GPL not encouraging new technology

Marcus Brinkmann Marcus.Brinkmann at
Fri Nov 29 15:18:38 UTC 2002

On Fri, Nov 29, 2002 at 04:00:47PM +0100, Niall Douglas wrote:
> Hence, I would feel that the GPL is bad for blue-sky technology 
> startups. The GPL is excellent for developing a better version of 
> already existing technology which cannot be stolen by others, but no 
> use for creating new technology.
> To prove this last probably contentious point, look at GNU/Linux. I 
> personally cannot see anywhere in the entire system any completely 
> unique technology. It's merely an improved version of existing know-
> how. There's no real innovation in there AFAICS, not say like Plan 9 
> or EROS is a reconception from the ground up.

Uhm, but EROS is GPL and LGPL.  So is the GNU Hurd, which is another
innovative operating system.

> So, hopefully you don't think me a troll. I am genuinely interested 
> in what all your thoughts are.

I think that programmers of all kind should come up with innovative
programs, and that managers should come up with innovative business models
for free software ;)  Also, most progress is probably incremental.  There
are steep pragmatic barriers when it comes to the question of establishing
innovative software.

I also think that the availability of free software among pupils and students
can spur some innovative new free software.  Studying real programs is a
very important aspect of learning to program, and the GNU software base has
some very good examples (I often look into the GNU C library, for example).


`Rhubarb is no Egyptian god.' GNU    marcus at
Marcus Brinkmann              The Hurd
Marcus.Brinkmann at

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