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Re: DRAFT: debian-legal summary of the QPL

Matthew Garrett wrote:
> Josh Triplett wrote:
>>Consider someone writing Free Software under a contract with a
>>particular business.  (This is a common business model for Free
>>Software.)  The contractor is then distributing the software to that
>>business (assuming that the contractor excluded work-for-hire in the
>>contract; otherwise it would be internal distribution within a single
>>legal entity).  Commonly, the software would be private to that
>>business.  If this software is based on GPLed software, this model works
>>fine: all those who received a binary can get source and have all the
>>necessary freedoms, and they choose not to exercise their freedom to
>>distribute.  If this software is based on QPLed software, however, the
>>model no longer works, because the contractor must also distribute a
>>copy to the original developer of the QPLed software on request.
> Why is it necessary for a free software license to support certain
> business models, especially when (say) the GPL prevents certain other
> business models?

The restriction in the GPL prevents you from taking away the rights of
others; the restriction in the QPL allows the copyright holder to take
away _your_ right to privacy.  See below.

>>The right to make private modifications is essential.
> People keep saying this, but nobody's said *why*. It's been pointed out
> how the lack of this hurts certain people, but many license provisions
> that we're entirely happy with hurt other people.

That's far too general a statement.  Figure out _who_ is being hurt by a
given license provision, and then decide if we should care:

* The GPL's copyleft hinders people who want to write GPL-incompatible
software based on the GPLed software.  In the vast majority of cases,
this consists of people who want to write proprietary software.

* The QPL hinders people who want to write software that is not
publically distributed, even if that software is Free Software.

To me, being required *to* distribute the software seems as bad as being
required *not to* distribute the software.

- Josh Triplett

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