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Re: FilterProxy and DFSG

On Tue, Mar 13, 2001 at 06:59:28AM -0600, Sam TH wrote:
> There are fundamentally two kinds of licenses applied to software
> today, and they are really very different. In fact, they really aren't
> in the same category at all.  
> The first kind is the kind we know well, such as the GPL. [...]
> The second kind of license is that featured in the Microsoft EULA. [...]

The first kind of license, as far as software is concerned, is probably
getting pretty unique to free software actually, and usually looks like
``once you've got this program, you're allowed to copy it and whatever
provided blahblahblah''.

The second kind of license tends to be identifiable by statements like
``in spite of what you may be thinking, you don't actually own a copy
of this program: what you have in your hands, and paid good money for,
doesn't belong to you, it belongs to Microsoft. What you actually paid
money for, and I don't care what you think, this is the way it is,
is permission to load *our* software onto your computer and make use of
*our* property for these limited reasons''.

For example, from a "Tekram License Agreement" I have handy:

] _OWNERSHIP_. User agrees that User does not have any title or ownership
] of the software, other than ownership of the physical media.

From a Windows 95 "End-User License Agreement for Microsoft Software":

] The SOFTWARE PRODUCT is protected by copyright laws and international
] copyright treaties, as well as other intellecutal property laws and
] treaties. The SOFTWARE PRODUCT is licensed, not sold.

It's probably worth comparing this to Corel's beta testing of Corel
Linux some time ago: iirc, rather than actually giving the software
to their beta-testers, they (I presume) licensed the software to them
instead for a limited period, thus avoiding having to give them access
to the source code, as required by the GPL. (That is, they made copies
of the programs internally, as allowed by the GPL, then licensed the
use of these copies to random people; Corel played nice, and ended the
beta period and gave everyone access to the source, so it's not an issue
there anyway, but I'm not seeing anything stopping it from being an issue)

I'm not really sure Debian's interested in licensing stuff, rather than
just making copies of it. I don't see why you'd want to bother licensing
stuff if you can just make a copy of it for yourself and use that. I don't
really get this.

In fact, I don't really have any understanding of the legal basis for
"licensing" software as it seems to be used in EULA's, so I've got no
idea. Perhaps some lawyers listening would like to expound on the above
or something?


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

``_Any_ increase in interface difficulty, in exchange for a benefit you
  do not understand, cannot perceive, or don't care about, is too much.''
                      -- John S. Novak, III (The Humblest Man on the Net)

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