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Date:      Sat, 19 May 2001 09:28:59 +0930
From:      Greg Lehey <>
To:        Ted Mittelstaedt <>
Cc:        Don Wilde <>, Anders Nordby <>, freebsd-advocacy@FreeBSD.ORG,
Subject:   Re: [dn-core] Re: Perens' "Free Software Leaders Stand Together"
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <000001c0dfb7$949e85c0$>; from on Fri, May 18, 2001 at 09:28:33AM -0700
References:  <> <000001c0dfb7$949e85c0$>

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[Format recovered--see]

I wish you'd fix your MUA.

On Friday, 18 May 2001 at  9:28:33 -0700, Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:
> On  Friday, May 18, 2001 2:31 AM, Greg Lehey wrote:
>>> As well he should be.  Remember, Bruce is the person who explicitly
>>> recommended _against_ developers using the BSD license, when he
>>> originally copyrighted the term "Open Source".  It wasn't until the
>>> Regents of the University of California explictly stated that the
>>> UCB copyright didn't need to be displayed that Bruce couldn't find
>>> any more excuses to recommend against the BSD license, and changed
>>> the recommendations to be more neutral.
>> What's wrong in that?  I'm a little surprised how much the advertising
>> clause worried the GPL faction, but then I'm very surprised how much
>> the GPL worries the BSD faction.
> I frankly see little evidence that the GPL worries the BSD faction.  

Then you're closing your eyes.  We're continually seeing threads
bashing the GPL.  Look at the thread "Stallman stalls again", in which
you participated.  This thread also appears to be FUD against the GPL.

> Could you substantiate that statement?

I have nearly 350 saved mail messages on the subject.  I don't want to
spam the list with them, especially as I suspect that others won't
need proof, but if you want, I'll bounce them to you.

>>> and because FreeBSD uses the term "Free" in it's name thus causing
>>> problems for their little doublespeak game of attempting to equate
>>> GPL and Open Source)
>> I don't think they're that naive.
> They aren't - but the people they are trying to sway (end users,
> media, and a lot of developers) are.

In the (truncated) quotation above you were referring to the
signatories of the declaration.  What did you mean, then?

>>> Basically, what has happened is that Bruce and his friends (the
>>> signatories on the list of that article are a who's who of them)
>>> have literally made millions of dollars out of in effect convincing
>>> a bunch of developers to GPL their code, then those Open Source
>>> people have set themselves up in the only point in the GPL code
>>> distributon scheme (the nexus points) where it's possible to make a
>>> lot of money.
>> You're putting it as if they were a united front.  They are not.  The
>> three I know (rms, esr and Tim O'Reilly) all have very different
>> viewpoints on the issue.  rms and esr have both repeatedly stated:
>> a: The BSD license is good ("but the GPL is better").
>> b: (esr): "Free Software" is a term which just doesn't fly.
>>   (rms): "Open Source" is a betrayal of everything free software
>>   stands for.
> They are rapidly becoming more and more united as a) Microsoft
> becomes more active against the GPL specifically, rather than Open
> Source Software in general, and b) as the Linux distributors buy
> each other out.

This doesn't interest esr or rms.  And having been involved in a
near-buyout myself recently, I see no evidence of any unity.

>>> VA Linux, Red Hat, and all of those distributors, all of their
>>> business models are the same - at one end they suck in GPL code and
>>> at the other end spit out finished UNIX-like distributions, and make
>>> money doing it.
>> They're not making money doing it.  They're *trying* to make money
>> doing it.
> All of High Tech got caught in the US stock market crash that was
> IMHO triggered by the excesses of the dot-com's, and the dumb-assed
> investors that fed them.
> Yes, it's true a lot of them aren't making money now - but that was
> expected when they went IPO - why do you think that a company goes
> IPO anyway, they do it to get investment money because they aren't
> making a profit at the current time, and because their business plan
> dictates that they will eventually make money.
> Besides that, all of those people _personally_ made a lot of money
> by selling stock right after IPO.  How do you think that Eric
> Raymond survives anyway when he has no job (other than being GPL
> playboy at various GPL conferences and such)

I haven't investigated.  But he must get a lot of book royalties.

> If the stock market hadn't crashed then nobody would care that those
> companies aren't currently making money, because everyone would
> still understand that they are young firms that are building up
> market, and that Linux must reach critical mass before they can
> start making money.  Since the stock market did crash, all of the
> High-Tech companies that had this business model ( for
> example) are being held to the standard of they must be profitable,
> way before they were originally expected to be by their founders.

What does all this have to do with your original statement:

>>> at one end they suck in GPL code and at the other end spit out
>>> finished UNIX-like distributions, and make money doing it.

>>> For their business models to continue to work, they must continue to
>>> convince an ever-larger number of Open Source developers to write
>>> GPL code.
>> Why?
> Because of several reasons, first as you know there's a shortage of software
> developers and as a result software companies really listen closely to what
> their developers are telling them, and if the developers are into OSS then
> the companies may get into it as well.  Secondly, it puts more and more code
> projects into OSS and then there's more chance that an existing OSS project
> will match what a commercial software firm wants to do, thus they may be
> more induced to use it.  FInally, it helps create more interest in Linux
> among end users, thus they demand support for it, putting even more
> pressure on commercial software companies to use it.

Simplifying somewhat, "there's a shortage of developers, and open
source is the flavour of the day".  There's nothing in the paragraph
above which means it has to be GPL.  In fact, it doesn't mention GPL.

>>> So, it's kind of a "friend of my enemy is my enemy" What I see in
>>> the future, is I see Microsoft porting MS Office to MacOS X - which
>>> is a hell of a lot closer to BSD then it is to Linux.  I also see
>>> that as Microsoft continues to build the case against GPL and
>>> propgandize against it, that they are increasingly going to be
>>> holding up BSD as the "right" way to do Open Source.  No wonder that
>>> the Linux GPL people are drawing the line in the sand now between
>>> BSD and GPL.  They see the future and they know that ultimately, the
>>> GPL is just as "un-free" as a closed source license like
>>> Microsoft's.  Increasingly, their aims and goals are going to be
>>> different than ours.
>> Certainly if we take your viewpoint.  You've made a lot of claims
>> there, but I don't see much substantiation, and the viewpoints are
>> very different from what I've experienced first-hand.  I work with
>> some leading Linux people, and while there are many things I don't
>> like about Linux, I can't see anything like what you're claiming here.
> I judge the Linux crowd by the public statements they make and the
> public things that they do.  There's a history of GPL people
> publically putting down the BSD license, and then something like
> this "Free Software Leaders Stand Together" comes along and they
> make no effort to publically reach out to the BSD people.

There's a history of BSD people publically putting down the GPL
license, and then something like this "Free Software Leaders Stand
Together" comes along and they make no effort to publically reach out
to the BSD people.  When they attempt to make up for it, some BSD
people get up on their hind legs and doubt their motives.

> Greg, I don't doubt that you are privately getting a lot of positive
> strokes from various GPL people.  But, it doesen't make a damn bit
> of difference if they aren't translating this into actions in the
> marketing arena.

Can you explain what you mean by "translating into actions"?  The
statement above is confusing.

> What I see publically is a lot of posturing from GPL that puts GPL
> above everything else.

I think it's reasonable to put the things you believe in above
everything else.  I think FreeBSD is better than Linux.  Should I go
and put Linux above FreeBSD?

> I don't see the same posturing from BSD.

That must be your perspective, then, modulo your definition of
"posturing".  You want those 350 mail messages?  If that's not enough,
I can send you another 400 or so off the less rabid Brett Glass rants.

> The evidence 

I still haven't seen any.

> is that GPL people fear the idea of BSD, 

I don't believe this as a general statement.  Of course there are
always the Brett Glass equivalents, but we need to understand that
they're about as typical of the Linux^WGPL development community as
the people on slashdot are.

> but there's no evidence that the BSD people fear the idea of GPL.

I can see at least as much evidence that some BSD people fear the GPL,
possibly more.  I think it's the basis of this thread.

> Ultimately, all GPL and BSD are is written English words that
> express an idea.  They _aren't_ code.  What matters is how people
> that deal with those ideas react.  And, so far I've seen a lot more
> times that the BSD people take the moral high road when it comes to
> differing with GPL and the road that GPL takes.

Is "the moral high road" a euphemism for "looking down on you GPL

> Incidents like Bruce ignoring BSD in his response are just more and
> more nails in the coffin of GPL<->BSD friendship.  And, it's not the
> BSD people that are doing the nailing.

I see a lot of nails in this thread.  Quite honestly, after reading
what you've written, I can't blame Bruce.  Remember his statement:

  I wonder what the BSD reaction in general would have been?  Although
  I assume they use gcc, some of them have been rather GPL-hostile.
  Hopefully they'd be able to stand together with everyone else.

I think this thread has vindicated his standpoint.

> While I can deal with the GPL as an ideal in and of itself, I think
> the BSD folks are getting irritated with the actions of the folks
> around it.

I think this goes both ways.  Far too many people doubt the motives of
the "other side".

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