pfsense-dev discussion

Eric Radman ericshane at
Thu Mar 6 14:47:42 EST 2014

On Wed, Mar 05, 2014 at 09:14:23AM -0500, George Rosamond wrote:
> So there is a long (and sometimes tiring) discussion on the 
> pfsense-dev list:

> 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.

Right on. The license is vital, but it doesn't _do_ anything; it allows
the rest of the ecosystem to operate and build a community under
well-understood terms.

Rob Landley, the lead on toybox (formerly a busybox maintainer) noted in
his talk at the Embedded Linux Conference 2013 that toybox uses a
BSD-like license now because GPLv3 introduced confusion. The end result
of all their time enforcing the GPL was a pile of patches none of which
were written well enough to be considered a contribution.

The topic is how to structure their company so that that it remains a
viable business. Jim Thompson framed the problem clearly in

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

I don't recall hearing of such a situation, so the answer appears to be
"not likely".

If someone did manage to provide _better_ release engineering and
support than the people who built the product then the founders need to
face down some hard questions; or if they're any good hire the buggers!

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