[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: PBS License

John Galt <galt@inconnu.isu.edu> writes:

> Yes, I am trying to misread the license.  Worse yet, I'm succeeding.

Hrm.  Maybe you're actually Yogi Berra redivivus.  

> Clause 5 is capable of being construed in a manner that denies the right
> of modification.  

The point is not whether it is capable of such a construal, but
whether that is the natural construal.

> This, coupled with the choice of law clause placing it in a UCTIA
> state, makes it unsuitable for main.  BTW, the authors have already
> spoken, and the license is what they said.  There is no further need
> for their input.  

I think that's not true; certainly it is often possible to negotiate
with authors and ask them to change or clarify their license.

> To be precise, their input is actually detrimental: they might
> explain away a flaw and then engage in a "stealth" attack.  Remember
> UW and Pine?

Um, yes, actually I do.  UW never made a representation that it later
denied.  It was not then clear that we needed separate permission to
distribute modified versions.  It's not that we asked them and they
said "fine", it's that we never asked, and then they said "um, nope".

> No, it's not the point, the point is that you're engaging in behaviors you
> call in others impeding.  The self same behavior you used in the
> case of the DFSG-free-by-definition Artistic license is now the behavior
> you damn in my use in the case of the questionably-DFSG-free PBS.  They
> have a word for that kind of personality trait: hypocrisy.

Sometimes questioning the free status of a license is very important.
Sometimes it is merely impeding the project from making forward
progress.  It depends on the exact details of the situation.  The
Artistic license was ambiguous in certain ways that needed
examination.  Moreover, we knew the authors, and we knew they were
supporters of free software, and questioning the license served the
worthwhile goal of getting a clearer license out of them.

It is my opinion that the OpenPBS license (after the flag day passes)
is DFSG free.  Here's why.  If I want to release a change to the code,
a modified version, I must release it free for everyone with no

But then it's public domain.  And hey!  If it's public domain, it has
*no restrictions*, and so absolutely anyone can do something like, oh,
say, add it to OpenPBS and distribute the combined total product under
the OpenPBS license.  

I don't believe it's GPL compatible for this reason, but that doesn't
make it non-free.  A modified version can be released under the terms
of the original license (all that dfsg requires), as long as the
person doing so places their changes in the public domain.  But they
can do that, and if they do it, then they are able to release the
combined product under the PBS license.


Reply to: