Is BSD The New GPL?

It seemed people who support the BSD license assumed that I was saying the BSD license was bad because I said I use the GPL these days. I never said BSD was bad, I just said I use the GPL now when I release my software. The BSD license is just fine, if that’s what you want to use.

But as the comments continued on about Lamson using projects like Django which uses a BSD license, I noticed a very weird double standard. The general complaint was the following:

@jacobian @zedshaw
Django uses the BSD, so Lamson can ship an example of Django
integration. Lamson’s GPL means Django couldn’t ship w/that same code.

@jessenoller
@zedshaw The problem with you using the BSD code with GPL’ed code is
that the BSD’ers can’t reciprocate. A company using the code can.

Wait a minute, is this some kind of trick? I thought BSD was all about “true freedom” to use their code? When did they start getting pissy about people not returning the favor? I thought that whole “viral” thing was why they hated the GPL? I guess I’m not in Lawrence, Kansas anymore.

What I’m seeing is the following double standard among BSD license users:

  1. If you are a commercial company like Apple or Google then BSD
    licensors love you and want you to have “true freedom”.
  2. If you are a GPL project, they pressure you into releasing your code
    BSD licensed and get offended because you use their code.

You cannot have it both ways people. Either your code is “truly free” for everyone to use, or it’s not and you need to change the license. If you BSD license it, and a GPL project uses it, well, I’m sorry to say, but you chose that license so everyone could use your code how they want…

…whether or not you get to use their code in return.

And remember, you say the complaint is you can’t use my code, but you also can’t use Apple’s code, or even see it, and they’ll sue you if you try to even look at it, or talk about it. At least Lamson is a server you can use all you want and probably never have to release.

We’re All OSS Friends Here

There’s a deeper problem here than just GPL vs. BSD. First off, I don’t believe in idiotic dichotomies like this. I like BSD projects, and I release some stuff BSD too. I actually plan on releasing a few separate libraries from Lamson (like argument parsing) as BSD code. Copy-paste until your fingers get sore.

The real problem here is that a bunch of people who give software away get mad at other people who give software away because of some retarded difference in their interpretation of “free”.

For fuck’s sake, we’re both on the same damn side! Petty squabbling over bullshit like this, and even worse doing it in such a contradictory way, is stupid. This kind of useless bickering doesn’t help promote excellent software and “freedom” to express yourself with code.

More importantly though, if you pick a license because of your particular beliefs and attitudes, stick to them. Don’t hold me to some weird “social pressure viral clause” because I choose a different license.

Because, I am releasing my code for you to use, unlike most of those corporations you seem to love.