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Re: PBS License

On 17 Jul 2001, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:

>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.

No, the point is that we assume a hostile grantor of the license.  Thus
the construal is one that may be used against Debian or it's distributors.

>> 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.

What happens to code released under the original license then, does it
just dry up and blow away?  Take a look at:


They have to notify EVERYBODY that clicked on the "i agree" button before
the old license gets terminated, and notification may not be less than TWO
YEARS before the date of termination.  We can reopen this conversation in
2003 if you like, but ATM the license is as written.

Secondly, code can always be moved from non-free to main based on new
licensure.  Debian CANNOT survive a copyright infringement suit because of
improper due diligence on the part of d-l.

>> 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".

Right, and the license was read with no thought of the construal of the
terms.  And I'm doing....what?

>> 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

The Artistic license was listed in the DFSG as a free license!  The DFSG
would need to be changed to get around that fact.

>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.

NUTS!  It happened LONG after Wall released Perl under the GPL only!  In
fact, it happened LONG after Wall assigned his rights to CPAN.

>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 DFSG 3 says "under the same terms as the original": it doesn't say
"for free".

>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.

Ummm, no.  Are you that confused about derivative works that you think
that bouncing it from author to distributor changes the fact that it's a
modification?  The only one that can get around the fact that it's a
modification is Veridian, since they hold the rights to the original code.

>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

NO!  The modifications can be released "without restriction".  What part
of that are you missing?  THE LICENSE IS A RESTRICTION!

>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.

The early worm gets the bird.

Who is John Galt?  galt@inconnu.isu.edu, that's who!

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