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Other BSD and UNIX/UNIX-like Any other flavour of BSD or UNIX that does not have a section of its own.

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Old 11th September 2020
flfederation flfederation is offline
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Default Only sort of about the FSF / free software

I think every few months (years) or so, someone comes here to try to argue that BSD should jump on the GNU bandwagon.

This is NOT one of those posts. It's more accurate to say I'm fleeing, than trying to convert anybody here.

I will state where I'm coming from, but what I'm looking for is personal or historical accounts, or personal opinions. I'm on a fact-finding mission, not a crusade.

First of all, I'm posting from OpenBSD. It's nice. It's about as close to what I'm looking for right now as anything out there. OpenBSD fan, right here. I've also tried FreeBSD. I've migrated most of my equipment to BSD.

I won't deny being a Stallman fan, but I'm not here to defend him. I don't think he's coming back, you don't need to worry.

I'm most interested in the history of BSD, I've been trying to soak it up in bulk. I've read about it, I've been watching various BSD talks (Jason Dixon on GPL & BSD is Dying, Theo de Raadt on Pledge and Colin Percival on side channel attacks) along with videos about the history (USL vs. BSDi, etc.)

I think BSD got kind of a raw deal. I won't pretend to be a fan of modern Open Source, but OpenBSD was "Open" before "Open Source" was coined and before OSI was founded.

So there's open source and Open Source, and the former doesn't seem that bad.

My question comes down to this: rms and the FSF had a number of "quibbles" with BSD, which someone parodied in the song "Home to Hypocrisy". I am aware that not every BSD has exactly the same politics or goals, and I'm not asking anybody to speak for all BSDs here-- just the ones that matter to them.

What (if anything) could have free software have done differently, to help out or be fairer to BSD? I'm expecting some pithy answers, that's alright. I might get some interesting answers too. Not here to debate the Free Software side of it-- I'm sure you've heard all that before. I'll continue researching this on my own time, of course.
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Old 14th September 2020
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Carpetsmoker Carpetsmoker is offline
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This isn't really specific to BSD, but I've written a few lengthy comments about the FSF and the like last month over here (username: arp242): https://lobste.rs/s/gywiju/freedom_isn_t_free

Specifically for BSD, the whole "oh, you allow people to install non-free software? You're not promoting Freedom and we can't recommend BSD"-take needlessly antagonized a lot of people and wasn't helpful in any way, for the concept of Free Software or anyone else.
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Old 14th September 2020
flfederation flfederation is offline
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Thanks for the quotes. Loads of interesting stuff here.

I'm mixing Keith Packard up with the third programmer to work on BSD, but he worked on X and I suppose, his ejection from Xfree86 is why we thankfully have X.org, similar perhaps to de Raadt getting shut out of the NetBSD codebase. I'm probably mistaken about several things there, but it's a starting place, it's not intended as Canon.
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Old 15th September 2020
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I think you're maybe confusing Keith Packard with Keith Bostic; I'm not sure exactly what you mean with "the third programmer to work on BSD", but Bostic did a lot of work on BSD in the 80s and 90s.
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Old 15th September 2020
flfederation flfederation is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpetsmoker View Post
I think you're maybe confusing Keith Packard with Keith Bostic
I did at first, but I caught it. They're both awesome. I only know Bostic's name because McKusick talks about him. I've looked him up on Wikipedia since then. Packard is on Wikipedia as well.

I think the history of this stuff is incredibly important, it makes the projects easier to understand and helps you to appreciate them. Of course I already appreciate BSD because I'm using it now, but knowing more about it makes it richer and more interesting.
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Old 15th December 2020
thirdm thirdm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flfederation View Post
What (if anything) could have free software have done differently, to help out or be fairer to BSD? I'm expecting some pithy answers, that's alright. I might get some interesting answers too. Not here to debate the Free Software side of it-- I'm sure you've heard all that before. I'll continue researching this on my own time, of course.
The way you use the terms open source and free software with OpenBSD being open source and FSF representing free software isn't standard I think. You'll see across OpenBSD mailing lists people using either of the terms in describing their software. I see both used among Perl people too. I recall one developer pointedly using the term free software to describe non-copylefted free software, I supposed at the time as a way of expressing frustration with others claiming the definition or maybe as emphasizing that there are fewer conditions in his preferred licenses.

