GPL v LGPL

GPL Vs LGPL
And other Licenses...

I the past recent years GNU/Linux has seen a massive increase in interest of the Linux platform. Most of this attention if i am honest has been a result of Google Android which uses the Linux kernel.

Google has adopted the main business model for a GPL open freedom respecting world.

What does this all mean?

Well put simply it means that the program is never closed source allowing the user or anybody to venture into the program unrestricted and do anything with it. That includes taking the code and running it on something totally different to its intended use. Hacking at it's best.

Many have said for years, How can you make money from a open source model? Simply in that the software is NOT sold as a product but as a transparent layer along with a product. Google has proved this time and time again to such a degree that it is a multibilion pound industry now that need not be closed source. If it is not apparent that open source works far better than proprietary software then lets take a look at server software and Apache, the worlds most powerful web server that runs Google as well as Facebook.

I don't think we need say more only that Free Software meaning Free as in Freedom works and works very well.

In short brief and sweet sentence to sum this post up, accept nothing less than a full GPL license...

A little more detail here. The GPL license model is designed to as mentioned above keep the source code open and free as in freedom so that you and anyone can do as they please with it in a non commercial sense. The right to view, change, share all aspects of the program. As i am sure you are aware that many corporations of a commercial entity want to remove your freedom in the name of business profits. Their success economically is more important than your freedom so they have for the past 30+ years tried to take away your freedom by adding in DRM(Digital Restriction Management) sometimes called digital hand cuffs or jail software which coined the term jail-breaking.

One way or another people like myself amongst many others have been hacking to break this and tare down these restrictions that endanger our freedom. The cost for this has been deep for many of us as it does not yield profits or money to put food on the table. That said the enjoyment gained from the freedom for doing all this is priceless, to make it even more awesome we share it with the world who can now all enjoy this freedom without the technical knowledge.

So how did Google amongst others make so much money while others don't?

To answer this it is simple, they think differently. They took some idea like the Google Market(play-store) and used it to make money on a freedom respecting software platform(Linux). This allowed corporations as great as Sony to manufacture super-smart phones, quad core Nvidia beasts that really are an amazing device. All that source code development into the Linux kernel from paid developers working to produce a world leading product at the same time putting in beneficial work to a free open source code within the Linux kernel under GPLv2 that anyone can enjoy. So this proves that developers can eat, work and make good money in open source models under the GPL.

Sadly what most developers want is a easy get rich fast route which is generally provided by removing your freedom and forcing you into their deal. This is the closed source proprietary route where you spend a week building software and the rest of the year with your feet up watching the money roll in. Sound familiar? If you guessed something along the lines of Bill Gates you were correct. Now yea sounds great, if you are that developer with his feet up but not if you are the person who had to pay money to get it and now are stuck trying to get support while he is lapping it up in Hawaii with cocktails etc.

Of course it would be fair to say that passing legislation in the eyes of the law to allow all software to be freedom respecting in every way would be a good thing would you not say? That would effectively make proprietary software illegal. Can you imagine a world where evil nasty software now has to have the source code turned over to the public as publicly available.

The person sipping cocktails and enjoying himself without work in Hawaii would be pretty pissed and pretty broke very quickly. Surely if you don't put in the work then why should you be paid for nothing. Is being paid hundreds of thousands even millions for 1 weeks work or even lets say 6 months work fair while others break their back all year round every year to feed their family. You could sort out the worlds economic failures pretty much overnight with this model and narrow the gap between the wealthy dumb and the clever poor.

So why do you care? Well it is your freedom after all, use it or loose it. Yea lucky for you there are people like me amongst others that are using it and want you to use it too so that generations to come can also enjoy the same freedoms. That is what GPL is all about in more of a nutshell. Hopefully armed with this knowledge you can see through the BullCrap that is spoon fed to you daily and choose not to eat it.

LGPL

LGPL is a limited GPL as it stand for. Not a great license and something that is offered on the table by the Free Software Foundation to thin out the good from the bad in a way and allow the users of the software to decide what they want to be part of using or not. TO be or NOT to be...

System D is a great example of this. SystemD is a initializations program that handles the hand of from the Linux kernel to the daemons in user space. This means that software such as Network drivers to run your network device or power your graphics card is handled by this SystemD. These module scripts that run this process are called daemons. They load, detect hardware and put the right stuff in the right place ready for you to use immediately during boot up. This is reflected in its name System-D a System Daemon handler as such.

SystemD was licensed under the GPLv2 License and was happily endorsed by all that came across and used it but a few years ago the project leaders sold out and stepped it down to LGPL which allows them to proprietary the software at will without warning so it can be used in devices that will NOT respect your freedom.

This is why now many are steering away from using SystemD in a big way and looking to a different way to handle these daemons.

In comes OpenRC and Eudev. Wait that is two programs not one. Yes it is but they work hand in hand as does SystemD. SystemD uses the the traditional UDEV in fact they forked and merged UDEV into the daemon handler and have based the LGPL versions on this integrated model. EUDEV was born on the Gentoo platform and is being ported to many other distributions as is OpenRC. OpenRC has existed well before SystemD so it is not something new. OpenRC handles things very differently, apart from being fully freedom respecting it actually loads things directly in the C language at boot time. init scripts can be edited on the fly without the need to compile they just run, much like python, java, pearl etc. In fact OpenRC is far far more powerful than SystemD.

Never the less the LGPL means that binary blobs, closed source evil software can be put into this daemon handler. One of the primary aspects is DRM as mentioned above DRM restricts what the user of his/her computer can or can't do. If this was open freedom respecting then the user could simply go into the code, rip out the DRM and rebuild it then share it with the world. There is no point to having the DRM in it as it will just get removed then redistributed without it so they pushed it to LGPL and can now close of the source, insert DRM and start screwing with your freedom. A layer that actually is key to the operation of your computer sandwiched between your kernel and applications. Not the type of thing anyone wants on their system full stop.

This is how SystemD has destroyed their project and you need to look out for it installed on your devices or distributed via a distribution. Use the OpenRC init scripts(boot handler).

A final note:

On a final note. The GPL license allows a user to be sure that the code can never be stolen or used without permission but it also carries with it the right to maintain the code open and never be closed off no matter what the circumstances. This means that the person that uses your code has to distribute it further in the same way respecting the freedom of the next person who uses the program. LGPL breaks this hence its name Limited GPL it is a lesser GPL license but allows programs like SystemD to break out of preserving that freedom if they choose to. This is why you now get LGPL code which has a percentage of the code Open and other parts Closed, we call these "Binary Blobs" Most of us as mentioned above choose not to use it and fork or create a project that side routes around it so that non technical people can also bypass this binary blob junk. Sometimes it is just not avoidable(Valve Steam) if you want it to run but it must always be avoided when it is the Operating System we are talking about.

Valve Steam has very little open source in fact they play on the word as a sales pitch but don't have any source code available for the majority of there code. Why? Because of DRM, this is Digital Right Management unlike it being in the operating system it is now used in an application such as a game. This handles weather you have the right to play the game or not, have you paid or is it free etc. In some cases we can see this as acceptable because it is just a game or application that if we did not want we could remove it and carry on regardless. it is not a fundamental part of our daily lives. Things like word processing and things that we rely on for our daily task must never be limited or binary blobbed. We need to be sure what it is doing, how it does it and have the freedom to change it at anytime or get someone to change/fix it for you so you can continue on with your daily lives.

And on that note i shall close this post with, use it or loose it. Preserve freedom at all cost, your kids in generations to come will look back and ask why did they not do something about it back then when they had a chance? Or could they be asking, how did they manage to preserve our freedom back then?


You choose what destiny you want...