Re: OSD && DFSG convergence
On Mon, Jan 27, 2003 at 03:55:34PM -0500, Russell Nelson wrote:
> John Goerzen writes:
> > requirement -- if Apple has violated your patent, even in a completely
> > unrelated matter, the fact that you exercise your legal right to defend your
> > patent shouldn't impact your right to use Open Source software.
> Actually, it *should*. Our community needs to etch out a patent-free
> space, and this is one way in which Apple has sought to implement that
I agree that software patents are a bad idea, but consider this:
Let's say I work for Better Mice Inc, and my company develops plastic
mouse moldings that are ergonomically comfortable and has a patent on the
manufacturing process. If Apple chooses to violate Better Mice Inc's patent
on plastic mouse moldings, then Better Mice Inc's right to
use/distribute/modify APSL-licensed software goes down the drain if they
choose to defend their patent. So, a totally unrelated circumstance could
remove their ability to use APSL-licensed software. In a nutshell, you are
handing over rights to all your patents to Apple if you use the software,
but the license is quite explicit that Apple is not handing over rights to
all their patents in exchange.
> But even if you disagree with me, how would you change the DFSG so
> that it agrees with you? Because I see nothing in the DFSG which
> keeps APSL code out of Debian.
Clause 1 on free redistribution:
"The license of a Debian component may not restrict any party from selling
or giving away the software...."
If Better Mice Inc sues Apple over their plastic molding patent violation,
then that party is restricted from selling or giving away the software.
Further, a case could be made that it violates clase 5 ("No discrimination
against persons or groups") because it discriminates against people whom
choose to file legal cases against Apple.
> > Another example is the RealNetworks Public Source license, which
> > discriminates based on "personal use".
> It's perfectly okay to give more freedoms to some people, as long as
> everyone has the necessary freedoms. The discrimination term was
> added to the DFSG to ensure that there would be no licenses of the
> form "Anyone is free to use this software except people working on
> nuclear bombs."
This violates clause 6 in DFSG -- "No discrimination against fields of
endeavor." It even lists "restrict the program from being used in a
business" as an example of a restriction that is not permissible. The
Real license not only has that restriction, but talks at length about R&D
use only, etc, etc. It fails that clause in many ways.