Two kinds of freedom: GPL and BSD

It's funny how freedom can be such a complex and interpretable concept. Proof of this are the software licenses, there are dozens of them, and if we go to the field of Free Software we find two that interpret freedom from totally opposite points of view.

BSD y LPG, both at some point restrict some freedoms, let's see.

gnu-gpl-logothumbnail The license GPL, General Public License allows users to freely use the program code as long as they respect the original authorship and also release the code with the same license.

This means that if you create an X program and another wants to use it, you must publish the result of your work under the same conditions as the original license, if you want to create proprietary software you cannot and if you want to create free software but with another license either. can.

Ultimately, what the developer achieves is to condition the use of his work to the same terms in which he began the development of his software, with additions included, it will always be free and it will always be GPL, although this may cause a problem.

bsd-big On the other hand, BSD license. It is a license that for its detractors is practically a libertine software license, rather than free. If you create the same X program and someone else wants to use it, for example, Microsoft who liked how your code works, will be able to take it freely, only respecting your authorship but without releasing the changes they have made.

What the developer achieves is that his code serves any purpose and, open source or not, the next developer can freely choose what to do with his own work.

We are facing two concepts of freedom:

The one with GPL: Freedom to share.
The BSD: Freedom to distribute.

This is like an abyss and a summit put in comparison, it will be you who say which is the abyss and which is the summit.

Is the GPL good even if it restricts the developer's freedom to distribute?
Is BSD good even if it jeopardizes the development of more free software?
Do you keep any? Justify your answer.

The content of the article adheres to our principles of editorial ethics. To report an error click here.

25 comments, leave yours

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *



  1. Responsible for the data: AB Internet Networks 2008 SL
  2. Purpose of the data: Control SPAM, comment management.
  3. Legitimation: Your consent
  4. Communication of the data: The data will not be communicated to third parties except by legal obligation.
  5. Data storage: Database hosted by Occentus Networks (EU)
  6. Rights: At any time you can limit, recover and delete your information.

  1.   McLarenX said

    I defend more GPL mainly because of the good example you have set. I do not want a company that makes hundreds of thousands of dollars per second to take advantage of my free and non-profit contribution to profit themselves. If I wanted my code to be profitable I would give it a proprietary license.

    When a developer creates free code, they do so to benefit the community, not the big companies that want to destroy free software.

    I said.

  2.   isengrin said

    A delicate subject ...
    And a great dilemma. The GPL seems too strict to me, but I don't like that people use my work either ... well, there are more licenses, it's a matter of reading all of them in detail (I'm lazy, I know).

  3.   Raphael Hernamperez said

    I am of the opinion that when something is cataloged, named, associated, etc ... it already loses its freedom.

    All forms of free software are valid, and we are all free to choose what we like and what we are interested in at any given moment. We are free to decide: that is the real thing.

  4.   Druken Master said

    Hello !!! ... I think the GPL is fine, because that is the idea of ​​Free Software, that we all share in mutual good, but with BSD that is lost, because you have the option to close its development, having taken advantage of the work of many others. on the other hand, with the GPL it is ensured that collaboration will always exist.


  5.   Nacho said

    For me there is not much doubt, I see the bsd as a cancer for the SL You make a program, another takes it and turns it into proprietary (CEDEGA with wine, without going too far ...) and with closed code, it already does what pass through the eggs.

    I do not think.
    Unfortunately, the SL still needs defenses from corporations and other vultures. Until that is the case, the GPL will be lacking.


  6.   kernel_panic said

    I do not agree with the statement of sources

    "Is the GPL good even if it restricts the developer's freedom to distribute?"

    The developer has all the freedom to distribute the code received, and the only restriction is that when distributing it, he must do so under the same conditions as received.

    The GPL is a very fair license, if someone has already done the work and wants to donate it to the world, they do it through the GPL, so that anyone can benefit from their donation. It would be unfair for an individual or group of people to seize that COMMON heritage of humanity (yes, that's right, however bombastic and exaggerated it may sound) and use it for their own benefit or simply to limit the rights of the rest of the people.

    In the same way with developments based on GPL code, if I have already done part of the work for you, and I am giving it to you, it is not fair that simply by changing the color of the window you already think that the code is yours and you can close or change it license ... even if you did 90% of the new work and only used mine as a plug-in, without that tiny, tiny, and "insignificant" plug-in, your code would not be complete and it is only fair that I deserve the credit. of my work as well as it is fair that other people can benefit from a code of my authorship that I give away, as well as the works that derive from that code.

    For those who do not like the GPL license, it is not mandatory to use it, but if they want to save the trouble of development, the least they can do is respect the rights of previous developers as well as users. That is the only price to pay, and well I think it may be worth it.

  7.   kernel_panic said

    Sorry for the double posting, but I see that I use a wrong term, and it is only fair that I correct it: p

    The original developers do not "give away" their code, they authorize its use and distribution, as well as the right to modify it, but at the end of the day, that is still YOUR code.

  8.   nitsuga said

    I don't like any of them. The license that I would use would be one that forces the developer to release the combinations he made to my program, not TOOODO his code. It is frustrating to see something in a program that you would like to have in yours, but you cannot see its code. In the same way, it is frustrating to see the code of something that you would like to have in your program, but cannot use..

    [spam] I wrote an article about this on my blog: [/ spam]

  9.   Andrew said

    Both are necessary. And others that are developed in the future will also be important. A single formula cannot cover all the needs of creativity (both social and commercial).
    The first freedom is in being able to choose between several available licenses and not being obliged to only one.

  10.   G said

    My opinion has already been given by McLarenX, and something that I wanted to highlight has already been done very well by kernel_panic.

