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Re: [Discussioni] OSD && DFSG convergence

On Wed, Mar 05, 2003 at 09:05:38AM -0500, Russell Nelson wrote:
> Thomas Bushnell, BSG writes:
>  > Sure.  Why don't we adopt RMS's?  That would be my first vote.
> Well, because RMS is wrong.  Why should a free software license allow
> someone to keep software proprietary within a single legal entity?

That's a loaded description. How do you differentiate free software and
proprietary software when it's only posessed by the author? I don't think
you can, so I don't think your question has any meaning.

The related question -- why shouldn't we force all changes to code to
be distributed, either back to the author, or to the public at large --
is problematic because it imposes a burden that can be quite awkward
on the author. It also limits you from doing things you might want:
hardcoding security-sensitive information into a program, hacking a
feature into a GPLed program that'll indicate your future business
strategy in a way you're not ready to go public with yet, or something
else. If nothing else, it's a nuisance in that when you're just randomly
hacking on stuff that's licensed this way, you have to suddenly realise
"Ooops! I fixed a bug, better go rsync the sources to my homepage".

The GPL's requirement -- source with binaries -- is much more reasonable;
you can do your development in private, and only distribute the source when
you're going to be distributing stuff anyway.

Even RMS's proposed GPLv3 requirement of requiring source distribution
with public demonstrations of your code (host a webpage on a modified,
GPLv3ed, boa, and you'd have to release the source code to your changes
too) don't go that far.

The world'd be a much better place if people stopped trying to think
of new ways to force people who aren't interested in contributing to do
so anyway.


Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

  ``Dear Anthony Towns: [...] Congratulations -- 
        you are now certified as a Red Hat Certified Engineer!''

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