Ruby Project Ditches GPL in Favour of BSD

Gareth Halfacree | Thinq_ | October 30, 2011

Ruby 1.9.3-p0, the first release in the new stable series, was released last night, but in addition to several new features and improvements - including better support for library loading, and locking in multi-threaded programs and support for Unicode 6.0 - comes with a change in licensing.

Previously, Ruby has been made available under a dual-licence scheme which allowed users to choose between a dedicated Ruby licence or the GNU General Public Licence v2. The new release, however, ditches the GPLv2 in favour of a two-clause BSD licence, while keeping the traditional dedicated Ruby licence intact.

GPL, one of the most common free software licences around, has been under increasing attack over the last decade. Microsoft head Steve Ballmer notoriously described it as a 'cancer' in 2001, while senior VP Craig Mundie accused it of being 'viral' in nature.

More recently, open source advocates the FreeBSD project have accused the GPL of being "very favourable to large companies that want to undercut software companies [and is] well suited for use as a marketing weapon, potentially reducing overall economic benefit and contributing to monopolistic behaviour."...

Open Health News' Take: 

Thsi is a major event for the open source community. Ruby has become one of the leading open source programming languages over the past few years. Although the community is keeping mum regarding the decision to adopt a BSD license, it is clearly part of a widespread migration of major projects away from the GPL. This migration is the result of a series of buy outs of major open source projects by transnational corporations. The GPL has allowed those transnational companies to turn those open source projects into monopolies.