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Re: One unclear point in the Vim license

Branden Robinson wrote:

> If there's nothing else objectionable to you about the GPL, then it
> sounds like one easy way out of this tedious thread would be just to GPL
> Vim and add a section to your copyright boilerplate:
>   Alternative licensing terms are available; contact
>   <maintainer@vim.org> to negotiate terms.

The problem with this is that it's not really fair towards people who
help me developing Vim.  I want it to be clear what can happen with the
source code they contribute.  Just mentioning that "anything can happen"
with the license isn't a good idea, in my opinion.

Also, I prefer people making changes to send me a copy directly.  This
stimulates the further development.  The license is the right place to
make this clear.

> > Neither the GPL nor the Vim license explicitly require you to keep the
> > changes around.  Only in specific cases you might have to keep a copy
> > as a consequence of choices you make.  With the GPL you also get into
> > this situation if you give someone only the executable.  Then you need
> > to allow the user to get the source code later, thus you need to keep a
> > copy.
> Or just tell them where to find it at the time you give them the
> executable.  If they don't avail themselves of that opportunity at that
> time, that's their problem, at least as long as you yourself don't cause
> that resource to become unavailable.

That's the same for Vim: Just tell me where I can find the source code.
The only difference I can see is that clause about restricting this to
three years.

> No, you can always sue them in court.  If they don't respond to the
> summons they won't be represented.

Sue them for what?  The damages they have done to the free software
world?  That doesn't make much sense.  I don't think I would be able to
sue them for anything but making the source code available to me.  Don't
want to waste money on that!

I don't think a court would ever get involved.  That's a good reason not
to spend too much time on this license.  It's only to avoid that
someting bad will happen (like the guy that took Elvis and make Lemmy
out of it, keeping the source code for himself).

> > If you don't want to explain your point then it doesn't make sense to
> > continue this discussion.  You didn't mention the part of the DFSG that
> > the Vim license would not meet.
> Debian reserves the right to reject licenses as non-free without having
> to cite a specific clause of the DFSG as basis.

It is a lot friendlier if you just tell me what the problem is...

> This should be done sparingly, of course.  However, read broadly, I
> can see most objectionable licensing terms (hypothetical and
> otherwise) as violating DFSG 1:
> 	Free Redistribution
> 	The license of a Debian component may not restrict any party
> 	from selling or giving away the software as a component of an
> 	aggregate software distribution containing programs from several
> 	different sources. The license may not require a royalty or
> 	other fee for such sale.
> In practice, Debian appears to read this more like:
> 	The license of a Debian component may not restrict any party
> 	from selling or giving away the software.  The license may not
> 	require a fee or consideration of any kind in exchange for the
> 	right to use, modify, or distribute the software.
> "Consideration of any kind" would include obvious things like the
> compulsion of copyright assignment in any changes (N.B., copyright law
> in some jurisdictions may already effectively do so, but that's
> irrelevant to the DFSG), but also things like "registration" or the
> compelled disclosure of information about the user of his system.

To me it sounds like the GPL also breaks the rule, since it has many
considerations for distributing the software (requiring to make the
source code available, even when you distribute only binaries).  Only
public domain software would fully meet this rule...  I suppose that's
not how this was intended.  This confuses me.

- Bram

GALAHAD: No. Look, I can tackle this lot single-handed!
GIRLS:   Yes, yes, let him Tackle us single-handed!
                 "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" PYTHON (MONTY) PICTURES LTD

 ///  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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