Free as in free to laugh at you, not with you
August 5, 2012 1:35 PM   Subscribe

MooGNU is a copyleft alternative to nyancat Created by GNU/linux fans who are unable to enjoy the original because of "legal issues" MooGNU is a copyleft version of Nyancat, except obviously it is a GNU and has a slightly less catchy song.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory (56 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Truly eponysterical.
posted by Zonker at 1:40 PM on August 5, 2012 [24 favorites]


Brilliant.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:41 PM on August 5, 2012


On YouTube, the original has 81 million views and 642k likes, meaning less than 1 percent of people who view it are so moved to like it. Of course those who dislike it are even less, it appears that most people are just simply speechless.
posted by stbalbach at 1:41 PM on August 5, 2012


...it appears that most people are just simply speechless.

They're still watching. Over and over again.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:45 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


So this is what Richard Stallman is up to these days?
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:53 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


The dark side of open source software.
posted by subbes at 2:05 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


This captures all the passion, creativity, attention to detail, and yes, the pure joy of launching a F/OSS clone such as LibreOffice.

Also, shouldn't the gnu head left rather than right?
posted by Llama-Lime at 2:09 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


If I'm not mistaken, the music is a variation on Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite."
posted by ZenMasterThis at 2:10 PM on August 5, 2012


This Cat and Girl comic sprung to mind. (Note: Comic is not copyleft/GNU/Creative Commons/Whatver compliant.)
posted by SansPoint at 2:11 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


This really highlights how the GNU movement is about profound intellectual theft. Even the name: GNU's Not Unix, demonstrates that, despite the "free as in freedom" chattering, the group's principal aim is to make derivatives and knock-offs of successful closed-source or copyrighted works. The boastful antics and pseudo-political posturing are there to hide that fact that GNU and its members have never produced truly original software.

So nyan-cat is fun? People like it? @PRGuitarman owns the trademark? Let's just dupe it in the name of FFREEEEEEDOM!
posted by sixohsix at 2:11 PM on August 5, 2012 [15 favorites]


A Gnother Gnu?

The Gnext most wonderful animal in the zoo?
posted by Slackermagee at 2:16 PM on August 5, 2012


I wouldn't say the GNU movement isn't about intellectual theft, per se, but that intellectual theft has become part of the way they operate due to mission creep. Back in the day when computing environments were cost-prohibitive, the way they work made far more sense. A computer does people very little good without software to run on it.

This could have been an affectionate, if lame, parody. Assigning it to the GNU movement makes it a case of sour grapes.
posted by SansPoint at 2:18 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


This seems a lot less stupid when one notices that it's not about producing a Stallmanistically correct pop-cultural meme but about the fact that a GNOME fork used Nyan Cat as its logo, which, given Nyan Cat's status as intellectual property, is a bit like those ice cream vans with unlicensed Disney characters painted on their sides, only with a far greater chance of being noticed.
posted by acb at 2:19 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think the best part about all of this is that somewhere there was a person or group of people who strove to ensure that after all was said and done, their mascot still had a pop-tart on its back and a rainbow coming out of its butt. It's the principle of the thing, really.
posted by Spatch at 2:26 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Spatch An unfrosted Pop-tart, which makes it look more like a piece of bread.
posted by SansPoint at 2:30 PM on August 5, 2012


The boastful antics and pseudo-political posturing are there to hide that fact that GNU and its members have never produced truly original software.
I can't believe I'd ever defend the GNU folks, whose hearts are clearly much more into writing screeds, manifestos, and bad songs than software, but for all there foibles there is some original software. I couldn't live without emacs, and though it's had periods of stagnation (especially when Xemacs was innovating), it's slowly becoming more creative again since Stallman has stepped down from maintaining it. And their extensions to the standard Unix utilities are so useful and ingrained that I groan when I realize I'm on a BSD system, even though they are not truly original in themselves. So they're not terribly good at software, their politics and the restrictiveness of the GPL sucks, and screw ever calling it GNU/Linux, but they have produced original software contributions that I use every day of my life in spite of it all.
posted by Llama-Lime at 2:31 PM on August 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


I could be wrong (somewhat bad hearing) but I believe the tune is a perky, 8-bit version of Stallman's "Free Software Song." (Want more? Here's a kinda jam band version and a seven-minute-long percussive version en espaƱol.)
posted by finnb at 2:32 PM on August 5, 2012


(goddammit now it's stuck in my head)
posted by finnb at 2:33 PM on August 5, 2012


Even the name: GNU's Not Unix, demonstrates that, despite the "free as in freedom" chattering, the group's principal aim is to make derivatives and knock-offs of successful closed-source or copyrighted works.

