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Re: Recently released QPL

> This is not quite accurate. Those licenses are not restrictive enough in a
> certain sense.
> See, what you consider to be a problem can be interpretated as an advantage.
> If somebody writes Free Software, and wants to make absolutely sure that it
> stays free, he can use the GPL. This way, all additions will also be GPL'ed,
> and this will result in real extension. Otherwise, in your model, one could
> write additions to the software in more liberal terms, and those additions
> may be non-free, which results in a real mess of different licenses.
> Note that someone who writes extensions to GPL code already has the option
> to license his seperate work in multiple ways, so this is actually no
> argument against the GPL: Simply license your additions under the GPL AND
> any other license you like.

you seem to be missing my point: those licenses are considered free. other
licenses have compatibility issues which cause certain good things not to
happen. in my opinion, this is a unilaterally bad thing. i think that anyone
who thinks non-copylefted software can be free (this includes all debian
developers, at least all honest ones, as there is an explicit acceptance of
the social contract in the process of becoming a developer, and the social
contract explicitly endorses the dfsg) should realize that by placing code
under a restrictive license he may be doing a disservice to the free
software community by making his code unusable to some of it. the argument
that anybody can make use of gpl software by colicensing under the gpl is
circular: what if they just don't want to? then they're screwed.

<the temptation to use an analogy here is rather large, but i will resist,
for that way lies madness. ;)>

> This is well known, but is not limited to GPL. Other licenses are
> incompatible, too. What about Artistic and NPL? I haven't checked that, but
> still. What about NPL/QPL? Has anybody checked that? Have you checked all
> combinations of dfsg free licenses for compatibility?

you are correct; i'm picking on the gpl alone here. there may well be other
licences with the same or similar problems. however the gpl is, i think, the
most popular of these licenses by far, and it's the only license in
/usr/share/common-licenses on a debian box that has this problem; all the
others allow use with proprietary software and thus are not restrictive
enough for many people. this is why i proposed a new license.

> Again, you are missing the solution of multiple licenses. It is always the
> author of a software who decides how to license his work. People who choose
> the GPL choose a very restrictive license, right. But it is still dfsg free.

it is free; i never claimed otherwise. i will not dissuade you from using
the gpl, if that is what you want to do. i will, however, still claim that
it causes problems. it does. by contrast, you should realize that not
everybody will want to release their software under your preferred license,
even in parallel with another license. their reasons are their own, and it
is not right to force anything upon them; merely to suggest.

> This is a good point, and shows that the libreadline authors are pretty
> strong about Free Software. They want to make sure the copyleft will carry
> on through all versions of libreadline and all programs which use it. Is
> this unreasonable? i don't think so? Is it incompatible with free

i am sorry if i gave the impression that i think the gpl is the root of all
evil. i don't. i do, however, note once again that things under the gpl do
pose problems for a variety of licenses, each of which is out there because
the author of some bit of software felt it was the right thing for his work.

> licenses like BSD and Artistic? Yes, unfortunately.

exactly... it's unfortunate, and i think that for many people who put their
work under the gpl simply because it is well-known there is a better

> What's the rational argument here? I must have missed it. [this is not
> trolling. I really don't know what you mean]

i provided a very detailed description of the compatibility problem and its
significant harm to the free software community. you must have noticed it
because you made some reasonable responses, as quoted above. my comment
about zealotry is there because previous similar complaints about the gpl
met with things like "well everyone should just use the gpl, and then there
would be no problem. it's the other licenses that cause the problem." this
bothers me a lot. many famous instances of people deciding "well everyone
should just <...>; it's the people who don't who cause the problem" have
led to decades-long oppressive reigns and the deaths of millions of people.

<nb: i'm not comparing anyone on this list to these people, nor am i taking
said historic occurences lightly, so please fail to flame me for doing that.
i was merely pointing out the fallacy inherent in this kind of statement, on
any scale and in any area.>

> Do you consider it a problem that the GPL is incompatible with other DFSG
> free licenses? Personally, I see your point, but I don't agree that this is
> a problem.

yes; it's a problem for anyone who wants to do the maximum possible service
to the free software community with his work, but doesn't want it to fall
into proprietary hands. i know there are at least two such people on this
very mailing list. if you don't think it's a problem, great, release all
your work under the gpl. but please don't deny us our right to have issue
with it.

> So what? What do you want to have changed? Do you want the GPL to change? Do
> you want the DFSG to change? Somehow I am missing a goal in this discussion.

i like the dfsg. i want to expose an imho major problem with the gpl, in the
hopes that future authors will consider more carefully before putting a work
that i might want to use in conjunction with some incompatible license. i am
continuing this thread because my exposition has led to debate; i consider
debate an end of its own while it remains civil and potentially enlightening
to its participants and others. if and when it degenerates into a flamewar
(just imagine. i thought "my os is better than your os" contests were silly.
now that i'm on debian-legal, i'm witnessing "my free license is better than
yours" flamewars that get just as hot. when i sit back and think, that's
amazingly funny. ;) i will stop perpetuating it.

> What is better for you may be worse for me. I would welcome any effort to
> write such a license, but I would not use it, simply because I like the
> viral effect to be as strong as possible. i would consider to license the
> code under multiple licenses, though, if I consider it to be useful in a
> particular situation (I would even consider this new license for such an
> alternative license).

i consider that paragraph a resounding success on my part. never would
i dream of asking you to do with your code what you don't want, but i
am glad that i managed to get you thinking about the subject.

> Yes, it's nice, but here is the problem. The DFSG is legally pretty much
> unuseful as a definition for Free Software.
> In the GPL sense, only GPL software is Free Software. We have to accept
> that. In your suggested license, the hardest part would be to determine an
> exact legal definition of free.

well, that would depend on what software counts as worthy enough in the
eyes of the license author to share in his code. two popular selections,
everything and gpl'd software, are covered by popular licenses (x/bsd-like
and the gpl, respectively). i think the dfsg provides a nice middle ground,
because all the things that free software authors want to maintain are part
of the dfsg. 

> What a threat. (sorry :)

;) well it worked; i haven't been flamed yet.

"Reasoning is partly insane" --Rush, "Anagram (for Mongo)"
PGP 5.0 key (0xE024447449) at http://cif.rochester.edu/~phouchg/pgpkey.txt

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