Free BSD Licensing

Richard Tobin richard at
Wed Mar 24 10:48:43 UTC 2010

> As the FreeBSD license is less restrictive than the GPL, it's pretty
> much safe to say that wherever you are permitted install GPL'd software,
> you could substitute FreeBSD licensed software without legal penalty.
> (Note: *install* -- redistribution is a different matter)

You do not have to agree to the GPL to use GPL'd software: it
explicitly says that it only covers "copying, distribution and
modification" and not "running the program".

The FreeBSD licence on the other hand only allows you to use the
software if you agree to the conditions - which only affect
redistribution, so if you do not redistribute it, the licence
terms do not affect you.

I suppose a theoretical difference is that if you redistribute FreeBSD
in violation of the conditions you no longer have the right to use it,
which is not true for the GPL.

-- Richard

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
Scotland, with registration number SC005336.

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