Re: Selling Artistic License Software (WAS: Re: non-DFSG section and CD distributers)
On Sat, 15 Nov 1997, Bruce Perens wrote:
> From: Dale Scheetz <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> > I understand completely how this works, but the principle is flawed.
> > You have to ask yourself, "If all software were licensed under these terms
> > would it be free?". My answer would be no, because there would be no
> > "software that can be sold" to "aggregate" with.
> This argument is invalid because nothing prevents you from creating such
The argument insists that this not be an allowed option, for the sake of
the argument. This method of decission is one I use in my life, and it
works very well. If you are about to take an action that you are uncertain
about, ask yourself, "Would this work and be fair to all concerned if
everyone took this action?"
Using this principle it is very easy to decide whether it is "right" to
throw a single paper cup out the window of your moving vehicle, or take
someone elses property, help someone in need, provide software that is
free, or anything else that I have come up against in my life.
It seems perfectly appropriate to apply this principle to a software
license as a means of clarifying just how propper such a license might be.
> > This license specifically says, "you can not sell this software". It
> > provides loopholes, like aggregation, copying fees and support, as avenues
> > for making money, but I view them as slightly dishonest. The "can not
> > sell" clause is a distribution restriction, and for me, makes the package
> > less free.
> Well, they do state a license provision and immediately invalidate it.
> I would call it sloppy rather than dishonest. It is no doubt the result of a
> compromise between parties drawing up the license.
Well, I did say "slightly". I don't have any problem reconciling sloppy
with slightly dishonest, and I also understand compromise, as do you,
given the amount of compromise that went into the DFSG. (All valuable in
My current view is that it is only because there is a GPL that the
Artistic License can be considered at all free. I'm pragmatic enough to
accept these compromises as a functional optimum. The discussion above was
a reflection of my "ideals". As most who live long enough discover, ideals
are goals that aren't always attainable. That doesn't mean my ideals
aren't intact ;-)
aka Dale Scheetz Phone: 1 (904) 656-9769
Flexible Software 11000 McCrackin Road
e-mail: email@example.com Tallahassee, FL 32308
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