Obligation at bottom of open source incline

At the bottom of what I call the open source incline, in the GPL license, is the highly-controversial idea of freedom as an obligation. You get this code, you can see it and improve it, but you have the obligation to return those improvements through the GPL. Critics of open source often call this communism. I call it patriotism.

TBass at Mount Hood detail
On this Memorial Day weekend I'd like to approach the controversial question of free software.

Not free as in free beer, but free as in granting liberty.

At the bottom of what I call the open source incline, in the GPL license, is the highly-controversial idea of freedom as an obligation. You get this code, you can see it and improve it, but you have the obligation to return those improvements through the GPL.

Critics of open source often call this communism. I call it patriotism.

Freedom is an obligation. Freedom isn't free. Our men and women in uniform know this keenly. Many will die this weekend, and we will be told it is to keep us free.

Whatever people think about the present conflict, none dare criticize the troops. We honor them, I believe less than we should.

This has everything to do with the GPL. It's the only license which recognizes freedom as an obligation, not to any specific vendor, but to the ideals of open source.

Steadily, over time, vendors who first saw open source as a code giveaway are moving toward this license, for just this reason. They want those who take their code to remain obligated, rather than use it as raw material against them.  

Pictured is a close family friend, Marine veteran James Thomas Bass, known to his godchildren as tbass. Semper fi, Tommy.