Good point (I didn't know Apple's was free). No doubt there are many different reasons why people write the software they do - Larry wanted to give folks a useful product; Linus wanted a Unix clone; Stallman wanted some other goal, perhaps. And as you noted, probably getting ego strokes, recognition, was a factor for many. But that's the motivation for *writing* the software, not for choosing the license. It seems to me that, for whatever reason people wrote the software, they placed it under GPL (or similar) licenses to keep their creations 'free'. Why they wanted to keep it free may vary - some might just want to make sure they got credit for the work, which often doesn't happen with proprietary licenses. Some - the Mother Teresas of the IT world - might genuinely want to share their work with the world, so that everyone can have access to good programs. No doubt there are other motivations - heck, probably lots of people do it just to spite a certain large software company whose name I won't mention, but whose initials are "Microsoft".
Ultimately, only the people who actually did the licensing can say with certainty what their motives were - and they might not be altogether clear about it, either.
BTW - love the "Yet Another Perl Schlub"...
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