I give that troll a six, thought you could've never gotten away with such a basic untruth in the heydays of Usenet, where it would not have gone posted for thirty seconds before somebody would've excerpted the relevant part of the open source myths FAQ.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:41 PM on August 5, 2012 [8 favorites]


acb : the fact that a GNOME fork used Nyan Cat as its logo, which, given Nyan Cat's status as intellectual property, is a bit like those ice cream vans with unlicensed Disney characters painted on their sides

In most situations, I would argue against that to my last breath - And, indeed, when it comes to unlicensed Disney characters, I have no problem with those for the simple reason that Disney "stole" them from the public domain of children's fairy-tales (or classic anime) in the first place. It really does surprise me somewhat that the author of a notable piece of software would simply have taken it wholesale (without asking permission first) as the mascot of that software, and have little objection to a takedown in the present situation.

In the case of NyanCat, though, you have a far more niche character created in the very recent past, and not something culturally ubiquitous (despite its status as a meme - Would your Grandmother have fond memories of NyanCat?).


As for...

sixohsix : The boastful antics and pseudo-political posturing are there to hide that fact that GNU and its members have never produced truly original software.

First off, absolutely false. Most of the internet itself comes from those intellectual-property stealing hippies, with the big players like Microsoft, Oracle, and Apple merely doing their damnedest to strip away one chunk at a time and lock it up behind walled gardens (that they, of course, control).

Second, regardless of your stance on IP law, producing free (or very cheap) knock-offs benefits us all, by making the core product available to even the poorest, while providing the original producer with the motivation not to sit on those laurels for too long if they want to stay relevant in the market.
posted by pla at 2:50 PM on August 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


In most situations, I would argue against that to my last breath - And, indeed, when it comes to unlicensed Disney characters, I have no problem with those for the simple reason that Disney "stole" them from the public domain of children's fairy-tales (or classic anime) in the first place.

Mickey Mouse and Goofy were stolen from the public domain?
posted by acb at 2:54 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would just like to say BOOOOOOOO! BOOOOOOO! BOOOOOO!

and I'm not shouting boo-urns.
posted by eriko at 3:00 PM on August 5, 2012


Why eat chocolate when you could have carob, kids?
posted by boo_radley at 3:02 PM on August 5, 2012 [13 favorites]


Even the name: GNU's Not Unix, demonstrates that, despite the "free as in freedom" chattering, the group's principal aim is to make derivatives and knock-offs of successful closed-source or copyrighted works.

I'm one of the authors of a GPLv2-licensed open source bioinformatics project that is novel, and most of the tools I use are open-sourced and novel, so not everything that is open source is a knock-off of commercial software.

But, in general terms, you're correct that a lot of the more prominent (i.e., non-command-line) open source projects are indeed knock-offs, whether it's OpenOffice/LibreOffice mimicking early 1990s Microsoft Office, or desktop Linux window managers designed to look as much like Windows and OS X GUIs as developers can get away with, without lawyers issuing a cease-and-desist. CLI utilities and services tend not to be knock-offs because commercial equivalents either don't exist, or the nearest equivalent is usually GUI-based.

I'm not even sure what legal issues prevent me from enjoying Nyan Cat, but this MooGNU seems a pretty blah copy of it and is fairly representative of the general spirit of some major open source projects that do a great job at being a mediocre duplicate of existing works. Too bad, really. Could have been a laugh, if they took it over the top and made something new.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:04 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


And, indeed, when it comes to unlicensed Disney characters, I have no problem with those for the simple reason that Disney "stole" them from the public domain of children's fairy-tales (or classic anime) in the first place.

1) As said before -- Mickey Mouse appears in historic fairly tales?

