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The information on Groklaw is not intended to constitute legal advice. While Mark is a lawyer and he has asked other lawyers and law students to contribute articles, all of these articles are offered to help educate, not to provide specific legal advice. They are not your lawyers.

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GPL doesn't require any change at all either | 115 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
GPL doesn't require any change at all either
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, March 04 2013 @ 11:43 AM EST
That's not really fair. For any large company that wants to stay out of a SCO
style law suite, you have to do a bit of legal work for any third party code.
The more obligations that 3rd party code come with, the more work that has to be
done by either legal or the programmer on legal's behalf. (Probably work for
both and meetings to make sure everyone understand everything.)

Furthermore, if the consequences for non-compliance with a license (even
accidentally) is severe, then even more work is required to make sure you get
everything perfect. At this point alternatives will probably be sought as a
part if risk mitigation.

In the case of GPL v. BSD licenses, BSD has fewer obligations. Basically, you
just can't remove the copyright notice. The odds are, if you get it wrong in
proprietary software, no one will notice. If they do notice, all then tends to
happen is you fix it and endure a little name calling.

GPL has the requirement that you have to distribute the source code for the
(L)GPL portions of code. Furthermore, if you integrate the code incorrectly in
a product, you may find yourself required and expected to release source code
that was intended to be proprietary. That can have a huge impact on business
plans. With most third party code you can put in place policy that only certain
people have access to the source code and you are safe. With GPL, there is the
issue of what code calls what code which is much more subtle. A mistake can be
the result of a single developer who didn't understand the implications what he
was doing. To top it off, you still have to fix the mistake and endure the same
name calling you'd have from making a mistake in the handling of BSD.

Personally as a programmer and user I prefer GPL over the alternatives and I
don't want to come across as saying I don't like it. But the reality is that
it's primary feature does make it more work for diligent developers. It's not
fair to not acknowledge that or to try to belittle it.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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