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Re: OSD && DFSG - different purposes - constructive suggestion!

On Sun, Mar 09, 2003 at 01:44:23PM -0800, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:
> Anthony Towns <aj@azure.humbug.org.au> writes:
> > The whole point is to make the test be extreme, that's how you get
> > clarity.  But it still has to make sense. It's entirely plausible that me
> > and a friend could be stuck with our solar powered laptops on a desert
> > island, and get bored and decide to hack on some free software. Not
> > _likely_, maybe, but believable, and a generalisation of a lot of
> > similar situations.
> Sure!  But those people on the island: if they disregard the license,
> nothing bad will happen.  It's the converse to your point about the
> Chinese Dissident test: that the copyright owner's license is the
> least of the dissidents' worries.  Sure, no argument from me there!

Uh, no. The difference is here that we want to allow the people to do
free software development on the island, assuming they already have the
abilitiy to. The copyright license is the sole worry we have here --
nothing else affects what they're permitted to do.

In the dissident case, we're trying to protect the people from having to
reveal their changes to the government they're protesting. But this just
doesn't make any real sense: the code they're hacking on is the least of
their worries - it's the contents of their databases, not their bugfix to
select query processing that they need to keep private; and furthermore
it's the government's laws that will put them most at risk here -- of
being accused of spying, eg -- not the copyright license. So from what
I can see, we're protecting something of little value, and then doing
a bad job of it.

> > Uh, it's exactly equivalent to the GPL's interactivity requirement;
> > except it applies to HTML generation, not interactive programs, and that
> > it's less in your face when you're using it.
> I'm not entirely happy about the GPL's interactivity requirement, but
> the only thing that makes me think it's reasonable is that it is (in
> some places) the only way to have the no-warranty clause be honored by
> the courts, and the original author should be able to limit his
> warranty damages.  The forced-ad-on-web-pages doesn't meet any purpose
> except the author's vanity.

Nonsense: its purpose is to make the following requirement effective in
ensuring people contribute their changes back to the community. You know,
closing the ASP Loophole, and all that.

> > > > 	(b) If asked by the authors, you must provide them with a copy
> > > > 	    of your changes to the source code changes at cost.
> > > "If you do publish your changes, you should not be required to notify
> > > anyone in particular."
> > Yes. Are you misunderstanding what the word "notify" means?
> Under that clause (b), the authors can say to anyone: "I hereby
> request you to provide me the source for any changes you have made or
> ever make in the future."

If you receive a request like that, then you can provide them with a
copy of your current changes after receiving payment for your costs in
doing so, and you've not only satisfied the license, you've probably
successfully confused them so they won't ask you again in future. When
you make further changes, you're not obligated to do anything until you
receive another request. I can play word games just as easily as you.

If you want the possible term defined more precisely, consider something 
more like:

	"If you have distributed a modified version of The Work, then if
	 you receive a request by the Primary Copyright Holder (named
	 above), you must provide a copy of your modifications as at the
	 time you receive the request, at cost, to the Primary Copyright


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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