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Re^3: OSS and the Profit Motive

by spiritway (Vicar)
on Mar 04, 2006 at 08:09 UTC ( #534438=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re^2: OSS and the Profit Motive
in thread OSS and the Profit Motive

OK, perhaps I need to clarify what I meant by "viral". I did not mean, "pernicious" or "evil". I meant that the license propagates itself through its descendants. Perhaps I ought to have used the word, "genetic" as a metaphor, rather than viral. In any event, I did not mean to suggest that GPL was in any way evil or wrong. I agree with you that copyright is the culprit, not GPL.

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Re^4: OSS and the Profit Motive
by chromatic (Archbishop) on Mar 04, 2006 at 19:38 UTC

    I'm not sure I explained my point fully. The concept of "derivative work" is the so-called viral property and that comes from copyright, not the GPL.

      No, you were quite clear. I can't lay the blame on you for this. I was simply using a very badly-conceived metaphor, one with negative connotations and that doesn't come close to describing the actual facts concerning the GPL. If anything, GPL would be more like a vaccination against the viral qualities of copyright.

        It would be a vaccination if its terms didn't explicitly depend upon the "virus" itself. The GPL actually imposes limitations on licensed software that wouldn't exist in a system without copyright at all. I would prefer a "true vaccination" rather than a counter-virus, and as such I wrote a license of my own meant to serve that purpose. I now use it for pretty much everything.

        It, too, is a "hereditary" use and distribution license. It is not strictly speaking an "open source" license because it applies to more than software: it's intended to apply to any copyrightable work. I've finally "found" a license that I really feel good about applying to things I've authored.

        Anyhow, my point is that defining something as "viral" based on the characteristics of copyright does then apply to the GPL as well, precisely because of the way the GPL inherits some of its characteristics from copyright. It takes a license, like the one I created, that creates a sort of "protected public domain", to really innoculate against the viral properties of copyright.

        print substr("Just another Perl hacker", 0, -2);
        - apotheon
        CopyWrite Chad Perrin

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