2) You can also make a cartoon called Snow White. What you cannot do is make one with characters that look exactly like "Disney's Snow White." Arguably, you would have trouble if you named the dwarves exactly the same, because that was a Disney invention. Did you also know that, statistically speaking, six out of seven dwarves aren't Happy?

3) You can even make a mouse as a lead character in one of those stories. What you cannot do is make Mickey Mouse, or a character obviously meant to be confused with Mickey Mouse, be that lead character.

4) You can also explicitly use them in terms of parody -- see Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs, which is just fine in terms of copyright. It's very wrong in terms of other things, but it's fine as a direct parody of Disney's work.

5) Do note how both Disney and Warner brother had ducks as the fall-guy character without causing copyright concerns, because they are obviously and on the face different characters, even though they fill the exact same roles *and* are modeled on ducks. They are different enough that you cannot confuse them, or be mislead into thinking that Daffy Duck is trying to lure people into buying a work thinking that it is a Disney product.
posted by eriko at 3:11 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


the FSF is the Team Rocket of UNIX. stallman shows up with his GNU/Koffing and giggles to himself, cue everyone rolling their eyes and checking their watches.

Prepare for GNU! We're helping you!
To protect the world from IP obliteration! And claim credit for your innovation!
To denounce the evils of cash and laws! And co-opt your project with our GNU/Linux paws!

ugh.
posted by gorestainedrunes at 3:15 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wow. I'd like to see you folks try to go through a day on the internet without inadvertently making use of GNU software for which no commercial equivalent exists...
posted by Jimbob at 3:39 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Mickey Mouse was originally created to dodge a copyright dispute with the creator of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
posted by LogicalDash at 3:40 PM on August 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


Jimbob: "Wow. I'd like to see you folks try to go through a day on the internet without inadvertently making use of GNU software for which no commercial equivalent exists..."

The software's one thing, this is another.
posted by boo_radley at 3:49 PM on August 5, 2012


Yeah sure, open source is about IP theft and they don't have an original bone in their collective bodies. I'd tell you to go to Microsoft Hell 3.0TM, but you're probably already there.

"Prominence," with the added qualification of not being command-line, is an astoundingly poor criteria for determining software importance. Most of the internet runs on open source software, as does every Android device, Kindle and Tivo. Somewhere down there OSX runs on it too, which also means iOS.

There's also a lot of open source software out there too as alternatives to commercial software, and for one I'm grateful -- I don't know what I'd do without, say, 7zip, or LibreOffice, or Firefox for that matter. And open source stuff helps to keep commercial software companies honest -- you really think if Firefox hadn't come along that Internet Explorer would have changed a damn thing that they didn't have to change?
posted by JHarris at 3:51 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am unable to enjoy the original, but not for legal issues.
posted by barely legal at 3:54 PM on August 5, 2012


This really highlights how the GNU movement is about profound intellectual theft. Even the name: GNU's Not Unix, demonstrates that, despite the "free as in freedom" chattering, the group's principal aim is to make derivatives and knock-offs of successful closed-source or copyrighted works. The boastful antics and pseudo-political posturing are there to hide that fact that GNU and its members have never produced truly original software.

That does seem a little harsh. Having open-source software can facilitate a more rapid evolution of how the software and technology can be used and improved. That, and ownership of your device in every sense, seem like valid justifications for this philosophy. The MooGnu example is a bit silly, but this is probably one of the rare examples where a functionless icon is being replicated.

More generally, if you look at Windows/Mac software one finds a lot of similarities amongst what is available, with a similar dance of mimicry (powerpoint/keynote; word/pages etc). I think there is a difference between imitating and replicating an idea because it is a good idea, compared to making a copy just so it can be copied freely. Torrenting already enables zero cost software; I believe GNU have a higher purpose which has societal benefit.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 4:10 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


This could have been an affectionate, if lame, parody. Assigning it to the GNU movement makes it a case of sour grapes.--SansPoint

I assume you haven't checked out Youtube for all the perhaps millions of lame parodies and alternative versions of Nyan cat?Well I have, or rather, my kids have, and they have insisted on playing every one they could find (on two different computers) for weeks.

