pfsense-dev discussion

George Rosamond george at
Wed Mar 5 09:14:23 EST 2014

So there is a long (and sometimes tiring) discussion on the pfsense-dev

You could even go back to February if you are not exhausted by March :)

It's a bit perplexing, but some points shout out loud and clear to me.

Chris makes what is probably an offhand comment about how they should
have licensed as GPLv2.  Outside the question of how you take a FreeBSD
system with pf and make it GPL is outside my legal areas of expertise
(which even more nil outside of that), the license is clearly a
side-casualty in the conversation.

Chris is by all means "one of us."  Some of us have known him since they
launched the project, and have enormous respect for him.  Keep that in mind.

While I wouldn't take the whole thread and focus on the license comment,
I also think the BSD license, and more importantly, the enormous user
base of pfSense, protects them *in practice* against some (likely) kid
taking the github repo and rebranding it.

They have the trademark on pfSense, and attribution is a core part of
the BSD license.

Are they really threatened by cases such as that?  I find the license
very much secondary.

Could someone really take a well-known BSD-licensed project, rerelease
as their own with the same name, sucking down changes from their public
repo, and really be a threat?  Outside of the clear trademark issue, I
don't get it.

Seems like yet another test case for the relation between an open source
project and the related business services more than anything to me.
There's lots of GPL examples (in which the related business often
ignores the license), but it would seem the discussions aren't open and
generalized enough in our scene.


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