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Why you should use a BSD style license for your Open Source Project
<email>brucem@alumni.cse.ucsc.edu</email>
<personname><firstname>Bruce</firstname><surname>Montague</surname></personname><affiliation> <_:address-1/> </affiliation>
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$FreeBSD: head/en_US.ISO8859-1/articles/bsdl-gpl/article.xml 53942 2020-03-01 12:23:40Z carlavilla $
Introduction
This document makes a case for using a BSD style license for software and data; specifically it recommends using a BSD style license in place of the GPL. It can also be read as a BSD versus GPL Open Source License introduction and summary.
Very Brief Open Source History
Long before the term <quote>Open Source</quote> was used, software was developed by loose associations of programmers and freely exchanged. Starting in the early 1950's, organizations such as <link xlink:href="http://www.share.org">SHARE</link> and <link xlink:href="http://www.decus.org">DECUS</link> developed much of the software that computer hardware companies bundled with their hardware offerings. At that time computer companies were in the hardware business; anything that reduced software cost and made more programs available made the hardware companies more competitive.
This model changed in the 1960's. In 1965 ADR developed the first licensed software product independent of a hardware company. ADR was competing against a free IBM package originally developed by IBM customers. ADR patented their software in 1968. To stop sharing of their program, they provided it under an equipment lease in which payment was spread over the lifetime of the product. ADR thus retained ownership and could control resale and reuse.
In 1969 the US Department of Justice charged IBM with destroying businesses by bundling free software with IBM hardware. As a result of this suit, IBM unbundled its software; that is, software became independent products separate from hardware.
In 1968 Informatics introduced the first commercial killer-app and rapidly established the concept of the software product, the software company, and very high rates of return. Informatics developed the perpetual license which is now standard throughout the computer industry, wherein ownership is never transferred to the customer.
Unix from a BSD Licensing Perspective
AT&amp;T, who owned the original Unix implementation, was a publicly regulated monopoly tied up in anti-trust court; it was legally unable to sell a product into the software market. It was, however, able to provide it to academic institutions for the price of media.
Universities rapidly adopted Unix after an OS conference publicized its availability. It was extremely helpful that Unix ran on the PDP-11, a very affordable 16-bit computer, and was coded in a high-level language that was demonstrably good for systems programming. The DEC PDP-11 had, in effect, an open hardware interface designed to make it easy for customers to write their own OS, which was common. As DEC founder Ken Olsen famously proclaimed, <quote>software comes from heaven when you have good hardware</quote>.

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Source string comment
(itstool) path: affiliation/address
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no-wrap, read-only
Source string location
article.translate.xml:9
String age
a year ago
Source string age
a year ago
Translation file
articles/bsdl-gpl.pot, string 3