[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Summary : ocaml, QPL and the DFSG.

David Nusinow <david_nusinow@verizon.net> writes:

> On Thu, Jul 22, 2004 at 02:36:46AM +1000, Matthew Palmer wrote:
>> > It could very easily be argued that by forcing distribution to an upstream
>> > author that they will possibly release the code to the public where the
>> > downstream recipient may choose to keep such code private.
>> And it could work the other way.  Hell, in a licence under current
>> discussion, there's an explicit licence term to allow upstream to sell my
>> changes under a different licence of their choosing.  That seems like it's
>> quite useful for an upstream who wanted to take my modifications private...
> The it seems that we've reached an impasse at this level of detail, since it
> could well be argued that forced distribution upstream can impede or enhance
> free software and freedom in general. As such, you can't say that forced
> upstream distribution is inherently non-free.

Sure I can.  You've made the false assumption that the only argument
for considering something non-free is that it's harmful to the Great
and Holy Cause of Free Software.  But in the case of forced
distribution to any party, we don't have to look at secondary effects
like that.  We can just look at the direct effects: it forces me to
find some person, contact him, send him a whole bunch of data, and
give him a Free license to that data.  Additionally, I have to secure
rights to freely give anything else I combine into this program to the
forcing person.

Additionally, I cannot conceive of any way of doing this in a free way
-- even if forced distribution to upstream on distribution of
modifications is accepted as free.  Can I say that you must send me
modifications to the software I write every time you distribute?  So
on every download, fling another one my way?  Can I say you must send
them addressed to me at Sven Luther's address?

Can I say you must do it by a non-digital mechanism?

Can I say you must sign your changes?

Can I require a license from you?  More free than otherwise compelled
by the copyleft?  What about a non-free license, can I require that?

It's not just that I think these are hard questions.  It's that I
think many of them have no free answer.  That makes me think that the
question which opens this can of worms -- forced distribution -- is
probably non-free.


Brian Sniffen                                       bts@alum.mit.edu

Reply to: