[Zope] Zope and the GPL poison pill

Jim Hebert jim@cosource.com
Wed, 13 Sep 2000 15:06:30 -0400 (EDT)

On Wed, 13 Sep 2000, Nils Kassube wrote:

> To quote Dave Winer: "[The GPL is] designed to create a wall between
> commercial development and free development. The world is not that
> simple. There are plenty of commercial developers who participate in
> open source. Python belongs in commercial products. How does that hurt
> Python?"

I have multiple levels of reaction to this.

The first is that you might as well have quoted Steve Balmer or Jesse

Second, this quote is out of context: Dave nearly immediately backpedaled
from that statement, made during a visceral reaction to something Richard
Stallman wrote. Read other places where Dave indicates that the problem
he had wasn't with the GPL, it's with particular agendas which are
sometimes conflated with the GPL:


[quoting Dave:]
t's funny how points of view shift over time.

When I was choosing an open source license for MacBird, I read the
preamble to the GPL and was outraged at how it talked about commercial
vendors. My takeaway was "poison pill".

Then after you raised the issue, I went and took another look, thinking I
would copy/paste the offensive sections to the DG to show what I meant,
and I couldn't find them.

I assume the GPL didn't change, clearly something about me did change.
[end quote]

Or his softening of his stance, written immediately after what you're
quoting out of context:

[quoting Dave]

Richard Stallman responds to a post on Scripting News re the controversy
over Python licensing. We have different philosophies. I'm learning his
now and working on mine, and it's true that there are things I don't agree
with him on. I'd like to see commercial and open source developers work
together more fluidly. He seems to agree. Reading his piece I think we
could have an interesting discussion. I think we're on the same side on
the important issues, believe it or not. (The big issue is patents, for

[end quote]

Third, again, you're responding as though the discussion is about
re-licensing all of Zope under the, which simply isn't what anyone has
proposed. Again, one side suggests that no one ever write a zope product
under the GPL, ever, that we all standardize on a more liberal license,
and the other side simply says  that each author should have the right to
choose their own distribution terms.

> I _do_ want to give something back to the community, but I do not
> want to be forced to give away for free every piece of code I wrote 
> because some silly person thinks it's okay to earn money with everything 
> else but it's morally wrong to earn money with software development. 

Right. There's different viewpoints. You can write code and release it
under your choice of licenses, and so can others.

Further, this is inflamatory, it conflates RMS's agenda with the terms of
the license. Remember that someone else's choice of that license may not
be because they agree with the agenda: witness the ESR/RMS split: they
both seem happy with the operational effect of the license, but aren't
exactly on the same page about this issue of morals.

Again, please explain a reason why you should dictate to every person who
wants to write a zope module why they shouldn't get to have the license of
their choice. My advocacy protects your choice, your advocacy destroys
other peoples'.