BSD over GPL

Paul Richards paul at
Thu Aug 16 15:35:10 BST 2001

--On Thursday, August 16, 2001 10:35:21 +0100 Jonathan Perkin
<jon.perkin at> wrote:

> On Wed Aug 15, 2001 at 06:29:35PM +0100, Dan Cuthbert wrote:
>> Can anyone describe any advantages over using the BSD license over GPL
> In simple terms, GPL is the kid in the playground who says "I'll only let
> you play with me if you let me play with you, and you use my rules in all
> your games", whilst the BSD kid shrugs his shoulders, says "Here's
> something I made which I think is cool, do what you want with it as long
> as you tell people I made the original" and wanders off to do something
> interesting.

That's a reasonable analogy.

It boils down to some basic issues at the end of the day.

There are 3 ways you can license your code (in broad strokes).

You don't care what people do with your code, as long as they acknowledge
that you wrote it.

You want your code to be open source, but you don't want other people to
make use of your code unless their code is also open source.

You want to control use of your code.

The first is a BSD license, the second is the GPL and the third is a
proprietary license.

There are many other things that could be said about the GPL and why you
should really know what you're doing before using it, but essentially the
broad meanings are as above.

Paul Richards
FreeBSD Services Ltd

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