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Re: Dangerous precedent being set - possible serious violation of the GPL

On Wed, 1 Dec 1999, Joseph Carter wrote:

> Perhaps before suggesting that the DFSG is too lenient you should actually
> read it first and second figure out what exactly it allows that is too
> lenient.  I admit I'm curious, however I'm more or less convinced by the
> tone of your message (and all of your messages in this thread) that what
> you really want is to make your distribution completely non-free by the
> standards set by the DFSG (and consiquently those set by the FSF too..)

I'm merely suggesting that people with money (and little to nothing
else) in mind are using GPLd software to do all sorts of exceedingly nasty
things. Things that violate, IMHO, the spirit of the GPL, while they may
not at all violate the letter. The GPL is all about openness; Corel's
actions here show quite clearly that they are all about money, and
openness seems to be added only as an afterthought, and perhaps not as
fully as it ought to be. The fact that there's a very Microsoftian EULA to
agree to, complete with age-based restriction and lots of nice legalbabble
about people holding "all rights" to everything involved, and the fact
that many other people are using free software to make things which, while
they might not be non-free, are designed craftily to give the impression
that they -are- non-free (witness how few people download Red Hat as
opposed to buying it in a store-- I'd wager that would you take a poll of
any 25,000 of 'em, at least half would believe that giving a copy of Red
Hat to their friends would be 'piracy', and perhaps even more would be
unable to tell the free software from the non-free software...

I suppose that what I wish to see is more than just free software-- it's
EXPLOITATION-free software. Software whose license is designed in such a
way that makes it impossible-- or as damned difficult as possible-- to use
for advancing the cause of proprietary information, and equally
difficult/impossible to masquerade as proprietary information. (I.e. it
would be required that all of the users' rights by the terms of said
license, unaltered and unamended, be placed atop the documentation for any
software derived from the original sources...)

Or-- I'll be quite blunt. The free software world was gaining ground until
a certain band of business-centric individuals, led by a certain man named
Eric, started shifting the focus from freedom to marketing. The resulting
movement, the "Open Source Initiative", opened the floodgates of a new
wave of company who smell money in the ever-growing ranks of GNU/Linux
users, and are ready, willing, able and enthusiastic to rape the free
software community for its monetary worth. Meanwhile, while Red Hat
installations indiscriminately mix free and non-free software and vie with
Win98 for the biggest minimum install, crashiest OS and biggest minimum
RAM requirements, Corel starts disallowing kids from downloading its hot
new OS, and countless other companies leech off of the work of the great
free software luminaries like RMS, the ranks of those who actually care
about free software's core principle-- FREEDOM-- are dwindling ever
smaller, if not by raw numbers then by percentages. They are getting
drowned out by a massive tidal wave of commercialism that is threatening
to destroy the GNU dream and bring us to a world where rather than being
overtly proprietary, a la Microsoft's software, the software that most
people uses will be pseudo-open/free, but in reality have just as many (or
at least -almost- as many) restrictions on its use, downloading and
redistribution as traditional proprietary software. People like Corel are
nibbling at the edges of what it takes to be "free software", and crap
like this EULA serve as wonderful examples of where their intentions lie.

Thus, I am wondering if anything can be done. Can there not be a license
made so that a given piece of software cannot be used to fill the pockets
of greedy people-- or at least so that it would be exceedingly difficult
to do so?


> -- 
> - Joseph Carter         GnuPG public key:   1024D/DCF9DAB3, 2048g/3F9C2A43
> - knghtbrd@debian.org   20F6 2261 F185 7A3E 79FC  44F9 8FF7 D7A3 DCF9 DAB3
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> <RoboHak> hmm, lunch does sound like a good idea
> <Knghtbrd> would taste like a good idea too

 = Jon "Caspian" Blank,  right-brained computer programmer at large =
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