So thank you very much but one more affectionate lame parody of Nyan cat is not what this world needs.
posted by eye of newt at 4:39 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


pla: "First off, absolutely false. Most of the internet itself comes from those intellectual-property stealing hippies, with the big players like Microsoft, Oracle, and Apple merely doing their damnedest to strip away one chunk at a time and lock it up behind walled gardens (that they, of course, control).

Second, regardless of your stance on IP law, producing free (or very cheap) knock-offs benefits us all, by making the core product available to even the poorest, while providing the original producer with the motivation not to sit on those laurels for too long if they want to stay relevant in the market.
"

Somehow I would have expected you to say the exact opposite, but amen brother.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:50 PM on August 5, 2012


Just a friendly reminder that GNU software is not open source software, and that the GNU folk are not fans of open source software. The dichotomy is not open source vs. commercial, it's open source vs. GNU vs. commercial vs. public domain vs. non-commercial only vs. many other dreamable schemes. If you think you're a fan of GNU but haven't read their philosophy pages, I'd recommend reading them. They made me realize that I do not agree with GNU, and do not wish my open source efforts to ever be associated with them. It's only one manner of open source free software development, and though GNUists are often the loudest and most uncompromising people in the room, they do not speak for the open source community, or really, should be associated with open source at all.
posted by Llama-Lime at 5:12 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


eriko : As said before -- Mickey Mouse appears in historic fairly tales?

No - And I would have agreed that, once long ago, the "real" Disney characters had something of innovation in them (Oswald aside). But the copyright on Mickey et al should have, and would have, run out roughly in the year of my birth, if not for the tireless efforts of such luminaries as Sonny Bono (R, Disney) continually depriving the Public of their rightful Domain.

But I don't mean to shift the goalposts here, honestly I had only Disney's newer material in mind - The Eisner era to present, basically.
posted by pla at 5:23 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think the (perceived) tendency of OSS to be clones of other software is that any given OSS stack/platform is pretty young, relatively speaking. So the community has to spend a great deal of time building up all the 'typical' parts of the platform which, unsurprisingly, already exist on established closed-sourced, for profit platforms. Calling OpenOffice a rip off of MS Office seems silly to me. It's an office suite. This isn't exactly a MS-only concept (any more than an operating system is a MS-only concept). It's a very basic suite of software one would desire on any computer. And while the goals and ideology of the various OSS camps (not to mention the thousands of individuals involved) are nuanced and varied, there is - I believe - an overarching goal of providing a complete software platform/library for free. Not exactly a dick move.
posted by colourmebrad at 5:57 PM on August 5, 2012


[assorted software-hippie punching]

Some days I would really like to see Free Software added to that ever-expanding list of Things MetaFilter Doesn't Do Well so I could avoid all the grar I inevitably derive from being unable to resist clicking on these threads.
posted by brennen at 6:20 PM on August 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Could have been a laugh, if they took it over the top and made something new.

Instead they made something GNU.
posted by grouse at 6:50 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


wait what am i laughing at here, idgi
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 6:54 PM on August 5, 2012


But I don't mean to shift the goalposts here, honestly I had only Disney's newer material in mind - The Eisner era to present, basically.

Wait.... What about most/all of Pixar's output?
posted by graphnerd at 7:56 PM on August 5, 2012


f I'm not mistaken, the music is a variation on Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite."

I can't be bothered to look refs up right now but you can look it up on the intersearches. That's "The Free Software" song (a hilarious RMS-a-capella version exists), according to RMS a filk on a bulgarian song.

The reason why it sounds like something out of the Firebird is that it's in 5/4 time. O tempora o mores that something without four-on-the-floor beats is exotic somehow. Try to play Brubeck's "Take five" in your mind over the beat in the moognu song -- 5/4, see? ONE-two-three-four-five-ONE-two-three-four-five.
posted by syntaxfree at 8:41 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's "The Free Software" song (a hilarious RMS-a-capella version exists), according to RMS a filk on a bulgarian song.

