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Re: Termination clauses, was: Choice of venue

Josh Triplett <josh.trip@verizon.net> writes:

> That's only the case if you consider the right to take the work
> proprietary useful, and helpful to Free Software.

Or helpful to users.

> I consider it to be neither.  In my case, I would have absolutely no
> interest in taking the software proprietary, so that "right" would
> be worthless to me, and I would prefer that as few people as
> possible have the right to take my code proprietary.  Ideally none,
> of course.

I think there's some fuzziness here about "take code proprietary".
Do we all mean distribution under a non-Free license, or without source?

>> some people don't think it's non-free -- "If I can make the modifications
>> guaranteed by the DFSG, what's the harm?", but one of the real benefits of
>> Free Software is that no member of the community has an inherent advantage
>> over anyone else -- a "free market" ideal.
> I consider the benifit of Free Software to be that everyone has all the
> essential freedoms over the software.  If some people have non-essential
> freedoms, such as the "right" to take the software proprietary, then
> that is irrelevant to me.

So if I compel you to allow *your* software to be taken proprietary,
that's free?

> I find it annoying that they can take my code proprietary, but I
> would consider a license better that allows fewer people to do so.
> For that reason, I would prefer a "the upstream author can take it
> proprietary" license over a "everyone can take it proprietary"
> license, although I would prefer the GPL over either.

You appear to be implying a contrast between the QPL-style license on
the original work and a BSD-style license on that work.  I don't think
that's accurate.  The QPL is much more like the BSDPL, in that it
ensures you cannot ensure your work stays free.  Hm.  Maybe
this would be easier graphically.  Your concern is that you'd like
*your* work to stay Free.  That seems like the sort of thing which we
should be protecting, though it isn't in the DFSG (except maybe
distantly #4).  So this has a "Yes" if, given some license on the
original work, you can release your work under the license of your
choice.  It assumes your work is a derivation from the original:

     Original work ------>
            BSD        GPL        QPL        BSDPL
Work BSD    Yes        Yes        Yes        Yes   
|    GPL    Yes        Yes        No         No
|    QPL    Yes        No         No[1]      No
     BSDPL  Yes        No         No         Yes

1: Because the "initial author" hasn't changes and your work is only
   distributed as patches, you can't get the same sort of QPL the
   original author used, only an inferior-QPL in which you don't get the
   free license and to demand linked works.

And we can substitute any permissive license for "BSD" and any
copyleft for GPL up there.  The QPL shares a characteristic with the
BSDPL: that it forbids you to copyleft *your* work.  This seems very
different from an author's decision not to copyleft his work.

Even the GPL allows me to distribute *my* work separately from the
original, and under the BSD license.  I can even distribute them together,
with mine under the BSD license and the combination and the original
under the GPL.  The QPL is doing something relatively new and
different, in that it compels me to license my work in a particular
way, not just the original or a derivation.


Brian Sniffen                                       bts@alum.mit.edu

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