Re: Open source and free software
"Just because some critical userland stuff is GPL doesn't mean that it all is, which was the criticism."
Well, they also wrote this: "The majority of software in a typical Linux distribution is not from the GNU project"
In fact, as we both agree, some pretty important chunks are from the GNU project. So downplaying the role of GNU project software in the success of GNU/Linux isn't particularly convincing, especially when they could have mentioned something like Android where Google have tried as hard as possible to avoid copyleft-licensed (and GNU project) code.
"Free software doesn't get any freer when you write it with a capital "F", that just shows you've been sucked by the brand."
Not at all. Capitalising the F just makes it clear what I'm writing about, without giving people excuses that they think I'm writing about gratis software because that would prove some point or other they're failing to make.
"As for BSD/Linux the next version of Debian will ship with the choice of kernels: FreeBSD or GNU Linux."
Yes, but the former is known as GNU/kFreeBSD, not BSD/Linux. See the point above for why that's important.
"End users do benefit from more permissive licences not least because it means lower lawyer fees."
That most end-users probably won't be paying, even if you can show that distributing copyleft-licensed software tends to result in higher legal fees being incurred by some parties.
"One should remember that it was FreeBSD that was at the heart of the legal case with AT&T which inadvertently helped to kick start the adoption of the GPL."
It helped to kick-start adoption of alternative free Unix implementations, certainly. Whether it helped to kick-start GPL adoption is less clear.
"In the end, of course, the regents of the university of California were fully vindicated and so the BSD licence has continued to thrive."
The result was a settlement, not full vindication, and had less to do with the permissive licence of BSD than it did with general disagreement over who had written what and whether things could be considered copyrighted works.
BSD Unix supporters frequently argue that the legal uncertainty is the sole reason for Linux being popular, but in fact numerous opportunities existed for adoption of BSD in the 1990s in preference to Linux, and yet the BSDs remain relatively unpopular despite their technical maturity. Such supporters should concede that the permissive licensing, albeit nice for freeloading companies and academic "spin-offs", isn't quite the community-building asset they repeatedly insist that it is.