Distributed Version Control for ports(7)

Roger Marquis marquis at roble.com
Fri Sep 24 04:33:51 UTC 2010

Konstantin Tokarev wrote:
>> BSD license has a particular advantage in embedded/black box systems, so
>> not polluting base with more viral licensing is pretty important to
>> project as whole I think.
> Do embedded systems really need to use ports tree? I guess no, or only during
> initial setup by manufacturer

Depends on how you define embedded.  I will say that appliances and
virtual appliances do use the ports tree and do depend on BSD licensing
to protect them from the GPL-related (FSF) lawsuits.  Removing GPL from
base is critical to keeping FreeBSD a safe and viable platform for these
and other distributions.

That said it seems to me that the BSD license is often a disincentive to
developers.  The reason is not so much that derivative works do not have
to keep the BSD licensing but that these derivative works can be "taken"
or forked, in part or wholesale, for copyleft software.  The resulting
software can then become the vehicle for an FSF lawsuit.  This has been a
disincentive for potential individual and corporate contributors for
several years now.  Question is, would the BSD community benefit from a
new/additional (3-clause) license that mirrors the existing license
except to restrict derivative works from adopting a copyleft license?

This is not a rhetorical question as I know several places where code has
not been open sourced because the developers and/or owners did not want
it to be used by a competing but lower quality and/or non cross-platform
GPL project.

Roger Marquis

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