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Re: Comments on copyright !

[ Please don't Cc: me when replying to this message on a mailing list ]

Bruce Perens <bruce@pixar.com> writes:

> I would like to codify my proposed free-software definition as project
> policy [...] Dan Quinlan (who will be interim project leader while I'm
> gone) does seem to share my viewpoint on this issue.

Here's a good rule of thumb:

   If the license is more restrictive in any way than the GPL, the BSD
   license.  Some programs may include "Artistic control" restrictions
   as long as they are no more restrictive than the Perl Artistic license
   (minus the fee restriction).

   For library code, substitute "LGPL" for "GPL".
> [...] Here again is my proposed guidline for free software. [...]
> 1. The software may be redistributed by anyone. The license may restrict
>    a source file from being distributed in modified form, as long as it
>    allows modified binary files, and files that are distributed along
>    with the source for the express purpose of modifying the source.

We should be able to distribute modified source files as long as we mark
all of our modifications and make other reasonable concessions.
Otherwise, you end up with the Minix problem -- the patches are larger
than the original source.
> 3. The license must not discriminate against any person or group of
>     persons unless their use would violate a law.

What if the law is wrong?  What if the law is in a different country?
Let's just say that the license may not discriminate against any person or
any group of persons.  I believe that contractual law generally covers
illegal acts.

Too many licenses are written by people without any legal background, or
worse, without a clue or with an axe to grind.  We need to explain *why*
our policy is as it is.


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