2008-01-29

GPL vs. BSD or: How many words does freedom need?

A brief comparison between the GPL and BSD license shows that the core premises of freedom can be fully reflected by the BSD license. Whereas the GPL reflects the same idea but adds also some clauses which limit this idea. So the GPL can be thought of as an legal overhead that is put above the BSD license and which intention is to extend the BSD license with obligations.

One of the most impressive facts regarding the debate which software license guarantees true freedom are maybe the answers to the question: How many words does freedom need?
  • the BSD license is of the opinion that 231 words should be enough
  • GPLv2 expresses its freedom in 2495 words
  • and the GPLv3 adds further obligations to the GPLv2 which blows up the GPLv3 to 5226 words
Which is your favorite? A definition which simply defines what freedom is or a definition that goes beyond this and defines also what freedom is not. Is it possible to define what freedom is not at all? You have to consider an infinite number of cases for such an open definition.