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Re: why is graphviz package non-free?

Scripsit Andrew Suffield <asuffield@debian.org>
> On Thu, Jan 13, 2005 at 04:09:17PM +0000, Henning Makholm wrote:

>> I am not convinced that this is free, but I strongly doubt that the
>> people at graphviz org intended it either.

>   The Program (including Contributions) may always be distributed
>   subject to the version of the Agreement under which it was
>   received. In addition, after a new version of the Agreement is
>   published, Contributor may elect to distribute the Program
>   (including its Contributions) under the new version.

Yes, but "the version of the Agreement under which it was received"
already gives recipients further downstream the option of using an
unknown future IBM licence.

If you remove this option (say, because you don't trust IBM), you are
not distributing the program "subject to the version of the Agreement
under which it was received."

To make what I fear explicit, here is a fleshed-out scenario:

  1. A writes a program and releases it under the current CPL.

  2. B takes A's program, hacks on it, distributes his Contributions
     on a website under the current CPL.

  3. IBM notices B's modified program and decides that they would like
     to include it in their proprietary program suite for frobitzing
     foobars, with private modifications that they don't release
     source for. So,

  4. IBM releases new version of CPL which gives IBM carte blanche to
     do anything at all with covered code.

  5. C (a strawman for IBM) picks up B's modified program, makes some
     inconsequential little changes and releases it under the new
     amended CPL - as allowed by the original CPL under which B
     distributed his changes.

  6. IBM picks up C's distribution and starts abusing B's contribution

If this sequence is _not_ possible according to the license text, I'd
be very happy to be convinced otherwise. But as it is, it seems to me

  7. In effect, the license requires B to give IBM rights to B's code
     that B did not himself get to A's code.

I think we agree that (7) is non-free, but perhaps we disagree about
whether (7) actually follows from the license?

Henning Makholm                                   "Monsieur, vous êtes fou."

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