IANAL, BSD, GPL, LGPL, ABCs

By Doug Schaefer

Slashdot pointed me to this article by Bruce Parens
aimed at clearing some of the air around using GPL and LGPL and
commercially licensed product on the same device. Of course, the
summary of the article is “Check with your lawyer” as it should be. But
I hope it alleviates fears over the FSF licenses that I know people
have.

I especially like the description of the motivation that
open source developers use to license their software. BSD is a “gift”
software license. The developer is giving it to you as a gift, do with
it as you wish, just give him some of the credit. LGPL is “non-gift”.
And I get it. They essentially don’t want you using their stuff for
free unless you help with it. And then you have GPL, which falls into
the category that they just don’t want you using their stuff for free,
unless you’re doing your stuff for free too. This categorization puts a
little bit of a human face on it, and I appreciate that.

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