GPL worldview WAS Re: Rchard Stallman vs Darl McBride

Richard Esplin richard-lists at
Wed Jul 21 08:38:26 MDT 2010

IBM did invest in Unix, but under a proprietary license, and called it AIX.

Lost of companies have invested in BSD Unix, but compared to Linux, few have contributed back.


On Wednesday, July 21, 2010 07:29:53 Michael Torrie <torriem at> wrote:
> 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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