Hi Alex, all,

On Mon, Aug 2, 2010 at 2:29 PM, Alexander Burger <a...@software-lab.de> wrote:
> Hi all,
> as this discussion popped up recently and in the past, and will surely
> pop up in the future: What do you think if PicoLisp were released under
> the BSD license instead of GPL?

i go for BSD.

> My reason for asking this is simple: On several occasions I experienced
> that the acceptance of PicoLisp is limited by the GPL. Companies are
> reluctant to use it because they are afraid of being forced to publish
> their little secrets. Their fear is sometimes rational and sometimes
> not, but the effects are the same. For me it is critical, as my economic
> survival depends on it.

the way i understand it (from reading all of the pros and cons posts
of GPL vs BSD over the net for quite some time) is that the GPL forces
you to publish changes when you want to distribute the code outside of
the company. the most clear statement i have read somewhere tells me
"the GPL is a distribution license". i think that captures the spirit
of the GPL. or most of it.

> Ideologically, I prefer the GPL. It guarantees that "freedom"
> propagates. But it does this by cutting down on freedom, so it is
> schizophrenic. I used to compare the situation with freedom in a
> society: A society should not give an individual member so much freedom
> that he can make himself a dictator and thus destroy freedom. But this
> comparison is wrong. Using free software in a non-free project doesn't
> decrease its freedom; it just doesn't increase it the way the GPL tries
> to enforce. So is this just much ado about nothing?

this is a complex issue and i am not an expert. my additional
arguments would be:

1) the BSD license does not force one to publish changes. good for
companies. the GPL does not enforce this too *unless* you distribute
your changes to pre-existing GPL code.

2) the BSD license still ensures that the code remains free. the GPL
does not guarantee that changes in the pre-existing code will be made
publicly available (see point 1).

3) the GPL is complex. so many ifs. i'm not keen on using complex things.

best regards,


hat tip to Alex for PicoLisp and bringing this issue up in the list.
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