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Re: One unclear point in the Vim license

Richard Stallman wrote:

> >       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.
> This is always true.  Regardless of what license you *state* in the
> program, you always have the possibility of agreeing to some other
> arrangement with some specific person or company.
> So you could, if you wish, release Vim under the GPL and then make
> special arrangements with a particular company.  A number of free
> programs, including Qt and MySQL, are handled this way.

Theoretically this would be possible.  However, for the software to be
distributed with another license every person that contributed would have
to agree with it, since each person has the copyright for the part he
contributed under the GPL.  Since there hardly ever is an explicit
mentioning of what license is used for the contributed part, implicitly
the currently active license applies.  Well, I'm not a lawyer but that's
how I interpret what I heard (it might actually be different for various

Besides the official things, I think it's fair to contributors to tell
them what happens with their code.  I wonder what would happen if I make
Vim GPL and explicitly state that it's possible to negotiate another
license with me.  Perhaps I should mention that people contributing to
Vim have to agree with this?  That's getting a bit complicated.  And it
will be confusing, because many people will think that Vim is GPL'ed,
even though there is an extra statement.  And the GPL license is so

> Branden Robinson wrote:
>   You are allowed to distribute a modified version of Vim when either of
>   the following conditions are met:
>   1) You make your changes to the source code available to the general
>      public, or to those to whom you distributed modified versions of
>      Vim, with no restrictions on use, copying, modification, or
>      distribution; or
>   2) You make your changes to the source code available to the Vim
>      maintainer at no charge, and grant him or her a perpertual license
>      to use, copy, modify and distribute your changes without
>      restriction.  The preferred way to do this is by e-mail or by
>      uploading the files to a server and e-mailing the URL.  If the
>      number of changes is small (e.g., a modified Makefile) e-mailing
>      the diffs will do.  The e-mail address to be used is
>      <maintainer@vim.org>.
> If you can go with this solution, I think it would be a good
> improvement.  Alternative 1 could be replaced by the GPL
> which says similar things.

I'll think about adding the alternative to provide the sources along
with a modified version.  But I think I would require to keep the same
license, instead of saying "with no restrictions...".

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   hacks him to the floor.  Blood.  Swashbuckling music (perhaps).
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 ///  Bram Moolenaar -- Bram@moolenaar.net -- http://www.moolenaar.net  \\\
(((   Creator of Vim -- http://vim.sf.net -- ftp://ftp.vim.org/pub/vim   )))
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