1 Sep 2011 ryuslash   » (Journeyer)

First of all, thanks cdfrey for encouraging me and helping me along. It might seem silly, but seeing something like this so early on in a tryout (which this of course is for me) is very encouraging. And thank you for the certification, I will try to live up to it.

Before I really start writing about what I'm working on and learning, and so on, I thought I'd rant a little bit more, this time about free and open source software, I sometimes have an opinion and maybe it's time I start sharing it.

I've been having a kind-of crisis of faith.

I'm not the person who's used free software the longest. When I started using Linux I still didn't know about the difference between Free software and software at no cost. It started as an experiment unrelated to being free in either sense.

Since then, though, I have learned more about free software and about entities such as the FSF, LF and of course people such as Richard Stallman and Linus Torvalds. I have read parts of the GPL and have encountered some other licenses as well.

My problem comes from the idea of freedom. I can't decide whether copyleft is more about freedom or if a permissive license like BSD-style licenses are. Do I want people who use what I write to be completely free to do as they please, or for the things I write to be free and have a certain amount of protection to keep them free.

Then there's the GPLv2 vs GPLv3. From what I know I'd have to say that the GPLv3 is a very logical expansion/'improvement' upon the GPLv2, but it does seem somewhat more restricting in what it allows people to do with the software, in the name of keeping the software written free.

How can one know which branch of freedom is better? Is that even the right, or at least a valid, question?
I'm not trying to be inflamatory or anything, this really does fly through my head a lot.

For what it's worth, so far I have always chosen the GPL path. Even though in a certain way it limits the user of my software more than a permissive license would, I do believe that in the end it provides a great(er) guarantee of freedom for the (eventual) end-user.

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