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GNU licenses and small startups

Posted by johnreynolds on April 8, 2005 at 3:12 AM PDT

Every coin has two sides...

I recently blogged a lament regarding obstacles to the use LGPL'ed software, but that pales in comparison to Jonathan Schwartz's recent assertion: (the GPL)"exports a form of IP colonialism to nations seeking to create their own means of production.".

Here's the other side of that coin:

If you are a small software provider, like JBoss for example, the GNU licenses are pretty much the only insurance that you can get to discourage established companies from "one-upping" your code.

Think about it... If you are a relative newcomer and you don't Open Source your code, customers will probably not take the chance of using your software. If you do Open Source your code, using an Apache style license, then an bigger company can tack on some proprietary extensions and provide a more compelling product.

As a software consumer I still prefer the Apache license, but I do see why the GPL makes business sense to small providers.

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