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Considering the Future of Copyleft: How Will The Next Generation Perceive GPL?

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Published on Jan 16, 2015

Bradley Kuhn
http://lca2015.linux.org.au/schedule/...
Copyleft (https://copyleft.org) licenses, particularly the GPL(http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html) and LGPL(https://www.gnu.org/licenses/lgpl.html), are widely used throughout the Free Software community. However, recent for-profit corporate interest in Free Software development has led to a renewed preference toward non-copyleft licensing. Meanwhile, many for-profit entities that do use copyleft for their own software now do so in a manner that most copyleft aficionados find, at best, distasteful and at worst, abusive.

A long-standing truce once existed in our community between fans of non-copyleft licensing and copyleft, but as the community has grown, that truce has mostly disintegrated. While no one in the copyleft communities disputes that non-copylefted Free Software is an important part of our community, copyleft faces new challenges that make past debates about the appropriateness of copyleft seem minor by comparison.

This talk discusses all aspects of the complicated situation that copyleft now faces, including younger developers apparent preference for non-copyleft licensing (as expressed, in part, in the so-called "post-open source" debates - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post_Ope...), the widespread and common failures in GPL compliance, and how licensing choices are today - unlike in the past - rarely in the hands of individual developers, but instead their corporate employers.

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