Re: [Rd] Discussion of the GPL on Groklaw

From: Marc Schwartz <MSchwartz_at_medanalytics.com>
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 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
http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/WEBSUC.html

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 Amazon.com at
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0674012925 and presumably other outlets as well.

HTH, Marc Schwartz



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https://www.stat.math.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel Received on Thu Jul 22 23:22:44 2004

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