BSDs have been able to take video drivers from Linux without copylefting their code. This is the main way I think that those who generally prefer the GPL as their license can help the BSDs. It's expressed here in an old article by Egen Moblen on the CDDL

":The source trees of many GPL-licensed works, including the Linux kernel, contain files originally published by their authors under other free software licensing terms. In these cases, where the licenses involved are "permissive" licenses---such as a GPL-compatible BSD license, the MIT/X11 license or the equivalent---it can be said that GPLv2 section 2(b) is literally complied with, because those licenses permit the source code to be placed under other license terms, and those files are "relicensed" to GPL when they are included in the larger project's source tree. Though this is literally satisfactory from the GPL perspective, it raises equitable concerns of another kind. The improvements or modifications made to that code within the context of the GPL'd project can now not be picked up and used by the original projects or other downstream developers, unless they are prepared to place their entire work under GPL copyleft terms. This "traps" the improvements to the original contribution where they cannot be reused by the original contributors under their preferred terms. This is legitimate conduct on the part of the GPL-using project, but it unnecessarily deteriorates comity among free software developers. A better approach than the "relicensing" approach is to keep the files so employed within the GPL-licensed project's source tree with their additional licensing material intact, even when modified, so that if those files, or any parts thereof, are removed from the GPL'd project they can be reused under the original license, with the improvements made in the GPL'd context fully available under those terms. This is the official advice of SFLC to its GPL-using clients. "

In addition to BSD origin files they could look at cases tactically and see if making certains files available for the BSDs under a non-copyleft license might not be more worthwhile than their overriding preference that none of their code get used in proprietary software or be put in physical products (e.g. phones, IoT, etc.) where the customers can't get hold of the source or the necessary build tools to modify said products.

Otherwise I don't know. I like OpenBSD, NetBSD and GNU all quite well. It used to create a minor kind of identity conflict when reading or listening to BSD people express hostility and aggrevation towards GNU and the GPL license, but whatever. That kind of petty bickering is a tempest in a teapot as far as I'm concerned. It matters little. Seems not as bad lately too.
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Old 16th December 2020
frcc frcc is offline
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Interesting and positive.
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Old 16th December 2020
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cynwulf cynwulf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thirdm View Post
BSDs have been able to take video drivers from Linux without copylefting their code.
I believe the reason for this is that the code in question is not GPL'd in the first place.

If you look at the Linux sources for e.g. amdgpu, you will see that the licence is a simple permissive one, which looks almost identical to the MIT licence:

Code:
$ head -n25 amdgpu_acp.c
/*
 * Copyright 2015 Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
 *
 * Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a
 * copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"),
 * to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation
 * the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense,
 * and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the
 * Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:
 *
 * The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in
 * all copies or substantial portions of the Software.
 *
 * THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR
 * IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY,
 * FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT.  IN NO EVENT SHALL
 * THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER(S) OR AUTHOR(S) BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR
 * OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE,
 * ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR
 * OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.
 *
 * Authors: AMD
 *
 */
If you grep the relevant parts of the Linux source for "GPL-2", you will find very few results, e.g:
Code:
$ grep -rI GPL-2 *
amdgpu_atpx_handler.c:// SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-2.0-only
amdgpu_test.c:// SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-2.0 OR MIT
Similar with intel i915.

I believe that's the reason why the drivers could be ported to OpenBSD.

In fact that one file in amdgpu Linux kernel sources that is GPL-2 only, is a file contributed by Red Hat, which isn't specific to AMD/Radeon GPUs.

It doesn't surprise me to see Intel and AMD avoiding GPL.

So the Linux kernel is not fully GPL-2 and I remember reading a list of the licences, somewhere a few years back, but can't find it now...

