Free Software that is not GPL'd

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GameRunner
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Joined: 01/11/2014

Hi,

As someone who has come to learn to love free software, I want to start telling people about free software.

I was wondering about telling people about free software that is NOT under the GPL. There is other free software that is not under the GPL, such as this:

http://gabrielecirulli.github.io/2048/

This game is licensed under the MIT free software licence. However, is telling people about this a problem, since it is not directly under the GPL?

I see it this way: the best solution is to tell people about GPL free software, since there is a clear connection between GPL and free software. We know this because the GPL is the FSF's licence, so if someone knows about the GPL, they will find out about free software. Am I correct?

Meanwhile, directing them to non-GPL'd free software means that they have to dig around a bit to find the FSF.

It's not really an issue, just a longer way to find freedom. I want to know what you guys, the great free software advocates think.

alguien
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Joined: 03/27/2014

It's free as in permissive, which is better than proprietary, but not as good as the copyleft that is GPL.

In my opinion... It wouldn't be a problem to use this software, as long as it is not bundled with nonfree software (which can happen with permissive licenses).

I prefer copyleft licenses, but I don't stick to them absolutely.

GameRunner
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Joined: 01/11/2014

Right.

I don't think it's an issue for me to USE it, the issue is in starting a conversation about free software.

jxself
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Joined: 09/13/2010

There are many licenses that are free, not just the GPL: https://gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html.

Copyleft is a strategy. It is not a requirement for a program to be free, but strong copyleft licenses like the GPL do more to defend the freedom of computer users by requiring that the four freedoms get passed on to other people when they get a copy of the program. For this reason it's generally good policy to recommend and encourage people writing programs to use the GPL. But a person sharing a free program that's not GPLed could still elect to voluntarily pass on those freedoms and the recipient is still just as free. (If they didn't do that then the person would be receiving a proprietary program.) Hence, programs that aren't copyleft can be made proprietary but this is a matter of *defending* freedom, not if it is free.

But the whole issue of copyleft is a strategy for defending freedom - It is not a requirement for a program to be free in the first place. Hope that helps.

GameRunner
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Joined: 01/11/2014

I reasoned this:

If I start teaching people about free software by first showing them GPL'd software, they would ask what makes it 'free'. I would explain that the software is licensed under the GNU General Public License, which gives all users the four essential freedoms. They might research the GPL and find the FSF.

This would be the quickest route to them discovering free software as defined by the FSF. I was asking if when I started telling people, I showed them this game and said, 'it respects your freedom', and they asked how, I would have to explain free software in general. Then I would have to explain that this game is not the best example of free software, and that the license isn't perfect. I would have to then explain what the MIT license is, then compare it with the FSF's GPL. All this is a longer route to explaining free software.

So, I was basically asking if this route was 'route' was wrong, and that the quickest route (showing and explaining a GPL'd program) was the only correct one.

GameRunner
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Joined: 01/11/2014

*if this 'route' was wrong

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

Permissively licensed software is extremely common. The classic example is X, which is under the X11 License. It was adopted as the window system for GNU in the 1980s since it's was a perfectly good window system; it wasn't and still isn't copyleft, but that's not a good reason to reject it. X is still in use today, though it's being replaced by Wayland (which is also permissively licensed) in many systems now.

I wouldn't suggest using "GNU GPL" as a shorthand definition for "free/libre software". Partly because there are a lot of people who believe that definition to be literally true, or more precisely, believe that free/libre software is always copylefted. This is wrong.

alguien
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Joined: 03/27/2014

It depends on your interpretation of freedom.

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

To what interpretation of freedom is a monopoly-based restriction of attacks on freedom a prerequisite to freedom?

If free country A has an army for defense and free country B does not have an army for defense, that doesn't mean that country A is more free than country B. It just means that non-free country C can more easily take away the freedom of country B's citizens than country A's citizens, so the freedom of country A is more sustainable. You can't say that it's unethical for the government of country B to not have an army for defense; it's just foolish and careless of them. What's unethical is country C attacking country B.

quantumgravity
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Joined: 04/22/2013

Advocats of permissive licenses would argue that the presence of any army in those countries harms freedom;
so the metaphor can't prove them wrong.

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

Right, but that's not what I was talking about. I'm talking about the misconception that "free/libre software" means "copylefted software". No one thinks that a lack of copyleft is unethical.

alguien
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Joined: 03/27/2014

I'm not sure what you're saying, sorry.

I just think that freedom has to be defended with rules/boundaries, else it tends to be taken away. But forget generalities, our freedom is being taken away. So one could argue that permissive licenses are a bit undesirable to the extent that they can be exploited by proprietary efforts, because they have no defenses in place, and are useful to both sides -- to both copyright and copyleft. I think it's only a relief that they aren't copyrighted -- as opposed to seeing it as progress towards changing the system, which is I think what copyleft is.

I think it's like there's these thugs going around (which is true in a sense) bullying people, and one group of people chooses not to participate in the thuggery (but can be passive enablers of it), while another group of people works on actively resisting them (and sometimes gains the aid of the neutral party).

Just my opinion /shrug

davidnotcoulthard
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Joined: 02/28/2014

OpenOffice isn't GPL-ed yet has been in use on free OSes (and is still used by FSF-sponsored GnewSense due to the latter being based on Debian Squeeze).

Platypus333
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Joined: 12/10/2010

There are GPL options.

emacs-2048
https://github.com/sprang/emacs-2048

and

tk2048
https://pypi.python.org/pypi/tk2048/1.0.2b

They are not web frontends, but could be used as a base to create one.

Alexander Stephen Thomas Ross
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Joined: 09/17/2012

I advise to avoid the "telling" mind set. For a non-telling mind set
have a read: http://www.myinovationspace.com which I hope you will find
helpful in developing how you go about talking about FS.

On 05/04/14 05:04, name at domain wrote:
> As someone who has come to learn to love free software, I want to start
> telling people about free software.
>
> I was wondering about telling people about free software that is NOT
> under the GPL.

mindfulpessimist

I am a member!

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Joined: 04/04/2014

Perhaps it's because my own background is decidedly non-technical, but it seems to me that the easiest way to open a discussion about free software is to say to someone, "I use this. It's free. You should try it." Start with a discussion about licenses and folks will just nod off.

Then again, your 'audience' is probably different from mine.

Most people I know who have any kind of interest in computers (and that's not many of them) simply want something that works. They've bought a Windows-loaded computer, it's now "obsolete" and the only thing they know to do is to go out and buy another PC with Windows on it.

t3g
t3g
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Joined: 05/15/2011

The Mozilla Public License 2.0 is a a copyleft license that is pretty good: http://choosealicense.com/licenses/mozilla/

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

Note, that's weak copyleft, so it's comparable to the LGPL, not the GPL.