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Re: If Debian decides that the Gnu Free Doc License is not free then I will be honored to join Stallman and the FSF in the not free section of your distro

On Wed, 23 Apr 2003 22:46:24 +0400
Hans Reiser <reiser@namesys.com> wrote:

> persons like me 
> are concerned that vendors will strip all information about who wrote 
> ReiserFS out except for copyright notices that none of their users
> will see, slap their brand identity onto it, and ship, depriving me of
> all credit for my work on their product. 

We seem to have slalomed across from talking about documentation to
about code, again. Ok.

Whilst I'm not personally advocating taking and re-branding code
(especially if its against upstream's wishes) the "ripping off" that you
speak so vehemently against isn't quite so bad as it may appear. In
fact, it can often be very advantageous to a project.

One could argue that if the "thief" had been unable to re-brand the
code, they never would have used it. If they had to have a prominent
notice advertising "We did not write this, Hans Reiser did" (only 24
times as long) every time their application started, they wouldn't touch
the code with a barge pole. Thus, the code is now in places where it
wouldn't have been before. This means greater penetration, albeit by the
back door.

"Depriving you of all credit" is an exaggeration. There's always going
to be some recognition gained. They cannot remove the copyright notice,
as you say. And again, since the code would not have been used at all if
large, blatant credits were a requirement, the alternative is zero
recognition because they would have done something else instead. They
might gain _more_ reputation from their immediate user-base than you,
but you still gain. And the more clueful hacker types will be the ones
who will read the copyright notices, anyway, and most probably come and
seek you out on their own.

Additionally, having taken the code and rebranded it, a prudent person
is highly unlikely to want to go to the trouble of maintaining the
codebase on their own. Even if they're being especially selfish and
don't want to contribute anything back, they'll definitely file bug
reports on any problems that they or their users find, because they'll
want them to be fixed. Again, net gain through increased testing.

Please note, I don't say that your view is invalid, merely that there is
an alternative view that seems to be quite widely spread. The above
involves sacrificing some very prominent visibility to the users of
those that do accept the more onerous licensing terms, in the hope of
garnering greater penetration, utilisation and development of the code
in the long term. 

> Look at how many companies ripped off squid.

And yet, to the best of my knowledge, Squid have not changed their
license to prevent this recurring in the future. I wonder why?

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