I came across that song as http://www.jwz.org/hacks/why-cooperation-with-rms-is-impossible.mp3. Wikipedia has an instrumental version linked from the page on the Free Software Song. Anyway, this doesn't sound the same to me.
posted by grouse at 9:08 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


This really highlights how the GNU movement is about profound intellectual theft.
So I assume you live your ideas and avoid all open source software/free software, right? I suggest you take it a step further and only visit websites running Microsoft Windows™ Server edition.

After all, if you think re-using an idea for software is the same as copyright infringement, then using that software would also be copyright infringement.
posted by delmoi at 9:12 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Apache is not GNU software. nginx is not GNU software. No significant web server sees the GPL as an appropriate license, much less seen fit to assign copyright over to the FSF like a GNU project would. The Google Web Server and Micsrosoft's IIS don't even have their source code available.

No extant and capable web browser uses GPL. Has any web browser ever been GPL? Can you believe that Mosaic had a proprietary license? No good could ever come from that!! The officially sanctioned GNU web browser is email. Yes, email. Check it out for yourself at git://git.gnu.org/womb/hacks.git and free yourself from the chains of the web, as the web is a non-free prison built on non-free software licenses, a honey-pot trapping all sorts of hackers into non-GNU software.

I assume if you really believe in the GNU movement, you'll stop using that non-free web browser of yours, if you haven't already switched to email. Because without the GNU movement, we'd all be using Microsoft software, right? That's a totally plausible argument.

damnit, I'm getting stupibly political again. sorry.
posted by Llama-Lime at 10:00 PM on August 5, 2012


I assume if you really believe in the GNU movement, you'll stop using that non-free web browser of yours, if you haven't already switched to email.

I believe in the GNU movement because it's working toward creating a living trust of free software, and I benefit from its efforts every day. I'm not required to swear off that which is merely open source or even proprietary to think that it's great that they're out there giving us gcc and bash. They think I'm wrong to run those things on my Mac, and they're welcome to do so. Somebody somewhere thinks I'm up to no good no matter what I do. On the other hand, the least I can do is refrain from badmouthing them: their strident and rigid messaging is no skin off my back, and it's a small price to pay for all the utility I've derived from their efforts.
posted by mph at 10:58 PM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


graphnerd : Wait.... What about most/all of Pixar's output?

Pixar has remained relevant post-Disney buyout largely because Disney has taken a hands-off approach to them.

But yes, I would admit that Pixar has done some pretty cool work "worthy" of copyright protection.
posted by pla at 11:10 PM on August 5, 2012


The officially sanctioned GNU web browser is email

"Officially sanctioned" seems to mean "RMS Himself uses it". You may be interested to know that not everyone who supports free software and/or the GNU project considers RMS's preferences to be law.

Anyway, while Firefox has a special license to cover the proprietary nature of its branding, you can get it under the GNU license by the name IceCat.
posted by LogicalDash at 4:33 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


As for the GNU/Linux naming controversy: though it arose from RMS's ego and confusion about how names work, the name is actually useful for something now, because the Android operating system does not contain the GNU toolset. You might want to make clear that you use one that does.
posted by LogicalDash at 4:39 AM on August 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Once again I fail to understand the FSF-hate.

I released some software under the GPL. Some other people liked it, and released modified versions also under the GPL. If they had made their modified versions closed-source I would have been sad. There's nothing stopping anyone writing and releasing similar programs, they just can't use my code (unless they ask nicely). I think it's great that the FSF encourages this kind of thing, even if I don't agree with every single thought that RMS has ever expressed on their website.

Yay FSF.

Also, GCC is pretty good and the GIMP, while horrible in many respects, is a hell of a lot cheaper than Photoshop.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 6:18 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, here we go.

Some clarification needs to be done here first. there is such a thing as the Free Software movement, and the Open Source movement. They are not the same thing, but they are closely aligned, to the extent that one can easily be forgiven for conflating the two. The people who care the most about the differences between the two are the hardcore guys, like the people who make sure to call it "GNU/Linux."

BUT, that does not mean those hardcore guys, like Richard Stallman, are wrong to make that distinction! They have a certain ideology that they are trying to advance. That word "ideology," gets a bad rep these days, but the FSF version of it is about as positive as it gets.

That, and ownership of your device in every sense, seem like valid justifications for this philosophy. The MooGnu example is a bit silly, but this is probably one of the rare examples where a functionless icon is being replicated.

