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Open Source Debate: Copyleft vs. Permissive Licenses

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Most discussions of free software licenses bore listeners. In fact, licenses are usually of such little interest that 85% of the projects on Github fail to have one.

However, one aspect of licensing never fails to stir partisan responses: the debate over the relative advantages of copyleft licenses such as the GNU General Public License (GPL), and permissive licenses such as the MIT or the Apache 2 licenses.

You only have to follow the links to Occupy GPL! that are making the rounds to see the emotions that this unending debate can still stir. Calling for an end to “GPL purism,” and dismissing the GPL as “not a free license,” the site calls on readers to use permissive licenses instead, describing them as “truly OSS [Open Source Software] licenses and urging readers to “Join the Fight!”

Occupy GPL! itself is unlikely to have a future. Anonymous calls to actions rarely succeed; people prefer to know who is giving the call to arms before they muster at the barricades. Nor is the site’s outdated name and inconsistent diction, nor the high number of exclamation and question marks likely to inspire many readers. Still, the fact that the site exists at all, and the counter-responses in comments on Google+ show that the old debate is still very much alive.

SOURCE: datamation.com