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Need to Identify Contributions and the Dissident Test

On Thu, 20 Jan 2005, Henning Makholm wrote:
> Scripsit Don Armstrong <don@debian.org>
> >   Permission to distribute binaries produced by compiling modified
> >   sources is granted, provided you
> >    1. distribute the corresponding source modifications from the
> >       released version in the form of a patch file along with the binaries,
> >    2. add special version identification to distinguish your version
> >       in addition to the base release version number,
> >    3. provide your name and address as the primary contact for the
> >       support of your modified version, and
> >    4. retain our contact information in regard to use of the base
> >       software.
> (3) seems to fail the Dissident test.

This particular extension of the dissident test has always bothered
me, which is one reason why I've never applied it in my own arguments
of why a license is Free or not free.

1) Some sort of identification of the author of the work is required
in order to allow people to exercise their DFSG guaranteed freedoms
upon a work.

If we did not have some sort of identification of the copyright holder
of the work, the work is (probably) not properly licensed, and thus we
cannot make use of it at all. This seems to break most copyleft

2) The purpose (as I understand it) of the dissident test is to point
out licenses which require disclosure of information to inviduals to
whom the software has not actually been distributed.

Because the above license actually doesn't require this, it doesn't
seem to fall afoul of the narrow dissident test. (Or, the "desert
island test.")

3) GNU GPL 2a) obstensibly requires this very same thing:[2]

	You must cause the modified files to carry prominent notices
        stating that you changed the files and the date of any change.

Finally, I really haven't thought much about the implicit support
requirement that (3) brings out. All I can say is that I really wish
upstream authors would stay away from the desire to write their own

Don Armstrong

1: Some will probably argue that this is analogous to the GNU GPL's
ASP loophole.

2: Others will probably argue that it doesn't, since 'stating that you
changed the files' doesn't necessarily mean that you actually have to
give your name.

I leave the show floor, but not before a pack of caffeinated Jolt gum
is thrust at me by a hyperactive girl screaming, "Chew more! Do more!"
The American will to consume more and produce more personified in a
stick of gum. I grab it. -- Chad Dickerson

http://www.donarmstrong.com              http://rzlab.ucr.edu

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