad for veganism too, because Burger King and McDonalds are discouraged from making them?


Sparkle wrote

I'm a bit late to the party but hopefully won't offend anyone by chiming in :3

I've had some experience both with seeing GPL (GPLv3 and AGPLv3) licenses as scary and extremely complicated and with seeing them as I have more recently: a statement of intent and support for the commons.

Firstly, they really are quite wordy. I feel they're reasonably understandable if read carefully and repeatedly but this takes a lot of effort, which means this is a serious downside to anyone looking for software or a license to use. Further, there are conflicting statements about what exactly these licenses mean and how/when they apply so it's easy to feel quite uncertain about touching any GPL license (even including v2!) or GPL'd software.

Lately, I've taken to using GPL anyway (not that anyone would ever use anything I've written) specifically as a statement of intent: "I mean for this to be a part of the commons." The scary, complicated nature of the GPL is sort of my way of saying that I want people to understand what I mean to say by choosing it. It's probably not really read that way but I'm weird and like to stuff political statements, hints, and references into places they'll probably never be noticed anyway. Oh well.

As an aside, it's somewhat surprising to me that there would be a bunch of positive/un-angry talk about the GPL(s) here (on Raddle) and no trashing them for being connected to copyright. Just in case, I'd like to point out that "intellectual property" is a disgusting thing (and term) to me and I'd prefer abolishing it to feeling like I should make some kind of statement about the commons through a license nobody understands. Maybe I'll change and just put a rant in a README or something.

I guess the TL;DRish short version is that, in my mind, the GPL is a way of loudly shouting support for the commons and the expectation that others will share in turn. It's unfortunate that there's IP law and a lot of legalese involved but I don't really see that as likely to affect people who aren't trying to turn GPL'd stuff into private property so... while distasteful I think the choice may be tolerable if only as an excuse to talk about sharing? I suppose realistically my choice of license is simply shouting into the wind and won't be noticed regardless, but now the wind knows I'm caring about sharing <3


[deleted] wrote


Sparkle wrote

Hello! Thanks, I picked a random thing that sounded pretty :D