does a free license make software free?

Michael Kesper mkallas at
Wed Aug 29 13:59:21 UTC 2007


chrysn schrieb:
>> A small point: All free software licences are non-viral.  Software will
>> never turn into GPL'd software just by touching software that is under
>> the
>> GPL.  The GPL is a copyleft or "reciprocal" licence.
> i kind of expected such a rebuke, but as of starting to grow a
> microbiology background, i like the term and think it is quite
> descriptive (and not every viral infection is transmitted by touching,
> but when incorporating infected flesh into your body, you are likely to
> be infected as well).

Well, "viral" is another expression for "spreading illness". This term
only fits proprietary licenses which really infect the whole system built
upon, making it non-free. The GPL (and other copleft licenses) can be
described much better as "immunizing" against the illness of proprietary
licenses. These terms were found by Bernhard Reiter, as far as I know.

Best wishes
Nobody can save your freedom but YOU -
become a fellow of the FSFE!

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