The GPL has never made me feel particularly free. Only in a kind of newspeak can you say that constraining the kinds of agreements I can make with people who buy my software enhances my freedom .
I'm not saying I don't like and use GPL software, or that the GPL is unfair. Just don't tell me that handcuffs are extra freedom.
Only copyright law enables GPL to constrain my actions from beyond the grave. In a world without copyright, GPL would be toothless. I would be able to use any freely available software I could get my hands on, incorporate it into my own, and distribute only binaries.
Richard Stallman proposes reducing copyright protection to three years for software. And he admits "It would be necessary to prohibit the use of contracts to apply restrictions on copying that go beyond those of copyright." That prohibition would apply to FOSS too, of course. No copyright after three years; no contract allowing the author to constrain your actions after that.
That would mean that you could link to three year old GPL libraries and ship binaries!
Hugh Winkler holding forth on computing and the Web
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