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GPL has no restrictions at all on commercial use and in commercial use places no obligations on you at all.

If you distribute GPL code you then become subject to its restrictions and must provide the code.




However many large companies have a no GPL policy. I did a little bit of work for a large multinational engineering company most of you have heard of and was told in no uncertain terms that I was not allowed to use any GPLed code anywhere in anything I delivered. They also had a large document they made me read which listed dozens of licenses and exacting details over how I was and wasn't allowed to use software under those licenses.


But could you use GPL software to produce what you delivered (rather than as part of it)? If not were Linux, Emacs and use of Android phones for any work banned?

If they were banned because of the GPL the company was doing its own stupid rules completely unrelated to the restrictions imposed by the GPL. If they weren't then it shows the difference between the GPL and the non-commercial use term of this particular MS license.


Sure, I'm aware of this. My point was that GPL is almost as poisonous as a non commercial use restriction in terms of distributing software. GPL works great on the server where this isn't a concern, but doesn't work for almost any other commercial use case. Very arbitrary but at least very clear.


You seem to have a VERY narrow definition of commercial use which involves selling software or being a software service provider. There are a vast majority of companies manufacturing/distributing/retailing and providing services for whom the GPL imposes no restriction at all. The MS release seems to prevent all commercial use not just commercial redistribution/binary release making it a FAR broader restriction than the GPL.

For MS and a surprisingly small (in terms of total global economy) number of other businesses selling closed source software (or software dependent on other non-Free software components) the GPL imposes very real restrictions.

I would argue that they are in no way arbitrary but have a clear purpose and objective to further increase the amount of Free software in the world. You may or may not support or want to assist this objective but it certainly doesn't feel arbitrary to me (I've taken the 'capricious; unreasonable; unsupported' definition of arbitrary from Dictionary.com as my interpretation of your meaning).

Edit/reply:

Can't reply to you for some reason. No citation but you have missed my point. I wasn't comparing Open Source Industry to closed source software industry but really the software industry to ALL Other industries (and individuals) in the world. Basically software consumers rather than producers (of which closed source companies like MS form a large part).


Citation needed on how the open source software industry is so much larger (money wise) than the closed source software industry. I'm sure its much more of a mix, plus closed source software is more often sold, meaning more money is involved in say oracle DB vs. MySQL. Also, most of the OSS industry prefers apache/BSD style licenses that aren't viral.

If RMS was true to his principles, he would make GPL more viral to cover every deployment and co-deployment. But they leave this huge server hole instead. That is what I mean by arbitrary. Why a hole there and not elsewhere?


I don't say anything of the sort. Please read again. I am saying that total global commerce and use of computers is greater than the software industry (not the world's greatest insight I know).

Don't want to answer for RMS. I can't think of less arbitrary way of achieving their aims.


RMS didn't foresee the server hole. That's why GNU came out with the Affero GPL in 2007: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/agpl-3.0.html




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