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Re: Which Linux to use?

ok, here goes. there's not much high funda, but there's
some interesting history.

GPL (Gnu Public License)
- it's specifically designed to prohibit control of the source code.
 you have the source code available and are free to make modifications
 but any modifications you make must also be under GPL. i.e its
 source code must also be made freely available.

 this was started by Richard Stallman, without anybody's help so he
 was able to write as free a license as possible. he wrote emacs, gcc
 and a number of other utilities. when Linus came along he adopted
 the GPL for his version of unix (linux !), 'cos he was blissfully
 unaware of the free source code OS called BSD and its associated
 BSD license. Linus has mentioned that if he knew of BSD, he would
 not have written linux at all. with Linus adopting GNU
 Stallman's dream of having an entire platform from OS to development
 tools, that were based on GNU was fulfilled.
 In fact the reason GNU was called GNU (GNU is Not Unix) was a
 rebellion against the source code control that plagued Unix of the
 time - see below.

BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution) license
- it allows you to read and tweak the source code, but also allows
 you to use the source code in your own products and sell them
 without revealing your own modifications.

 this had a long history and was affected by a tussle between
 ATT Labs (where unix was created) and UC Berkeley (where unix
 was greatly enhanced - sockets,tcp/ip etc) on the Unix OS.
 Also involved were all the companies that got BSD Unix from UCB
 and had to pay royalties for it to ATT, because UCB had modified
 code that belonged to ATT. While ATT had the unix license,
 companies would have to pay for BSD code, which they could
 then read and modify and then incorporate into their own products.
 FreeBSD finally rewrote the entire source code, removing it from
 the clutches of ATT's licensing terms, so you did not have to pay
 to get the source in the first place. But you could still modify
 it and sell it in your own products, without revealing your changes.

LPGl (Lesser GPL)
-  something Stallman came up with to allow limited use of GPL
   software in commercial products. software libraries could
   be distributed in LGPL (came with source code), but you could
   use the libraries in a product of your own, without revealing
   its secrets. any code change to the library source itself would
  have to be revealed.

Basically there are two versions of freedom.

Stallman's version makes sure the source code remains open to all
 and the evolution takes place before everyone's eyes. But it
 forces the user to make his own innovative changes to be
 freely available also. It is more free for the subsequent
 user of the software than the BSD license. GNU is the reason
 why the best of ideas have been able to contribute to linux

The BSD version claims to be more free than GNU, because it allows
  the user to wrap his changes into a product and not reveal the
  changes. Most companies prefer this kind of licenses from open source
  software, for obvious reasons. It is more free for the immediate
  user of the software than the GNU license.
 One argument in its favour is that if the work has been funded
 by someone (say a university), it should be licensed under BSD
 and not GNU, to allow its investors to use it to make money and
 recover their costs.

other licenses -
NPL, MPL (Netscape Public License, Mozilla Public License), Mach license
Mach is very much like BSD. NPL allows you to tweak and report
changes to Netscape, which it will use internally without paying you
anything back. MPL is similar.

finally, don't subsitute what i've said here for actually reading
the license terms when it comes to deciding.

- Ruchir

From: "cecwcbng" <bngcecwc@xxxxxxxxxx>
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Subject: Re: [LIG] Re: [linux-delhi] Which Linux to use?
Date: Wed, 7 Mar 2001 16:44:11 +0530
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----- Original Message -----
From: "Indraneel Majumdar" <lists@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <linux-india-general@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Wednesday, March 07, 2001 11:05 AM
Subject: Re: [LIG] Re: [linux-delhi] Which Linux to use?

> Not many attorneys or lawyers on the list, I'm afraid, we all have to do

I doubt in Linux user group any other professionals other than hard core
computer geeks can make out anything.

> our own thing, and then quarrel with our own points of view of the GPL and
> BSD. Welcome to the band ;-)
> \Indraneel
> On Wed, 7 Mar 2001, Mukund wrote:
> > A 2-3 line explanation in plain text would be great, as many lister
> > including me do not understand the high funda of these licenses.
> --
> http://www.indialine.org
> ----------------------------------------------
> The mailing list archives are available at
> http://lists.linux-india.org/cgi-bin/wilma/linux-india-general

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