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[gfsd]bug in gpl

From: xplugues
Subject: [gfsd]bug in gpl
Date: Tue, 27 Aug 2002 01:55:55 -0400

see, I find in your page (link)...Ahhh, have a bug in the GPL? 
####cut here#####################
I have ended development and distribution of all my open source projects that 
were covered by the GNU Public License due to concerns about a serious flaw in 
that license. Most of my actively-developed programs were covered by the GPL.

The flaw in question is that any unethical company can effectively take a GPL'd 
program, slap its name onto that program (e.g. KWrite becomes SonyWrite), and 
thereby pretend that it paid programmers to write the program (which is fraud).

Granted, technically-inclined users will discover immediately in the fine print 
that the program is covered by the GPL and used to be called XYZ, however 
everyone knows that the typical non-technical user never reads the fine print, 
and such users will believe the program was written by the unethical company. is a perfect example of a company that is committing fraud by 
program renaming.

Thus any bad company can use the GPL to effectively exploit well-meaning 
programmers for free labor, which makes the GPL a worker-unfriendly, 
bad-management-friendly license. Furthermore because the GPL is unfair to 
programmers, it provides them with a disincentive to debug and add features to 
their software, so the GPL is also bad for users and consumers.

I attempted to bring the issue of the GPL's flaw to the attention of the Free 
Software Foundation. They initially ignored my question, then offered some very 
poor reasoning why it was OK, then ignored my emails. I asked Richard Stallman 
about it, who refused to either change the GPL or to provide an alternate 

If it is the case that they are aware of the flaw and yet refuse to repair the 
license, it is reasonable to suppose that they were aware of it from the start 
and that they are intentionally permitting businesses to abuse well-intending 
programmers and hijack their software.

Again most of my programs were covered by the GPL, so I am hereby ending those 
projects. I have heard a rumor that it is possible to simply remove the GPL 
from a program and then release it under another license, however upon reading 
the GPL carefully it appears that that solution is specifically prohibited.

Do note, some of my projects were never covered by the GPL, in particular 
Tuorfa, and I may yet release those later, but they will never be covered by 
the GPL.

If you have a copy of one of my GPL-afflicted programs and have a feature 
request or a bug report or patch, please don't contact me about it. Sorry for 
the inconvenience.

Prospective employers may still view my GPL'd software upon request.


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