Subject Re: GPL
Author dtrudgett
Paul Schmidt wrote:

> It depends on the software,

Yes. And the purposes of the author. E.g., not everyone writes
software in order to make money from it.

> for software that is ubiquitous, then a
> licence like the GPL can make a lot of sense, for other things, it
> makes less sense, and for other things no sense. For example for
> a database engine it makes sense,

I don't know if it's as simple as that. Oracle, for instance, would
have a bone or two to pick with it! :-)

> for the libraries that client that
> engine, it makes less sense, because companies that would
> consider using that engine, will pick another one, because of
> licencing issues, which is one of the reasons why I don't like
> MySQL, it's too much bother to figure out the licencing.

Precisely. Although I know I could, in theory, use MySQL for a
commercial application without paying them anything, it is also plain
that that is not their wish, so I would refrain from doing so.

This is an advantage that Firebird has over MySQL. The licensing is
not muddied.

> Not really, it's not the idea of theft, it's the idea of keeping your
> options open why do you think Apple picked FreeBSD for basing
> OS-X on, rather then Linux? Most likely because the BSL that

FreeBSD is better? Also the fact that Apple is heavily into
proprietary systems, as every turn of their convoluted history has
clearly shown. It is virtually certain that Apple wants to turn BSD
into their own proprietary system in order to lock in their users.
This is just the way Apple has always done business. They wouldn't be
able to do that with Linux because of the GPL. Hence, they did not
choose Linux.

That is the strength of the GPL. It doesn't allow a middle person to
step in and replace a free system with an unfree one through sheer
marketing muscle, for instance.

> FreeBSD uses isn't as restrictive. Some "free" projects have fully
> shot themselves in the foot, when a great piece of software was
> abandoned because it would cost too much to fix the problems
> with it, because the fixing could not be done commercially.

Licensing software under the GPL is not something you do without
thought. If you aren't committed to the future freedom of the
software, then the GPL is not the choice. For the person who is
committed to freedom of choice in software, a program cannot be fixed
if it can't remain free in the process. This person would not view
being unable to fix a program "commercially" as being "shot in the

> > They are, of course, free to charge whatever they like for their
> > product. They can also license it under any terms they wish. Their
> > actual problem is that they are confused about licensing.
> And that hurts their market, if the vendor is confused about
> licensing, then given the choice between a straight forward licence
> and a confusing one, which one would you rather choose?

The straight-forward one, probably. As always, it would tend to depend
on the exact circumstances.

> > As a matter of interest, why do you want people to use IB or FB? I'm
> > not being clever, it's a serious, straight-forward question.
> Several reasons, one is that the more people use IB and FB, then
> the more likely the people who work so hard putting it together, will
> keep doing so.

You bring up an Achilles Heel of Firebird: doubt about its continued
future. I can see people choosing PostgresQL over Firebird for that
very reason. I've thought about it myself.

It's not as if any average programmer off the street could pick up the
Firebird source and run with it if the current champions slip off the
edge of the world. It's possible, playing devil's advocate, that
Firebird could meet an untimely end if only a relatively few number of
people lose interest in it for whatever reason.

Against that, there is that fact that Firebird is a great product with
great potential, with clear strengths that could see it being used in
many cases where MySQL, PostgreSQL, MSSQL and Oracle are currently
being used. This could well mean that Firebird has a chance to gain
some serious momentum.

David Trudgett