Also it needs to be remembered that, just like Occupy Wall Street, the Free Software and Open Source movements are inclusive by definition, not exclusive. Anyone who wants to be a part of them, is. All the "LOL lookit the idiots reskinning Nyancat and thinking they're doing something important" comments above fail to recognize that this is some random 4chan dweebs doing this, not core people on behalf of any actual movement. Which is like right there in the linked-to article for anyone who cares enough to read it.

Apache is not GNU software. nginx is not GNU software. No significant web server sees the GPL as an appropriate license, much less seen fit to assign copyright over to the FSF like a GNU project would. The Google Web Server and Micsrosoft's IIS don't even have their source code available.

Yeah, but open source would likely not exist if not for the efforts of the FSF. Only those who really care about ideological purity fail to lump the two together casually. There are differences, I am well aware, but they're not THAT great. As for the Google Web Server and Microsoft, well, they both pale before Apache.

I assume if you really believe in the GNU movement, you'll stop using that non-free web browser of yours, if you haven't already switched to email

Just stop it Llama-Lime. What is your problem? Most people use what gets the job done. Some people try to use open source or free software for practical or economic purposes. Only a few try to use only open source & free software as a matter of principle. There aren't a lot of those people here, but one can be allied with those groups and believe in them while also pragmatically using the software that's available. It is a mistake to assign one's choice of, say, word process as an indication of some cockamamie political statement.

In short, you are attacking a strawman.
posted by JHarris at 6:56 AM on August 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


The officially sanctioned GNU web browser is email. Yes, email.

It would be a good idea to read the page you link to: email is just one part of rms' idiosyncratic browsing strategy that - surprise - ends up with an actual web browser. I'm all for acting stupid and pretending it is the official position of GNU that everyone should follow the same method, but let's at least mock the man for the things he actually does.
posted by Dr Dracator at 6:59 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


JHarris, perhaps I should have made it clear I was directly responding to the comment abkve mine. My point is not to be anti-GNU. My point is that not-GNU therefore IIS-only is ridulous thing to say. My point is that entire open systems have developed without GNU, and that GNU gets credit for things it has not been involved with.
posted by Llama-Lime at 8:01 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I had meant to quote this:
Yeah, but open source would likely not exist if not for the efforts of the FSF.
Though this assertion is often made, I do not see any evidence for it. Open source existed before the FSF and it's a natural enough way to make software that I'm certain open source would be common if the FSF never existed. I'll keep releasing under BSD and MIT and perhaps GPL someday, and I'm thankful as hell for all the GPL software out there that I use everyday, but GPL is not the only way to get there, and GNU does not get all the credit for this magnificent ecosystem. posted by Llama-Lime at 8:12 AM on August 6, 2012


Though this assertion is often made, I do not see any evidence for it. Open source existed before the FSF and it's a natural enough way to make software that I'm certain open source would be common if the FSF never existed.

The Stallman/FSF take on Free Software emerged from a larger community with a diversity of views on politics and policy and business, and shared code has been a norm for huge swaths of computing culture as long as there's been computing culture. It seems to evolve naturally, albeit somewhat haphazardly, in most hacker communities. So on the facts, you're right.

That said, the modern FOSS ecosystem (gods I hate that acronym, but what're you gonna do, it seems to be the best-understood widely-used term we've got), would look drastically different without GNU, the GPL, et al., and I suspect would be in a substantially worse position. My own take is that, obnoxious and periodically counterproductive as the militancy of the FSF wing of things can get, we wouldn't be this far without someone like them. Not all software needs to be GPL, but the existence of a large collection of robust, hardline copyleft-licensed software has done a lot to create the space within which people like me can work.

I don't think the radicalism is incidental to the whole thing. I think it's a vital part of the mix.
posted by brennen at 10:25 AM on August 6, 2012


No extant and capable web browser uses GPL. Has any web browser ever been GPL?

KHTML was licensed under the LGPL and forms the basis for significant parts of WebKit. So....
posted by yonega at 12:43 PM on August 6, 2012


« Older A tale from Van Phuc village...  |  Early Sunday morning a man ent... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments