Posted by: Anonymous
on February 04, 2008 07:36 PM
@TK: I believe you've hit the nail on the head. It is precisely a matter of degree. The GPLv2 imposes control on the code as well - that control is expressed as the forced return of changes in redistributed free code. This does serve to "enforce" as it were the freedom of the code, and as such isn't an onerous burden.
Where I personally fall away from the free software faith is when the GPLv3 and it's supporters start to dictate the terms of what is an "acceptable use" of their supposedly "free" code. The sustainable freedom vs. absolute freedom argument is a red herring. More meaningless equivocation to promote an agenda that - good intentions aside - is in the long run potentially as harmful as any proprietary software tactic used by Microsoft. The controversial changes in the GPLv3 only serve to enforce the "acceptable use" (as seen by it's hypocritical pushers) of the code. These changes do NOTHING to enforce or protect the "freedom" of the code itself, just dictate how it can be used by (and for) it's users. I worry that in their zealotry, RMS and friends have become the very thing they claim to oppose - another unjust source of control over software. Fortunately, the GPLv2 is still a viable option for those who value code that is actually free, and refuse to crown RMS (Gates, or Jobs, or Torvalds, or anyone else) as the final arbiter of right and wrong on the subject of acceptable software use.