GPL worldview WAS Re: Rchard Stallman vs Darl McBride

Michael Torrie torriem at
Wed Jul 21 07:29:53 MDT 2010

On 07/21/2010 05:18 AM, justin wrote:
> On Tuesday, July 20, 2010, Michael Torrie <torriem at> wrote:
>>  The GPL levels the playing field.  IBM's contributions can't be used
>> against them, as they could be with a BSD license.  Linux gets better
>> for everyone.
> I'm not sure I follow. How could IBM's contributions be used against
> them under a BSD license?

Simply put, anything IBM did with a BSD project (and where their code
was released under the BSD), could be used in a closed, proprietary way
in a product that competes with IBM.  Whereas with the GPL, IBM's
contributions cannot be closed.  If a company chooses to make a superior
product based on IBM's contributions under the GPL, IBM is free to
incorporate their changes as well (it's only fair after all).  Level
playing field.  IBM works with many open source licenses, but I believe
that the GPL is one of the reasons IBM chose (at one time anyway) to
invest so heavily in Linux.  I do not believe IBM would have invested in
the same way in BSD Unix.

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