Why not GNU cmp?

Chad Perrin perrin at apotheon.com
Thu Sep 25 19:56:00 UTC 2008

On Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 08:41:23AM -0400, Bob McConnell wrote:
> On Behalf Of Chad Perrin
> >On Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 08:34:50AM +0100, Kris Kennaway wrote:
> >> Unga wrote:
> >> 
> >> >I was wondering why FreeBSD wrote their own version of cmp. If it
> just the 
> >> >license, then that's fine. I prefer the BSD versions of diff, etc.
> when 
> >> >available. 
> >> 
> >> You are asking the wrong questions: why did GNU write their own
> version 
> >> of cmp?  FreeBSD's dates to 1987.
> > 
> > Y'know -- that's a really good question.
> The answer is simple. The BSD license does not guarantee freedom as
> defined by RMS.
>  * The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
>  * The freedom to study how the program works and adapt it to
>    your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition.
>  * The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor
>    (freedom 2).
>  * The freedom to improve the program and release your improvements
>    to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3).
>    Access to the source code is a precondition.
> For example, Microsoft uses many of the TCP applications and drivers
> from BSD, but will not allow access to their source code as required by
> freedoms 1 and 3.

As I pointed out to Ross Cameron, you don't have to rewrite BSD licensed
code to release it under the terms of the GPL -- and, in fact, you kinda
made the same point yourself without apparently intending to.  If you
include it as part of a larger package that's GPLed, there's no rewriting

Ironically, the intent to enforce sharing of code has in this case
prevented sharing code with another open source project such as FreeBSD.

Chad Perrin [ content licensed PDL: http://pdl.apotheon.org ]
Bill McKibben: "The laws of Congress and the laws of physics have grown
increasingly divergent, and the laws of physics are not likely to
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