Do No Evil/Good

I think Bosworth made a mistake to join into argument with the GPL zealots about Google’s ?contributions? to open source. Dare’s narrative gives the best summary.

I discussed exactly this issue with Eric Raymond a few years ago, when I postulated that the GPL would serve as an incentive for software companies to leech OSS whilehiding their own innovations behind GPL-proof barriers like server-hosted applications and hardware appliances. I think this incentive (protect IP while changing the distribution mechanism) is far more powerful than the ?viral? incentive effect that Stallman hoped for. Google uses both of these GPL-evasion techniques (although, admittedly, for more reasons than GPL evasion).

I personally commend Google for doing this to protect their IP, and I see nothing wrong with them taking so much and giving so little back. Bosworth’s request was not out of line. The Stallmanist puratins will never be satisfied, ever, so it’s a waste of time even engaging. And, as I recall, Raymond was not all that concerned by Google-style dodges of GPL.

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