The GPL licence. Richard Stallman

Richard explaining GPL. Worth a listen I think.

27:40 is important too.

A very intelligent man who has a better grip on what is actually going on than most have.


Stallman is definitely worth listening to. Personally I don’t believe Linux would be what it is today without the GPL.

Since my own personal projects are small and insignificant and probably only useful to me, I always slap the GPLv3 on them. That way I can put them on github and if someone else finds it useful, that’s great. If by some strange happening, a company took interest, they can either take it under the GPLv3, or they can negotiate a proprietary license with me. For me GPL as a default is the way to go.

AOG is under the MIT, but since the MIT is compatible with the GPL, the work I did on QtAOG is licensed under the GPLv3, even though it’s a close enough transliteration of much of the code that it’s still copyright Brian.

There are lots of strong opinions about licensing. Lots of different ideas of what freedom means and what freedom is the freedom to do, and who is free to do it.

When people complain about the GPL and how it takes away their freedom, I simply say, you have three options:

  1. abide by the terms of the GPL, even if that means opening up your source code
  2. negotiate a more favorable license with the copyright holders
  3. write your own code

Any talk of the GPL being viral and forcing companies to open up their source code is pure nonsense. If a company finds itself in violation of the GPL, that’s no different than any copyright violation. They need to pay the consequences (damages) and then fix the violation by one of the three options I mentioned.