Re: [Rd] Discussion of the GPL on Groklaw

From: Marc Schwartz <>
Date: Thu 22 Jul 2004 - 23:18:13 EST

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 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
> 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 community.

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 at and presumably other outlets as well.

HTH, Marc Schwartz mailing list Received on Thu Jul 22 23:22:44 2004

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