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

On Mon, 10 Mar 2003, Anthony Towns wrote:
> Is there a _fundamental_ difficulty with such licenses?

I'm beginning to think that there is, as it restricts the use that an
individual can put a given bit of source to in his or her own home.

> First, does that cause any problems for Debian?

I don't think it would cause a problem with the majority of people who
are using or modifying Free Software, as (I would imagine) most of
them don't have anything to hide... but to someone who does?

> As a mental exercise, try replacing "The Chinese Dissident Test" with
> "The Al Qa'ida Terrorist Test"

Heh. It's funny that you mentioned this, as originally I was going to
use "The Base" instead of the proto anarchist of raisethefist,[1] but
decided that it would merely cloud the issue.

> The companies who want to include NDA'ed, patented or secret
> technology in programs have pretty much the same problem they'd have
> if they were using the GPL, and needed to distribute such programs to
> their customers;

True, but the knowledge that they can't distribute is a certainty.

I see that this could force people in such a situation to spend the
time that they might spend improving GPLed tools (whilst keeping the
NDAed portions secret) extending other tools instead. [Of course, you
could extend the same argument to distribute as well, but it seems
that experience has taught us that extenders of BSD code don't often
contribute their changes to the community.]

> A number of companies, and the FSF, want to see this "loophole"
> removed; I think we should be _very_ sure of our reasons before
> dismissing their attempts.

I agree completely, and I'm glad that we're discussing it as
thoroughly as possible. Regardless of the our eventual consensus, the
discussion will make the logic behind the eventual change (if any)
that much stronger.

Don Armstrong

1: http://www-2.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/raisethefist/
Filing a bug is probably not going to get it fixed any faster.
 -- Anthony Towns

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