Re: DRAFT: debian-legal summary of the QPL
Josh Triplett <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>Matthew Garrett wrote:
>> The GPL makes it illegal for me to provide copies of GPLed source to
>> others in hostile patent environments. That's certainly hurting people
>> we want to care about.
>In that circumstance, *patents* are hurting people, not the GPL.
>Obviously, the details depend on what restrictions the patent holder
>imposes, but you most likely will not be able to provide copies of
>MIT-licensed software in the same circumstance, at least not under the
Not quite. Clause 7 of the GPL explicitly says "If you can't satisfy all
of these requirements, the entire license is void". By losing a single
freedom, you lose all of them. The GPL is written in order to cause
further hurt to people who are hurt by something out of their control.
It's written that way in order to protect people further down the line,
but the effect is the same.
>> I'm still not sold on why a requirement to provide source back upstream
>> is a significant hinderence. The only people it hurts are people who
>> don't want to share with the rest of the community.
>That argument can be applied many ways: "The only people mandatory key
>escrow hurts are those who don't want to share their private email
>messages with the rest of the community." You have to draw the privacy
Putting it there gives the users a higher priority than the authors of
free software. I'm not sure that's an obvious place to put it.
>Consider also the case of a script that says "Edit the variables at the
>top to customize for your site." (or any program who's configuration
>file is covered under the same license as the rest of the software).
>Should I be required to provide the changes that involve adding a
>username and password to the script or config file? If you start
>allowing licenses that prohibit private modifications, you would need to
>consider such cases.
Since it would be relatively trivial to modify the script to read those
in from external files, that's an awkwardness rather than a problem.
>At the end of the day, Free Software is about granting freedom to the
>users of that software. A copyleft requirement helps preserve those
>user's freedoms. A requirement to send source upstream does not further
>the goal of preserving those user's freedoms in any way; instead, it
>infringes on that freedom in order to further the author's goal of
>advancing their own software. This is not to say that the author's goal
>is unreasonable, only that the particular means of doing so would be.
Copyleft is merely one facet of free software, but it's notable that it
/does/ restrict user's freedoms (the freedom to distribute without
source) in order to ensure that other users are free to receive source.
The QPL restricts the freedom to distribute amongst a subset of the
population in order to ensure that those modifications can be received
>Would you argue that a requirement to send modifications upstream that
>are not distributed at all would be Free? If not, then why should that
>change if you distribute the software privately to one other person?
No, since undistributed modification is protected by fair use in many
places. Attempting to restrict something that's commonly legal would be
outside the bounds of a free license.
Matthew Garrett | email@example.com