[Haskell-cafe] GPL answers from the SFLC (WAS: Re: ANN: hakyll-0.1)

Kevin Jardine kevinjardine at yahoo.com
Fri Mar 5 02:53:56 EST 2010

I'm a Haskell newbie but long time open source developer and I've been following this thread with some interest.

The GPL is not just a license - it is a form of social engineering and social contract. The idea if I use the GPL is that I am releasing free and open source software to the community. You are welcome to use it for any purpose but in exchange you must also agree to release any software you create that uses my software as free and open source.

That is the difference between GPL and BSD type licenses. The GPL very deliberately creates an obligation. Yes, that can be inconvenient. It is meant to be inconvenient.

Actually the GPL reminds me of a Haskell concept that I am struggling with right now - the monad. When I started writing Haskell code I was always trying to mix pure and IO code and I soon learned that once I used the IO monad I was stuck within it. The monad creates an inconvenient obligation and any IO code can only be used within other IO code. There are good reasons for monads (just as, in my view, there are good reasons for the GPL) but using them means that I need to make a lot of changes to the way I write software.



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