On 2/1/06, Austin Z. [email protected] wrote:
show me yours" sort of relationship. It ensures that no derivatives can
be anything but GNU GPL. But for any given version of a project, the
licence is perpetual (unless explicitly stated otherwise, and there’s no
open source licence with a time limit).
I am not sure if what I said was clear enough. I mean, the GPL is
meant to be protective of software freedom in general, not just ‘your
I believe in Share and Share-alike. However, things I release to the
community, I know may benefit people in situations the GPL wouldn’t
I would normally use the GPL on it’s own in situations where I wanted
to ensure that any published software using my code was free software
as well. If I were working on commercial free software, for instance,
I would want to preserve my business assets by ensuring that no one
could lock them away under their own facade and then distribute
non-free applications derived from it. There is no better license for
ensuring this than the GPL, and to me, offers protection without the
burden of a proprietary licensing scheme.
However, in the case of writing a library, I’d almost certainly want
to make the library as unencumbered as possible, so a disjunctive
license allowing the choice of whether or not copyleft will apply is a
good way to do that.
It’s not a legal document.
I’m not sure that’s true;
I should have stated this more clearly. It’s not an easily defendable
or well defined legal document. And yes, I am basing this on US laws.
Is this document easily defendable elsewhere? I am curious to know
I would be unsurprised if Matz’s employer’s
lawyers didn’t go over the licence before release.
That is something I am curious about.
You may do anything with this software for any purpose whatsoever
as long as you don’t claim that you wrote it.
That sentence is a licence. It’s a perfectly legal and enforceable
Yes. But licenses can be invalidated if they are not carefully
designed. If a lack of proper definition results in unintended
loopholes, the chance that it will be exploited is much higher.
I suspect there are two reasons it doesn’t qualify as an OSI open source
licence: I do not know if it has ever been submitted for analysis, and
OSI is attempting to reduce the number of available licences to reduce
If people want to call it an open-source license, it should be
submitted for approval.
Otherwise, it’s just a very permissive license, by definition.
I believe it does meet the Open Source Definition, but it does not
meet the Free Software definition. It could with some minor
I don’t care if it’s a “free software” licence; that’s a copyleft
conceit that I find completely useless (and obfuscatory, since the word
“free” is definitely intended to mean something different than it
usually does when applied to copylefted software).
Free as in freedom does apply to non-copylefted licenses.
There are dozens of GPL compatible free software licenses, both
copylefted and non-copylefted. The MIT license you hold so dearly is
one of them. The license of Ruby (with it’s disjunctive choice of the
GPL) is another. Free software licenses simply meet the definition of
Free Software as outlined by the FSF. Which makes no mention of
I, too, would like to see the Ruby source under the current Ruby licence
adapted to an MIT/BSD-style licence + GNU GPL disjunctive licence, but I
see no pressing need for it. I mostly want it to reduce the broad
confusion involving the number of possible licences.
If you mean, “I want my code to remain free forever”, certainly, the
GPL offers the strongest protection for this.
No, it doesn’t. It means “I want my code and all of its possible
derivatives to remain freely available forever.” The MIT/BSD guarantees
that the code will always be free.
But if your code becomes embedded in a number of proprietary
applications without your knowledge, and the clients of these
companies have no clue it’s yours, how free is that code which is
contained in that application?
I understand what you are saying. However, I don’t like the idea of
my code ending up locked in a vault somewhere where someone with more
marketing power than me can put a nice facade on it and basically take
full credit for my work.
I guess this is just a matter of opinion, here.
I’m not trying to be difficult here; I’m trying to correct some
misperceptions that I’ve seen for the last seventeen years (when I first
encountered the GNU GPL in any form). The GNU GPL is a perfectly good
licence if you want to provide a tremendously strong restriction on the
access to source and its derivatives, but it isn’t “more free” than
other licences. (My main problem with the GNU GPL is not its license
provisions; it is tied between (a) the nonsensical preamble which has
political implications that I do not support and (b) the
misappropriation of the concept of “freedom”.)
I reiterate that the GPL is about protecting software freedom, not
granting more or less than any other free software license. And it’s
not just about your software, it’s about software freedom in general.
Many people do not support such a bold cause. To me, that’s fine.
I’m not trying to convert anyone into being copyleft or GPL proponents.
I just don’t like when the GPL is presented as evil or nonsensical.
It’s not. It just has a very precise intention that many find
threatening, but others find as an ethical highground.
That having been said, most rubyists try not to make this decisions
for the users of their software, but let them make the ethical
decision for themselves, by providing software under the Ruby license.
I think we’ve already agreed that this is a good thing.
I do not have interest of stirring the mud about the GPL where it is
not invited. I have defended it on this list whenever someone makes a
broad claim about it, but I simply do not want to fight over something
as subjective as the meaning of the word “freedom” on a public forum.
The signal vs. noise ratio deteriorates rapidly on threads like these,
so if you’d like to continue discussing the nature of the GPL, feel
free to contact me off list.
Otherwise, I think we’ve both made our points and we’ve also offered
the same proposed remedy, so not much more need be said about this.