Last edited by cynwulf; 16th December 2020 at 01:10 PM.
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Old 16th December 2020
thirdm thirdm is offline
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Well sort of. I mean, the GPL applies to the whole of Linux whether subsets of it got into it on a non-copyleft license or not. The key is that that other license isn't replaced but complemented by the GPL, so if you take out just that part, if linux devs are nice about licensing what they add to that file under that same, say, ISC license, then you are free to make use of that file on the terms of that other non-GPL license if that's your choice. This is what Moglen and Choudhary are suggesting I think.

Quote:
It doesn't surprise me to see Intel and AMD avoiding GPL.
Me neither. Sounds like in a lot of corporations there are people promoting the idea that the GPL is to be avoided. When a BSD person says that I can respect it. But the way it's going around companies, by certain folk, is a bit ugly to me. I mean, it's their copyright, if they are distributing code and don't like copyleft fine. But it's uglier in that you'll see programmers (often who aren't distributing anything) propagating this anti-GPL sentiment (and often FUD) in a similar way to how certain corporate programmers will snicker at you if you don't opt for the Macintosh laptop when companies give that choice or if you say you like the Perl programming language. Or they pronounce it has a rule of programming: "GPL considered harmful". When they explain their motives it's not as pure as I'll read on OpenBSD mailing lists and the web site, say. Rather it sounds all tied into companies wanting to do exactly what the copyleft proponents are actively wanting to avoid (taking on non-equal terms to those you give your customers), that and members of said companies being loyal company men.

Quote:
So the Linux kernel is not fully GPL-2 and I remember reading a list of the licences, somewhere a few years back, but can't find it now...
To repeat, the files under BSD, ISC, etc. licenses are (also) GPLed when they are distributed as part of Linux as per the terms of the GPL. It is not per file and grabs hold of the whole work (the common objection by those who dislike it, I guess.)

I forgot the link to what I quoted earlier:
https://www.softwarefreedom.org/reso...rnel-cddl.html
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Old 18th December 2020
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Yes I see your point and according to terms of the GPL, you're absolutely correct. But the Linux kernel containing code which is not licenced under the GPL-2 is still a fact. There is MIT code and dual MIT and GPL-2 code - and in both cases that code can be used/ported elswhere (as it it has been - e.g. as discussed: amdgpu), without "contamining" those projects with GPL.

Thanks for the link.

You're also absolutely right that there are projects such as OpenBSD, which raise many valid points about GPL and why they actively avoid it - and there are business which avoid (an in some cases actually use/abuse) the GPL for commercial reasons. The reasonings / rationale is completely disparate in both cases.

The "anti-GPL sentiment", the "cancellation" of Stallman and the slow steady creep to "corporate Linux" are all closely related. Some have termed this "open washing". While I 'm no fan of either Stallman or GPL, his removal was a very bad thing and we can expect to see more and more of that - e.g. "difficult" people who refuse to play by the rules and do what corporations want, being unseated, with the assistance of some "outrage" and hullabaloo generated by "useful idiots". To add - I think the CoCs are a bady thing and like all empty "tokenism", only ever serve a corporate interest - in that they can be invoked or ignored as and when it suits.
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Old 18th December 2020
e1-531g e1-531g is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cynwulf View Post
Yes I see your point and according to terms of the GPL, you're absolutely correct. But the Linux kernel containing code which is not licenced under the GPL-2 is still a fact. There is MIT code and dual MIT and GPL-2 code - and in both cases that code can be used/ported elswhere (as it it has been - e.g. as discussed: amdgpu), without "contamining" those projects with GPL.
I didn't look at license of Linux kernel source files. Just a hypothesis.
I know that GPL 2 is a bit vague. Some people interpret GPL 2 in a way that allows statically or dynamically loaded libraries to be GPL-2 while program using them may be proprietary. Example of that is Oracle's OpenJDK project licensed on terms of GNU General Public License, version 2, with the Classpath Exception.
Given that Linux kernel have modules maybe GPL 2 license is an requirement for "core" of Linux kernel, but modules containing drivers may be licensed under more permissive license.
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