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Re: Choice of venue, was: GUADEC report

Matthew Garrett wrote:
> Michael Poole wrote:
>>The important difference is who restricts distribution of the
>>purportedly free software: Its author or some third party who claims
>>to control the software.  DFSG implies that the license should not
>>allow the author to terminate the license unilaterally.  On the other
>>hand, I think it is contrary to free software's philosophy and goals
>>to require the author to defend or indemnify anyone else's use or
>>distribution of the software if a third party raises patent claims.
> What is the practical outcome of this distinction? In both cases, a user
> may discover that they no longer have the right to distribute the
> software. Why do we consider one of these cases problematic and the
> other acceptable? The user is equally screwed either way.

A termination clause grants the author unilateral rights to terminate a
user's freedoms.  The freedoms granted by a Free Software license must
not be revokable without cause, or those freedoms are false.
(Termination if the user violates the license is fine, as long as it
does not affect those downstream from that user.)

Software patents screw everyone. :)  The fact that software patents
allow control of software by a third-party is an inherent flaw in
software patents, and not something that any license on that software
can fix.  The best a license can do is require that *no one* distribute
the software unless they can grant all the same freedoms; otherwise, a
patent holder could prevent everyone from distributing the software
*unless they have a patent license*, which essentially allows them to
make the software proprietary.

- Josh Triplett

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