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Re: One unclear point in the Vim license

Scripsit Bram Moolenaar <Bram@moolenaar.net>

> 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.

Isn't that what you're doing with your "you MUST allow me to decide
what I do with your modifications"?

> 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.

You may also prefer people to give you money for the right to use your
software. That would certainly stimulate further development. The
licence would be the right place to make that clear,
too. Nevertheless, both are non-free.

> That's the same for Vim: Just tell me where I can find the source code.

That is not what the license says. And in any case, this still puts a
burden on modifiers to make sure that their modifications will exist
SOMEWHERE indefinitely.

> > 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?

Copyright infringement, since they fail to comply with the terms by
which you have licenced your exclusive right to make copies of the

> The damages they have done to the free software world?

In most copyright jurisdictions there need be no damage in a copyright
infringement lawsuit.

> 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!

What the copyright holder personally want or doesn't want is
irrelevant when judging a licence. The relewant is what rights the
license gives him. Your license gives you rights that free software
licences shouldn't give authors, irrespective of whether you plan on
using those rights.

> I don't think a court would ever get involved.  That's a good reason not
> to spend too much time on this license.

That's a rotten reason to not spent time on a license. If you don't
want to involve courts, then just issue a statement saying "This
software is in the public domain".
> 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).

You don't need a non-free license for that. Simply require that any
distribution of modified binaries must *either* be accompanied with
full source *or* follow whatever obnoxious rules you see fit to
like. Then everybody would be happy.

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

We have done. Multiple times, now.

Henning Makholm                      "They are trying to prove a hypothesis,
                             they are down here gathering data every season,
                       they're publishing results in peer-reviewed journals.
                     They're wrong, I think, but they are still scientists."

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