Sun's Criticism of GPL

Guest Author

I've read recently several articles how Sun criticizes GPL, like this one:


I'm not very happy to see comments like:

The GPL purports to have freedom at its core, but it imposes on its users "a rather predatory obligation to disgorge all their IP back to the wealthiest nation in the world".

Sigh. I'm tired of reading in the news how Sun fights Linux, GPL or even opensource. The comment about predatory obligation may be right and I know a lot of what journalists write are just misinterpretations, but that doesn't matter. Developers reading such articles believe them and at the end they consider Sun becoming "evil". No matter if we are great supporters of opensource and #1 donator of code.

My message is: I think the image of Sun would be just better if we would stop criticizing so badly things developers love. Let's instead shout out we have a better option to their operating system, license, IDE, etc. And name reasons why it is better while not criticizing their beloved toys. Why bash GPL? Why don't we say just we have CDDL which is better because there's no viral aspect, it's better for companies because you can mix proprietary and open source code and so forth. Take a look at it and choose better option for you. Live and let live.

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Comments ( 9 )
  • guest Thursday, April 7, 2005
    Apparently, it is hard. For example, you probably just pissed off a whole bunch of developers by using the term "viral" when talking about the GPL. Although it may be a good description of the GPL's effects, it is a term first coined by Microsoft and it annoyed OS developers to no end when they heard it.
  • Roman Strobl Thursday, April 7, 2005
    Hmm, you're right. Viral is used with connection to GPL so commonly that it doesn't sound harmful to me anymore, I read it everywhere. Let's just hope Jonathan and the guys will be more careful with this kind of criticism, the press seems to love it.
  • guest Thursday, April 7, 2005
    While I agree that its always good to try to put thinsg positively, I also agree with Jonnathan.
    The idea that GPL is in any way "free" is a minsomer. It costs you your IP. That may be an equitable trade, but thats not "free", rather it is bartar which is the foundation of ALL economic transactions.
    Whats ironic in addition is that GPL \*depends\* on copyright IP law for enforcement. Something a great many people who subscrive to the "open source movement" religion don't seem to grasp.
    There is such a thing as "freeware" but GPLd stuff isnt it.
  • Anon Thursday, April 7, 2005
    "There is such a thing as "freeware" but GPLd stuff isnt it."

    Ahh, but you forget that politically it is trivial to re-define "freeware" to mean GPL. That is exactly what many people have done at Slashdot and OSNews. Rational thought no longer matters, as the GPL-CDDL debate has entered the domain of gay marriage and Terry Schiavo. This sucks, I know, but there is too much entrenched GPL-leaning mindshare to get around it.

  • Roman Strobl Thursday, April 7, 2005
    I think that Jonathan is basicly right, what I don't like is the way he's telling it. It is that subtle "we know it better, you're doing it wrong" tone deep inside of that message. And I think that this is what many people are very sensitive to.

    Yes, there is a lot of religion about GPL, it goes far beyond rational thinking. That's also a reason why we should be careful what we are saying and the way we are saying it to avoid jihad (apparently I'm also not good at it with my "viral" word).
  • guest Thursday, April 7, 2005

    I can redefine white to black and up to down, but it doesnt make it right

    I wrote a whole blog on this very topic already, see http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/gameguy

    Search down abttu half-way for "The rap of the english language"

  • guest Thursday, April 7, 2005

    I hate this comment system that has no edit capability. That was supposed to be "The rape of the english language" above.

  • Roman Strobl Thursday, April 7, 2005
    I hate that, too. You can submit an RFE as I did with my other issue:

  • anonymous Thursday, April 7, 2005
    Schwartz has a point, though - the GPL basically benefits Red Hat and IBM more than anyone else. Certainly not the developing world (speaking as someone working in it).
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