Theo De Raadt Threatens the SFLC


Seems Theo De Raadt doesn’t have an issue with people taking and using BSD licensed code anyway they want, from completely locking up and not even saying it’s used like Microsoft does, or saying it’s used but giving absolutely nothing back to anyone like Apple does.

But if someone, say a Linux Kernel dev, does to BSD licensed code what he doesn’t apparently have an issue with closed source proprietary people doing he gets pissed.

Here’s the post on

No I’m not a lawyer, and while I want to start learning to code I’m no programmer. But this seems to me that he’s basically pissed that any project that uses the GPL’d license might try to do the exact same.

Fact is, the issue is a non-issue as fact is the code in question was duel licensed and the confusion is basically does the nature of dual licencing¬† allow someone to basically just go with over the other. I’ll leave that question to the lawyers as I have no idea.

My question, and my feeling is, that if this BSD licence, supposedly freer then the GPL. which allows people to lock out anyone from seeing their changes unlike the GPL which requires the receiver to give the same rights to code they got to whomever they distribute to, then why the dust up?

BAsically these guys gave all their code out under a licence that except for having attribution to the original just screams as Captain Jack said, “Take all you can, give nothing back.”

Please, if I’m wrong someone clear it up for me.

  • Danny

    Let me try to clear this up for you. (Oh, and the kerneltrap link
    isn’t to a Theo De Raadt post). Since you don’t code, lets say you
    wrote a book, and released it under a BSD-like license. Some people
    (Microsoft?) printed it without saying where they found it but
    since it’s printed, it’s not something people can easily edit. Some
    other people (Apple?) gave it a fancy book cover, printed it, and
    hosted the book a site where you can get your own copy to edit.
    Then another group came in and put a little note at the top of your
    book saying if you add anything to the book you agree to give your
    copyright to someone named Linus, and you can’t use anything
    copyright Linus in any thing but other books copyright by Linus.
    The MS and Apple approach don’t necessarily make it easy to change
    your book, but if someone else finds your book due to the fact they
    used it, and fixes or improves something, you are allowed to use
    that in your book. However, in the last example in the paragraph
    above, if someone finds your work due to Linus and fixes or
    improves something, you can’t incorporate the improvements into
    your original work. Anything added with Linus’ copyright can’t be
    added back to your original book. If Linus is a popular guy and has
    a popular website, your book is now basically under the control of
    Linus. The issue here is that someone has basically taken something
    under one license (the OpenBSD Atheros driver code), and released
    it under another license with extremely minor changes. The license
    are compatible, so you can _use_ BSD code with GPL’ed code, but the
    question here is can you legally (or morally?) _change_ the
    copyright license on something you don’t own the copyright of? The
    legality of this is questionable and it’s not surprising a court
    might have to decide this. As far as the morality of it goes, it
    just seems wrong. Doesn’t it?