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Re: software licensing

On Tue, Sep 01, 1998 at 06:12:27PM -0500, Rob Tillotson wrote:
> Jules Bean <jmlb2@hermes.cam.ac.uk> writes:
> > Impossible to enforce legally.  But, if my boss told me not to distribute
> > it, I wouldn't sue him for it, would I?  I'd do what he suggested, to keep
> > my job.
> In that case, it hardly matters what license the software carries --
> if the hypothetical boss is willing to violate the GPL (and all the
> employees willing to stand for it) just because it is convenient to do
> so, then I can hardly imagine him adhering to an even more restrictive
> license (eg. a "no private distribution" one).
> If I was involved in a situation like that, I probably wouldn't sue
> on my own behalf to have the right to distribute the software.  What I
> *would* do is notify the author of the GPL violation, so that he could
> pursue his rights against my boss, if he so desired.  (I'm not sure
> they employee would even have a right to sue, but the author of the
> GPLed program certainly would, if the license were violated.)
> > [In fact, I wouldn't work for that kind of boss, and I freelance
> > anyway - I'm being hypothetical]
> Me too, although I *have* had to work for that kind of boss.  Much
> worse, actually; the amount and range of unethical behavior in this
> particular workplace was staggering...

Personally I don't see how this can possibly be legally enforcable...
and in the case of the GPL...I don't see that it would even violate the

The GPL simply says as I have read it that if you distribute the program
in any form you MUST also distribute the source code. It also says
that if you modify the source and re-distribute it, then the same
goes for your modified version.

The GPL (AFAIK) does NOT say that you can't decide to NOT distribute it.
(how many negatives cna I squeeze into a sentance?)

This sounds to me almost like saying that, last night I modified
the kernel source for 2.1.119 because it wouldn't compile...I never
distributed my modified code (and have no intention to...I am sure its
probably already been fixed) ....so am I to believe that I am violating
the licence because I am keeping my modifications?

Likewise...if a company was using a piece of free software and modified
it to suit their needs...noone disputes that this is wrong....but
if they decide not to re-distribute it...isn't that their perogative?
(maybe they don't have very good internet acess?)

I will agree...if the modifications they make are worthwile to others, or
important bug fixes, it is certainly bad form, even sometimes
downright rude to not let people know and hav ethe source but...
if they don't distribute it outside of their own company...I can't
see how they are "Wrong" to do it.

/* -- Stephen Carpenter <sjc@delphi.com> --- <sjc@debian.org>------------ */
E-mail "Bumper Stickers":
"A FREE America or a Drug-Free America: You can't have both!"
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