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Re: draft for new Vim license

Glenn Maynard wrote:

> > As I already said, it's allowed to compile, but you might not be allowed
> > to distribute the result.  That's actually the main problem of the GPL I
> > don't like.  But the dual-licensing would solve that.
> Which is it, linkable-but-not-distributable or not-linkable-at-all?
> (Question to this list, really; it's GPL's license that would place
> these restrictions, not yours.  Yours just trigger them.)

As far as I know, the GPL allows you to do anything, so long as it's on
your own computer.  Thus not giving anyone else a copy.  If that isn't
so than that would be a huge problem of the GPL.  Actually, I think the
law allows this, thus perhaps it doesn't even need to be mentioned in
the license.  Although that new law in the USA (millennium copyright
act?) might cause trouble.

> With your draft, wouldn't that force a person to choose the
> GPL-compatible options (if distributing binaries linked against GPM)?
> That is, wouldn't that forbid choosing 3a or 3b, since those would
> prevent me, a user receiving the modified binaries linked against GPM,
> from having some guaranteed way of getting the source to those
> modifications?

Yes, when you link with a GPL'ed piece of software, the GPL requires
that it applies to the whole program, in addition to the original
license, thus you must use the GPL-compatible part of the Vim license.
That probably excludes 3a, since it requires sending source code to the
maintainer, which the GPL doesn't want.  3b is distributing a modified
Vim from 3a, thus is excluded as a result.

> If dual-licensed, and linked against a GPL library, wouldn't that force a
> person to choose the GPL option, for the same reason?

Yes.  That's not really much of a problem, if linking with a GPL library
is all you do.  However, if someone would write a nice addition to Vim
and put the GPL on that addition, I can't include that code in Vim.  I
would have to ask the author for permission to include it in Vim under
the Vim license, thus removing the GPL from that code.  That's not
really a big problem (I already accepted that), except that when using a
dual license I expect it to happen quite often.  Many people put the GPL
on their work without realizing what the consequences are (more work for

> This would mean there's a hidden restriction in your current draft: if
> the binary is linked against GPM (or any other libraries for other
> systems under the GPL), you can't choose 3a or 3b.

That's a result of the GPL, not of the Vim license.  I have actually
added a note about this (after the license, not as part of the license)
which explains this.  Just as a warning to prevent people from doing
things which are not allowed.

> I'm a bit confused here:
> 	d) When you have a modified Vim which includes changes, as mentioned

After this comes "under c)".

> What is a modified Vim that doens't include changes?  (Do you mean a
> diff?  You don't require that a diff be used; more likely I have a whole
> source tree that's been changed.)

Isn't it clear that this is about further distributing a modified Vim as
was created as mentioned under c)?  I thought of putting a header for
each of the alternatives, so that it's easier to understand the four
alternatives, but this would make the license more vague.

> 	4) The contact information as mentioned under 3) must not be removed
> 	or changed.
> Some room to fix errors would be nice.  You require that contact information
> valid for three years be provided, like the GPL; but mistakes happen and
> houses get bulldozed.  Some way to update contact information, as long as
> it's your own, would help.  (The GPL's wording is completely different; 

If the original author makes a correction, this can be considered to be
a new change and a new modified version, which replaces the older one.
If someone else notices that an address is wrong, he can add a remark
like "this xxx address is invalid, it's now yyy".  Just changing an
address isn't a good idea, because you can't be 100% sure the new
address is correct.  Someone may move to Uganda and come back after a
year, making the old address valid again. :-)

> 	- You clearly mention in the distribution how to contact you within
> 	at least three years after last distributing the modified Vim.
> I read this as "You clearly mention XXX within at least three years".
> (Take a look at the GPL's wording; it's more precise.)

Good point, I'll fix that.

> > I have never heard from someone who said he would help developing Vim if
> > it would use another license.
> Don't assume this means it hasn't happened.  I have, in the past, tries
> a program; gone "hey, this is neat--maybe I'll work on it", looked at
> the license, saw that I didn't like it and simply said "oh well".

True.  I have done that with GPL-licensed softare many times.

> Are there any other libraries that might have this problem?  Vim can
> link optionally against a ton of libraries.

It's unusual for a library to go under the GPL.  Mostly the LGPL is
used, which was made for libraries.  I don't know the reasons why the
GPM library doesn't use the LGPL.  It's annoying for people who link
software with it.

It's not hard to meet expenses, they're everywhere. 

 ///  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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