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Re: Would this comply with DFSG?

On Fri, Jan 08, 1999 at 02:08:55AM +0100, Henning Makholm wrote:
> john@dhh.gt.org writes:
> > Henning Makholm writes:
> > |    ii - making an honest attempt at communicating your
> > |         modifications to [us], e.g., by sending them by
> > |         email [...] You may distribute your modified
> > |         version even if you have not got a response yet,
> > |         or even if you have been forced to give up trying
> > |         to contact us. But you have to at least have *tried*.
> > No.
> I.e, in addition to letting people fork our project (which I realize
> could be necessary e.g. when our grant expires if we can not fund
> further development man-hours), we must let them fork our project
> and keep that a secret from us.
> Why on earth?

Because not every modification is a fork in progress -- if someone uploads
a new Debian package changing a manpage to use "their" instead of "there",
you have to be notified. This is inconvenient for both us and (when your
software becomes incredibly popular) you.

Because "honest attempt" is a little bit... vague. Is yelling out across
the street "Hey, are the authors of FooBar about!?" an honest attempt at
getting in contact with you? What happens if your policy on email changes,
and you start only accepting email that has an ecash postage stamp (to
filter out spam), and ordinary email just gets dumped -- just think, you
could ramp up the ecash fee to $20 or something and effectively get paid
for other people modifying your program.

Basically we don't like clauses that inflict a "fee" on redistribution,
whether it be monetary, or postcardware like the above. (Having something
that says "If you make significant modifications, please contact foo@bar
so that the changes can be considered for the next official release"
or something similar in the license -- "you might like to" instead of
"you must" is quite acceptable, btw, and probably close to as useful)

I'd have thought a better bet for this would be to ensure that if they
*do* fork your project, when you find out about it (they start hitting
the popular press), they should be obligated to let you use their
modifications, just as you let them use your original. The GPL's good at
this (for purely free projects), and the (as yet unfinished) QPL or MPL
(for projects with both free and commercial aims) seem to be too.



Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. PGP encrypted mail preferred.

``Like the ski resort of girls looking for husbands and husbands looking
  for girls, the situation is not as symmetrical as it might seem.''

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