[Rd] Discussion of the GPL on Groklaw

Marc Schwartz MSchwartz at MedAnalytics.com
Thu Jul 22 15:18:13 CEST 2004

On Thu, 2004-07-22 at 07:47, Douglas Bates wrote:
> I'm not looking to start a discussion of the GPL on R-devel; I'm just 
> giving a reference because the subject of the GPL, the license under 
> which R is issued, has been brought up on this list.
> If you want to follow some of the legal discussion of the Free Software 
> Foundation's General Public License (GPL), the web site groklaw.net is 
> required reading.  One reason is because Pamela Jones (PJ as she is 
> known there), the primary author, writes so well.  Even if I didn't 
> agree with her opinions I would enjoy her writing.
> Recently a lawyer wrote an article for LinuxInsider criticizing the GPL. 
>   PJ rebuts the article in 
> http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=2004072110004290
> One thing to realize about legal discussions of the GPL is that the 
> whole concept is so foreign to the typical corporate lawyer that they 
> frequently misconstrue it, as you will see in PJ's comments about the 
> article.  Also, some proprietary software companies have taken to 
> spreading FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) about the GPL and many 
> people take such material at face value.

If I may tack on to Doug's post, a somewhat related FYI.

For those interested in a multi-faceted dissertation on Open Source,
there is a relatively new (April 2004) book available from Harvard
University Press.

The book is:

The Success of Open Source
by Steven Weber
ISBN 0-674-01292-5

Weber is a Professor of Political Science at UC Berkeley and provides an
interesting insight into the history, technical, political, social,
organizational and business/legal perspectives of the Open Source

I recently picked it up at our local Barnes and Noble, though I have not
yet finished it due to distractions (otherwise known as work). I have so
far found it to be a fairly balanced presentation with respect to
evangelism and pragmatism and his perspectives on some of the
personalities well known in the community. It is also interesting to get
a sense of the background and history on the evolution of the various
licensing schemes (ie. GPL, BSD, etc.), addressing both the convergence
and divergence of philosophy over time.

I note that it is on back order at the moment from the publisher, but it
is available via Amazon.com at
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0674012925 and presumably
other outlets as well.


Marc Schwartz

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