Saturday, April 09, 2005

Value, Marketing and Freedom

The Free Software Foundation speaks about Free Software but the GPL gives less freedom to authors and users of the code than e.g. the BSD license does. Why is the GPL more successful in the eyes of many people than the BSD license?

One important reason of course is marketing. There is better marketing for the GPL as a result of the success of Linux.

The other reason is the value of the software from the FSF in the 1980s. The GCC is of great value to people and the fact that it is of great value caused people to accept the license even though it does not give as much freedom as the BSDL gives.

This acceptance has not been present from the beginning. In the beginning, the whole GCC has been published under the GPL and thus could not be used to compile software that itself has not been published under the GPL. For this reason, there has been an excited discussion about the usability of GCC.

Later, the LGPL has been created and parts of the GCC (libgcc) has been put under LGPL.

As we see, people are willing to accept a reduced freedom if the value of the software gives a compensation.

Now, what happened to GPLd software in the past few years? The Free Software Foundation heavily reduced the effort in extending Free Software and instead started a campaign to _talk_ about Free Software instead. Other software meanwhile did improve or become Open Source.

It seems that these ideas help to understand why Linux people did start a campaign against Open Solaris and the CDDL....

The BSD operating systems (although they give more freedom than Linux) don't look like a real threat for Linux as there is not enough marketing for BSD based operating systems.

OpenSolaris however _is_ a real threat for Linux. OpenSolaris gives more freedom than Linux, it gives new impressing features and there is marketing.

It seems that the reason for the FUD against OpenSolaris published by Linux people is caused by the fact that product of value and freedom found in Linux is smaller than the product of value and freedom available with OpenSolaris.

A proof that OpenSolaris is on the right way?
In the long term, real freedom always wins....

Work on SchilliX, the fiest OpenSolaris based UNIX is underway

Now that a pure self compiled OpenSolaris boots, we started working on completing our OpenSolaris based UNIX. The first version will be text only but isn't the rule for Open Source projects to publish often and to start early? Isn't there even a text based Linux (grml)?

When I started this project, I was in fear that I would not get enough help. Now (since a month), I have an employed student on expense of Fokus Fraunhofer and a few people who are helping as volunteers. It seems that it is not too late for a real Open Source UNIX...