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Re: Termination clauses, was: Choice of venue

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

> Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:
>> 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.
> Users who want to write proprietary software can figure out for
> themselves which software allows them to do so, and which does not.  I
> don't think we should be in the business of promoting licenses that help
> people write proprietary software.

That position is rather more extreme than Debian's historical
standard.  "Our priorities are our users and free software," right?
If it wasn't convenient to use Debian for producing proprietary data,
it would see very little use.  Imagine a license which compelled me to
publish all data processed with a program and later distributed --
that is, take the model you want to license compilers under and extend
it to word processing.  How about gnucash and its remote-payment

An important part of freedom is each person's ability to choose or
reject it for himself.  By all means, exhort others to copyleft their
data and programs.  I'll be right there with you.  But compulsion to
copyleft is repugnant to me, and non-free.

>>>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?
> Either would be proprietary.  By proprietary, I mean "not Free
> Software".  There are two disjoint sets covering all works: proprietary
> and Free.

Sorry, I meant that as one option, in contrast to others such as "I
have a copy and he has a copy, and we both have freedom, but you don't
have a copy" on one hand, or "I have a copy and freedom, and it's
available to the world on this web server" on the other.

>>>>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?
> My own software, unrelated to yours?  No, and you would have no legal
> ability to do so.  My software which is a derivative of yours?  That
> would be acceptable, just obnoxious.

Why is that acceptable?  I understand that copyright law allows it,
but it seems very clear to me that it's a payment: I will license my
software this way, and in exchange you will give me a license that

For example, I have a big library of code.  I want to embed it in a
compiler, to produce proof-carrying code.  I wrote that library on my
own.  But if I break it up into little bits, and embed that throughout
a compiler -- say the OCaml compiler -- and distribute it as
patches... why is it free for INRIA to tell me how to license that?  I
had it before hand, I wrote it without reference to their code, and
it's useful in its own right.

When combined with theirs, sure, the whole work has to be distributed
only under terms that both they and I find acceptable.  But the QPL
asks more than that: it says that my part, distributed alone as
patches, must be under a license they find acceptable.

>>>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
> That's more what I was thinking of, yes.  I think that the QPL is at
> least better than the BSDPL, because the BSDPL allows everyone to take
> the code proprietary, while the QPL only allows the original author to
> do so.  Both are obnoxious, but the BSDPL is even more obnoxious. :)
>> 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
> No, it isn't something we need to protect.  Copyleft is a wonderful
> thing, but "the right to copyleft your modifications" is not an
> essential freedom.  It is something we should strongly encourage, though.
>> 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
>> Your
>> 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.
> That's an interesting point.  By that argument, the QPL blatantly fails
> DFSG3, because you can't distribute your modifications under the same
> license as the original.
> I'm more inclined to believe, though, that if you really wanted to, you
> could license your modifications (meaning the patch you distribute)
> under the QPL, and people downstream from you would have to distribute
> patches to your patch, provide changes on request, etc.

That requires ignoring the phrase "initial developer".  I don't think
they'd have repeatedly said "initial" if they didn't really mean it.

>> 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.
> No, I don't think so.  The QPL is a copyleft, which happens to also
> include a more permissive license to upstream.  It's also non-free for
> other reasons, but I don't think this is one of them.

It doesn't just include a more permissive license; that would be a
reasonable phrasing if I chose to distribute my modifications to some
GPL'd software as GPL to the world and BSD to upstream.  You could say
that I would include a more permissive license to upstream.  When I
issued that license, it would be free.  But this *compels* a more
permissive license to upstream.

>> 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.
> Your work that you are referring to _is_ a derivation, is it not?

No.  It's my components of a work which, when combined, is a
derivation.  But since I have to ship it as patches anyway, it's very
easy to show what's mine and what's theirs.

Brian Sniffen                                       bts@alum.mit.edu

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