    I like to stop by this blog from time to time. Greetings!

  11.   vincegeratorix said

    what happens is that, as Socrates says, man is good by nature ... XD
    what I'm saying is that capitalism was invented to create equality, and reduce social differences, discrimination etc ...
    in the same way, licenses were invented for a good purpose ... but over time they become corrupted, everything is currently corrupting ...

    I personally believe more in the GPL (the reasons, the same ones that kernel_panic wrote)

    what nitsuga says is something that is present in many other people, but I think it would only be solved if we were all a community, something that the gpl and stallman promote (community is not anarchy, the debian project is a community)

  12.   seth said

    @nitsuga: and that doesn't exist?

  13.   f sources said

    Two things:

    First: @Nitsuga I didn't understand you.
    Second: What does it cost you to create a license that allows you to release the code as free software but without necessarily having to use the same license?

  14.   Absent said

    Microsoft improved Windows thanks to the BSD license, so I prefer the GPL.

  15.   Absent said

    Not the hell would I want an anti-free software company to take advantage of my work.

  16.   jojo said

    As long as there are anti-free software companies, the ideal is the GPL, although the ideal would be a BSD-type license that has as a special clause the obligation of the user of the code to release the improvements that it makes, without having to do it with everything else that do, something like what Nitsuga said, and without the requirement of the GPL to release everything under that same license (which seems to me the biggest flaw of said license, as well as one of its main virtues)

  17.   rheoba said

    I did not know the difference between the two licenses, but with the clear example that you have given, I understood them perfectly; And I think like many, I think the GPL is better, because it forces the new programmer to release their code under the same terms as yours, this seems excellent to me, I would not want someone to get rich for something that I did for free and leave free for all.

    P.S. I'm back from the school massacre !! : D

  18.   kernel_panic said


    I think the LGPL allows that

    The main difference between the GPL and the LGPL is that the latter can be linked against (in the case of a library, 'be used by') a non-GPL program, which can be free software or non-free software. [1] In this regard, the GNU LGPL version 3 is presented as a set of permissions added to the GNU GPL.

    These non-GPL or non-LGPL programs can be distributed under any chosen conditions if they are not derivative works. If it is a derivative work then the terms must allow modification by the user for his own use and the use of reverse engineering techniques to develop said modifications. Defining whether a work using an LGPL program is a derivative work or not is a legal matter (see the text of the LGPL). A standalone executable that dynamically links to a library is generally accepted as a work that is not derived from the library. It would be considered a work that the library uses and paragraph 5 of the LGPL would apply.

    A program that contains no derivative of any portion of the Library, but is designed to work with the Library by being compiled or linked with it, is called a “work that uses the Library”. Such a work, in isolation, is not a derivative work of the Library, and therefore falls outside the scope of this License.

    From the unofficial Spanish translation:

    A program that does not contain derivatives of any portion of the library, but is designed to work with the library by being compiled or linked to it, is called a "work that uses the library." Such work, separately, is not a derivative work of the library, and therefore falls outside the scope of this License.

    Essentially it should be possible for the software to be linked with a new version of the program covered by the LGPL. The commonly used method to achieve this is to use an appropriate shared or dynamic library mechanism. Alternatively, it is allowed to statically link an LGPL library (see w: statically linked library) if the source code of the program is provided or the object code is provided to link against the LGPL library.

    A feature of the LGPL is that any LGPL code can be converted into GPL code (section 3 of the license). This feature is useful for direct reuse of LGPL code in GPL code of libraries and applications, or if you want to create a version of the code that cannot be used in proprietary software.

    However that may be a weakness, some time ago I read an article by Bruce Perens about the danger of Apache for not being licensed under the GPL mode, of being used by other interests (see Microsoft: p)

    The apache license states:

    Like any other free software license, the Apache License allows the user of the software the freedom to use it for any purpose, distribute it, modify it, and distribute modified versions of that software.

    The Apache License does not require that derivative works (modified versions) of the software be distributed using the same license, or even that they have to be distributed as free / open source software. The Apache License only requires that a notice be kept informing recipients that code with the Apache License has been used in the distribution. Thus, in contrast to copyleft licenses, those who receive modified versions of Apache Licensed code do not necessarily receive the same notebooks. Or, if you look at the situation from the point of view of Apache Licensed code licensees, they are given the "freedom" to use the code in any way they prefer, including its use in closed source products (cf Paragraph 4).

    In particular, I reiterate my position: p, it will be restrictive, but there is no doubt that the GPL is the best license for free software: p

  19.   Alejandro Yellow said

    I'll stick with the GPL, but… .. a world where only the GPL existed, would it be a free world?

  20.   isengrin said

    @fsources +1

  21.   anarres said

    a world where only the GPL existed, would it be a free world?

    YES, it would be a free world.
    It would be the freest world possible.
    A world where individual knowledge, which is a value of humanity, is returned to it, without financial obligations.
    It is the most primitive model of humanity and the one that was used for the longest time. In fact, it is what motivated humanity: PAYG economy - later Redistributive economy-

  22.   Alejandro Yellow said

    YES, it would be a free world.
    It would be the freest world possible.

    Being FREE is being able to choose. I love Linux, the GNU philosophy and the GPL license, but if one day they made it difficult for me to install Opera browser on Linux, saying that it is not free software, then that day I stopped using Linux.

  23.   RudaMale said

    "The GPL restricts freedom from restricting freedom." It seems paradoxical but it is a good definition and it is under the GPL license :)


    I lean towards the GPL license because it has the universal principle of sharing knowledge without ignoring its… .it is a paradigm of the future. Thank you.

  25.   Juanma said

    If it conditions you, it is not free.