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Re: One unclear point in the Vim license

Henning Makholm wrote:

> Scripsit Bram Moolenaar <Bram@moolenaar.net>
> > You are not allowed to distribute a modified version of Vim when you
> > are not willing to make the source code available to the maintainer
> > or do not want to let him decide what to do with your changes.
> This is non-free according to the normal consensus interpretation of
> the Debian Free Software Guidelines.
> As the minimum, it should be possible for someone to distribute a
> modified version - as binaries and source code together - to a few (or
> many) friends and then never touch the program again, possibly
> deleting it from one's computer completely.

I don't see this as a relevant problem.  The person that distributed the
modified version can ask the people he gave the source code to send me a
copy.  So he can still delete his own copy (although that's unlikely to
happen anyway).  Unless all copies are deleted, including the binaries,
then there is nothing to worry about (the modifications no longer

If someone deletes the sources and keeps the binaries he is in trouble,
and that's how we want it, right?

The simplest solution for the person making the changes is that he sends
me the modified sources just before deleting them.  And that's a nice
way to allow me have a look at them and perhaps include part of them in
the distributed version.

I like the idea that the person making the changes is responsible for
what happens with these changes.  We can't demand people that get a copy
of a modified version to be forced to send me a copy.  And I don't like
the idea of a modified version of Vim being distributed in a closed
circle of people anyway (it's still allowed though, at least until I
find out about the existence of it).

> A quick fix to make the license terms free would be to offer an option
> to change the licence to GPL. The unconditional source disclosure
> rules in the GPL do a pretty good job of making the kinds of abuse you
> probably seek protection against unworkable in practise.

The problem of the GPL is that it doesn't allow further distribution of
a program without providing the sources, and thus it's not all that free
(from the point of view of the programmer).  The Vim license keeps an
opening for a company to make a modified version of Vim and sell it, if
he can agree with me on the conditions.  Thus the Vim license offers
more freedom for people making software (and provide a way to make
money).  And if you want to publish your changed sources, that's allowed
anyway, thus users have the same freedom as with the GPL.

- Bram

The greatest lies of all time:
  (1) The check is in the mail.
  (2) We have a really challenging assignment for you.
  (3) I love you.
  (4) All bugs have been fixed.
  (5) This won't hurt a bit.
  (6) Honey, I just need to debug this program and be home in 5 minutes.
  (7) I have just sent you an e-mail about that.
  (8) Of course I'll respect you in the morning.
  (9) I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you.

 ///  Bram Moolenaar -- Bram@moolenaar.net -- http://www.moolenaar.net  \\\
(((   Creator of Vim -- http://vim.sf.net -- ftp://ftp.vim.org/pub/vim   )))
 \\\  Help me helping AIDS orphans in Uganda - http://iccf-holland.org  ///

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