GPL version 4
Richard M Stallman
rms at gnu.org
Sun Jul 20 04:34:43 UTC 2008
> Would you grant me the freedom to give away your commercial
> product for free
> or to incorporate it in my commercial product? Probably not. You'd instead
> grant me less freedom. The GPL protects me from this.
Except it doesn't. With or without the GPL, if he still makes his commercial
product, you will still be unable to give it away or incorporate it in your
commercial product. If he doesn't make it, that's just less choice for
When you say "commercial", I suppose you really mean a proprietary
program, since the GNU GPL permits commercial use. What it does not
permit is putting the code into proprietary programs. See
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/words-to-avoid.html for explanation.
Freedom means having control of your own life. Using a proprietary
program means giving the developer power over you. "More choice" in
surrendering your freedom is not more freedom, and it does not make a
It will just result in him producing a poorer, more expensive, less
compatible product -- or none at all.
Ideally, it will be none at all. A proprietary program is a negative
contribution to society. One less proprietary program means one less
job of replacement on our list, and it could leave the field open for
a free program to succeed. Just think how much better off we would be
if Microsoft Windows had never been developed.
But suppose he does it anyway, without using our code. That could be
just the handicap that enables a competing free program to be superior
in convenience, just as it always is in ethics.
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