[Corpora-List] POS-tagger maintenance and improvement

Linas Vepstas linasvepstas at gmail.com
Thu Feb 26 22:25:17 CET 2009

2009/2/25 Andras Kornai <andras at kornai.com>:

> is that the GPL basically stands in the way of industry-academia
> partnerships, FSF claims to the contrary notwithstanding.

Strongly disagree. Having worked on both GPL and BSD-licensed projects, I find that GPL enables far deeper, broader collaboration than the BSD license does. To understand this, you have to understand that its a cultural issue, not a legal/license issue.

Here are the two cultures as I experience them:

-- BSD license -- someone from some corporation downloads the source, modifies it, incorporates it in some product, ships it. There is no interaction whatsoever -- no email, no "Hi I like your software", nothing -- it disappears into a black hole. -- Until years later, when some new-hire from said company gives you a call, because "they saw my name in the code", and wanted some free support (for their years-old, hopelessly-out-of-date snapshot) . In short, BSD licensed code fails to nurture a community, or any sort of feedback, interaction, mutual cooperation; its a one way street from creator to profiteer.

The GPL license is very much the opposite: It does not bar corporations from using the code, or even selling it; but it does require that the fixes and changes be made public. This means that the rank-n-file corporate software jockeys sign up for the mailing lists, participate in the discussions, and send in patches. You get a real community out of it, and you actually see the communal improvements happen -- which everyone shares. The license fosters a community. That's really the crux of the difference between the licenses.


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