Translations:Essays:Why are GPL-licensed components removed from the FreeBSD base system/8/en

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The GPL and BSD have been the inspiration for a plethora of free software licenses that solve various business tasks and whatnot. Licenses from the GPL camp came to be called copyleft licenses. For example, on the Wikipedia page for a particular license, you can even see if it is copyleft or not. If it is, then it, like the GPL, prevents the source code of derivative works from being closed. Licenses from the BSD camp, in turn, began to be called permissive and, unlike licenses from the GPL camp, they were not against the closure of the code of derivative works.


From the early 1990s to the mid-2000s, the industry's attention was focused on free software. In 1991, the 2nd version of the GPL (also known as GPLv2) came out, which became the symbol of this movement. There were heated debates. Some corporations saw the GPL as a threat, while others began to accept the rules of the game. Obviously, corporations have accepted (and continue to accept) these rules because it is beneficial, but it's not widely understood how much. Free software is the foundation for many software products, but it doesn't come out of nowhere – a meritocratic community of developers is behind it. They generate ideas, produce software, write documentation for it, and train staff. The latter is most often neglected. Corporations were given the opportunity not only to freely take a solid foundation embodied in a piece of code for their products but also to hire engineers who did not need to immerse in this code, which, in turn, made it possible to benefit from their work right at the start. Thus, successful examples of companies whose business was 100% based on the development of free software began to appear. Among them is Red Hat, still afloat and making billions, and long-deceased MySQL AB. The use of free software by corporations, and even distributed under the terms of the GPL, perfectly demonstrated the viability of Stallman's ideas, formulated back in the 80s. Now it became obvious that the development of free software (whatever camp it belongs to) is not up to ascetics who have doomed themselves to unpaid labor for the good of society. Here it is necessary to emphasize that until the mid-2000s, the BSD camp had neighborly relations with the GPL. Indeed, the basic system of FreeBSD got along with software distributed under both BSD (and other permissive) licenses and under the GPL. But everything changed a lot by the end of the 2000s when Stallman decided to fight a new enemy.