Re: @Apprentice of Tokenism - This is where GPL is bollocks
Exactly. It is about a true choice and about admitting to the fact that in reality almost nobody - there are honourable exceptions - really can check on licence violations or pursue litigation unless being paid for it. So the sensible and reality matching approach that we took is Apache 2.0: want to make money with our source code and not contribute back? Go ahead, we are cool with it. The source got already developed and the developers got their pay check. Not a problem.
Honestly, nobody is going to know if somebody is violating the GPL in a commercial product unless somebody happens to examine the binaries of the product. The question is then: do you really want to go down that road and spend your own free time on sifting through millions of products if your code is used elsewhere? If you do not or cannot spend your own time on that then good luck finding enough people who are able to spend the time to find GPL violations in binary code for you.
Do you see now what the real issue is? Identification of GPL violations are the real issue at hand. GPL enforcement is simply not doable unless your are paid to do it. It is as simple as that.
That is where one really needs to take a reality check and ask if GPL is a licence that stands for something that one wants to support and pursue or if it is just a boiler plate blah blah that one will not really support and hence not pursue until litigation.
GPL was a brilliant dream of an ideal software and source code universe and it has worked for like ten years or so to get the open source idea going and for enterprises to pick up on it. Everybody should remember that. Before we had Public Domain but it somehow did not catch on.
Nowadays GPL is just a niche license among other open source licenses. And the other open source licenses work just better in reality and allow for a much wider coexistence and use of source code. GPL has become too hot to touch for any enterprise that tries to make money off their IP. They are not going to release their source code if it contains their IP and instead will look elsewhere for an alternative solution than using GPL code.
We, as a research facility - I know that we have it really easy because we have no "real" obligations - have decided on using Apache 2.0 as the default licence. There are times when collaborations cannot agree with us on using Apache 2.0 but that is dealt with on a case by case base. But the basic idea remains the same: We did already develop the code, we did already pay for it. So just go and take it, put it to good (or bad) use. You are free to do so.