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Re: New 'Public Domain' Licence

On 6/7/05, Glenn Maynard <glenn@zewt.org> wrote:
> On Tue, Jun 07, 2005 at 06:33:38PM -0400, Raul Miller wrote:
> > On 6/5/05, Glenn Maynard <glenn@zewt.org> wrote:
> > > No disagreement here (except the implication that non-free use is the
> > > only goal--the goal is free use everywhere, and non-free use is just
> > > part of "everywhere").  Permissive licenses are close to public domain,
> > > and reasons for using the two are similar.
> > 
> > Change "everywhere" to "allowed for every person, regardless of 
> > the restrictions they then impose" and I'll agree with you.
> > 
> > "Everywhere" is rather silly -- there are many galaxies which will
> > never be graced with the presence of software package $FOO..
> I'm missing the point of the word-nitpick.  Permissive licenses try to
> minimize the obstacles they present to reusing code.

You're focussing on a particular class of obstacle and ignoring another

If you want to talk about minimizing, you really need to specify in
unambiguous terms the metric which is being minimized.

Put differently, not all obstacles are equivalent.

You seem to be trying to talk about this in an impartial manner,
but as long as you talk in terms of "minimizing all obstacles"
you're not doing so.

> > > The GPL very deliberately makes a trade: in exchange for less free 
> > > use (eg. more restrictions), it tries to encourage "giving code back 
> > > to the commons" and all that.  GPL-licensed code is not usable, for 
> > > example, in proprietary software; or even in mostly-free programs 
> > > that simply have a few GPL-incompatible plugins for interoperability 
> > > (eg. OpenSSL).
> > It also assumes that the authors of the GPLed content were
> > unaware that those restrictions would be imposed on their
> > software and that they object.
> Er, so you're saying GPL-licensed code is usable in GPL-incompatible
> programs, as long as you think the authors won't object?  I'm pretty sure
> you don't think that, so I assume I'm misunderstanding something.

Where the authors declare this intention openly, and unambiguously,
that's exactly what I mean.

There are other edge cases, but they're not as interesting.

> > > That's not a bug, of course; it's explicitly intended to discourage
> > > proprietary development, and many people who use the GPL actively wish
> > > to do so, and don't consider that restriction a problem.  That's fine.
> > > But people who don't wish to do so--who, in contrast, don't consider
> > > proprietary use of code a problem, and wish to minimize political,
> > > practical and legal barriers to reuse--often prefer permissive
> licenses.
> > > If that's your philosophy, then you may well not want to force people
> > > to include your 20-line license, either, since that can introduce
> > > practical problems.  (I'm not sure why this seems to be a controversial
> > > statement; it seems self-evident to me.)
> > 
> > The situation here is that even though the legal properties of public
> > domain works seem self evident, in the general case they are not.
> I'm a little confused.  The subthread was about the costs, benefits and
> rationale of including a clause that says "this license must be preserved
> on all copies", which shows up in the *-BSD and X11 licenses.  Not that I
> mind tangenting to other relevant topics, I'm just not sure how we got
> there.  :)

We got here because of statements drawing analogies between those
licenses and public domain licenses, and because of statements indicating
that public domain or near public domain licenses were the goal.

Also, because the specific example most recently posted in this
thread included explicit relicening permission.

> > For example, there are cases where an author who has released
> > a work into the public domain may not be allowed to have a copy
> > of that work.
> Do you mean that it's possible that an author might claim to release a
> work into the public domain, but not actually have the right to do so
> (eg. contractually)?  That's true, but is true of all licenses ...

No.  Though I'll agree that that's also a possibility.

I gave more detail on this issue in the message you are quoting.


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