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

Anthony Towns <aj@azure.humbug.org.au> writes:

> Sure. Compare this to some code using the GPL; same sort of information,
> same problem with it: their trade secrets are woven into the functionality
> of the code itself. If one of your customers is a competitor, or a
> competitor buys out a user, any requirement to distribute source to your
> users makes it non-viable to use the software for certain applications
> which are, eg, protected by BSD-style licenses.

Except the GPL doesn't force you to share your secrets, ever.  You can
share them with exactly the people you want to share them with, and
you are never obligated to share them with person X just because you
shared them with person Y.

> Arguments about practicality, that this makes doing legitimate things harder
> or impossible in some situations for purely technical reasons (the stranded
> on an island test does this), are valid, but I haven't really seen any.

It's not about practicality; it's about freedom.  The question is:
should I get to control the behavior of that other person in the way
they modify and copy the software?  The default answer is "no", and
any deviation from that needs defense.  Some deviations can be
defended as an augment to freedom (required change notices like those
the GPL has; requirement to distribute source with binarie).  Other
deviations cannot be defended as an augment to freedom.  Forcing the
distribution to any third party, it seems to me, is a deviation of the
latter sort.  

At least, I haven't heard of any defense of such a deviation, on any
other principle than "it makes sure that they contribute back".  But
free software was never about forcing people to contribute back.  That
was always a happily hoped for by-product of the system.  Indeed, the
whole genius of the system is the way that it produces unforced
contributions back.

> Another possibility is that getting such clauses *right*, in a way that
> can't be abused by the author to harass the user, or otherwise create
> an undue burden on the user, is impossible -- that we haven't seen any
> examples which do this remotely well; but that the possibility remains
> that one day we would, and we'd be willing to accept that license into
> main. That is, there isn't anything fundamentally wrong with this,
> as long as the user's costs can be minimised [0].

For the time being, I think debating the details of wording is not
worth it, because I think there is a problem with the basic concept.
So let's talk about the basic concept.

> (And yes, I do realise I was arguing the other side of this just a day
> or two ago)

Aw, heck, once I was defending the GNU FDL.  We all learn and
change. :)

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