[K12OSN] Scary article from Russia (w/o love)

Micha Silver micha at arava.co.il
Fri May 22 14:29:46 UTC 2009

Les Mikesell wrote:

> R. Scott Belford wrote:
>> Anytime Les Mikesell has an opinion, I read it.  Period.  End of
>> discussion.  I know of no other human that has reliably served the
>> K12LTSP community any more than Les.  I think that when half of us ask
>> questions to this list, we are secretly hoping that Les is reading.
>> So, on the subject of why gnu/linux is not the best thing in the
>> world, it's no surprise that the discussion progressed to
>> collaboration with software code.  I have found this to be brilliant,
>> enlightening, generally civil, and educational.  If you are not a
>> developer, then you can skip this thread.  If you are curious about
>> the dynamics behind software evolution, then this is compelling
>> reading.
>> I have never considered the GPL as restricting freedom.  This is a new
>> and educational perspective.  I understand that in the pursuit of
>> perfect code, some projects cannot borrow from others due to the
>> licensing restrictions.
> I've actually never used k12ltsp in the way it was intended other than 
> playing with a few old PCs as thin clients.  The thing that attracted 
> me to the distribution was the fact that it included things or scripts 
> to install things that the stock distros didn't even admit existed (a 
> packaged  Sun java, decent fonts, acrobat, flash, realplayer, etc.). 
> That is, it had the right pragmatic approach to getting work done with 
> the best tools available - and helping others do the same.  Ubuntu may 
> match this now, but remember this was years ago.
>> I'm a user, though, and not a developer.  I love and am romanticized
>> by the principles of the GPL and Stallman because I want my software
>> "free."  However, I want it to be great, too,  If I need to
>> intellectually grasp the dynamics behind software collaboration in
>> order to help make it better, then I am grateful for this discussion.
> On the philosophical side, just consider how you and just about 
> everyone else have benefited from the unrestricted availability of the 
> reference TCP/IP code - and how things might have turned out if it had 
> been encumbered with the GPL restrictions that make commercial 
> products problematic.  The same principle applies to all other 
> reusable code - there is no 'up' side to restricting distribution or 
> use - all that can come out of it is having to use something worse.
This thread has been fascinating and enlightening. Thanks, Les, for 
nudging us "a bit" off topic.
I've heard the claims of GPL being sticky (or even viral) . But it's 
quite a leap from that to saying the it has encouraged the continued 
hold of proprietary software on the market. Les's example of TCP/IP is, 
of course correct, but on the other hand, the unrestrictive BSD license 
has morphed into OSX, and this has contributed nothing to OSS.
The obvious reason that OSS developers continue to choose GPL (is it 70% 
of sourceforge today?) is to insure that their voluntary efforts won't 
be unfairly taken advantage of by some enterprising, proprietary 
company. On this point I found the following interesting blog:


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