You suppose that a developer fervently believes that the best growth strategy for their software is to license it under a collaborative model, where the incentive for other developers to contribute their time and work (often for free) is to ensure that anyone of collaborators and users will be under the same rules under the same conditions.
Anyone is free to disagree about whether or not that model is good, useful, or whether or not it will be successful. But that dissent is not an excuse to break the license and go against the desire of developers who do believe in this collaborative model. Anyone who does not agree with the obligations imposed by the model is always free not to use anything related to that software.
So, are these developers in vulnerable conditions about respecting their wishes and respecting the chosen model?
Is this true?
Note that this class of models not only involves developers, but also users. For my part if this is true, I do not wish to continue to involve myself with a model that can be broken simply by the own particular interests of a third party. I am not a developer. I am a simple user, beta tester and I provide some support in forums (not very important really). The community doesn’t really lose anything by my departure, but just saying.
GPL license is chosen by those who want a software development model in a collaborative way, where all collaborators who contributed time from their work are assured that all will be on an equal footing with regard to giving and taking, in a fair system for the participants.
Stallman also addressed the propagating nature of the GPL, saying: “Whoever wishes to copy parts of our software into his program must let us use parts of that program in our programs. Nobody is forced to join our club, but those who wish to participate must offer us the same cooperation they receive from us. That makes the system fair.”
Contrary to what many believe, the GPL license has little to do with the idealization of the concept of “freedom” in the sense that anyone can do with the software/code/project what they want, it is much more a license with wanted restrictions and obligations that imposes a development model to guarantee the “give and take” under equal conditions for participants:
The fundamental property of the GPLv2 is a very simple “tit-for-tat” model: I’ll give you my improvements, if you promise to give your improvements back.