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Re: GPL compatible license?

Martin Schulze <joey@infodrom.org> writes:

> Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:
>> >> > Not sure if this is possible but would it be fine when modified to read:
>> >> >
>> >> >         3. Furthermore, if you distribute Elm software or parts of Elm, with
>> >> >            or without additions developed by you or others, then you must
>> >> >            make available the source to all portions of the new system
>> >> >            upon request.
>> >> 
>> >> I don't think so -- it requires me to keep around a copy of the entire
>> >> source for any system I distribute *forever*.
>> >
>> > Uh?  Where do you read that?
>> >
>> > Isn't "all portions of the new system" the same as "the entire sourcecode
>> > of your fork or what you distribute in binary form"?
>> Yes.  And I have to keep it around forever, in case anybody at all
>> asks for a copy.  This means that
>> a) I can't make some changes, give them to you and a few others, but
>>    refuse, in concert with the few who have copies, to give them to
>>    Microsoft.  Microsoft can demand a copy of any of us, and we must
>>    provide it.
>> b) I can't ever clear away that source in favor of a new version, or
>>    fail to keep backups of it -- and cheap to access backups too,
>>    because anybody can compel me to provide a copy forever.
>> Either of these is non-free.  The GPL's alternative -- provide a copy
>> of the source with any copy of the binary -- nicely evades both of
>> these non-free alternatives.
> Since the GPL has the three year clause, adding a "for a minimum
> of three years" in the above should fit as well, right?

I don't think Debian-legal accepts that clause as free.  That is, the
GPL is regarded as Free because it's got clause 3a, not 3b or 3c.
They're extraneous, and so haven't been looked at very closely.

For example, I distribute software under the GPL, but I've never given
or seen such written notice.  I always receive the source with the
binary, and pass it on that way.

In general, requirements that a modifier or distributor keep copies
for a long time are too onerous to be Free.

> I'm getting more unhappy each day...

I'm sorry to hear that.  I'm confused myself -- I thought ELM was
under a BSD-like license from long ago.


Brian Sniffen                                       bts@alum.mit.edu

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