Does The GPL Make Economic Sense?

gplFor most Linux enthusiasts, questioning the GPL is the furthest thing from their minds. Even more so, questioning the overall economic value of it is even more, something that is just not often considered. Yet in this article linked here, we see a non-biased, well thought out argument for why using the GPL might not be the more effective way to produce software.

What does licensing have to do with software? Well, everything actually. Shareware has helped to make Windows the OS it is today with its massive software collections out there. With the GPL however, some have charged (speaking from my own experience with others) that the license has actually held it back where something like a BSD license, might be more “market friendly”. Is this a fact? Not really, more speculation I think personally. But I am sure BSD users will argue that Apple’s own BSD/Darwin core is a strong argument for a BSD styled license instead. Whatever the case, I believe it is about what each person is looking for in the development cycle, because clearly the GPL does fine with the end goal of developing great software.

As for the idea discussed in the article that the GPL creates fear, I find that to be completely untrue. Confusion, perhaps, as people grapple to understand how the GPL license works. But fear, not so much. No, I am just fine with the GPL as it is not forced upon me. And I in turn, am free to follow the license of the GPL which might not be a liberal as the BSD license, but is a heck of lot more liberal that the OS X TOS.

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