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Re: ITP: openwatcom -- C/C++ compiler and IDE that produce efficient, portable code

Matthew Garrett wrote:
> Ok, but it still needs to be modified. Are you suggesting that the 
> freedom to produce a binary that can't be recompiled by anyone else is a 
> necessary freedom?

I haven't read the license, and I suggest asking on -legal if you want a
full analysis, but the general problems of clauses like that are:

    * Have to distribute source to people I never distributed binaries
      too. So I can't make private modifications for a friend (and give
      source only to him). Nor can I make modifications interesting only
      to my organization (say, to make it run in a special environment
      unique to my organization) unless I distribute source (which is
      useless to anyone else, and which is probably a fair bit of
      additional work to distribute, especially if I don't already have
      a website to do it from.
    * Because I must publicly distribute source, I can not secretly use
      the software. While there is unlikely to be any problem with my
      use of a compiler being known (well, at least not today), in other
      cases this could be a problem: Crypto software, DMCA-circumvention
      devices, etc.
    * In order to keep the source publicly available for 12 months, I
      may have to bear practically unlimited costs: What happens if
      Slashdot links to my website? What happens if it turns out the
      software may violate a patent, copyright, etc? With software e.g.,
      under the GPL, I can limit my expenses/legal exposure by ceasing
      distribution entirely: Take down both the binary and the source.
      With this clause, I may not.

Also, although I'm less sure of the argument, "in order to use this
software, you must provide public access to it's source code" sounds
like demanding a fee to use it.

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