[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: CDDL, OpenSolaris, Choice-of-venue and the star package ...

On Fri, Sep 16, 2005 at 04:56:15PM -0400, Michael Poole wrote:
> David Nusinow writes:
> > I don't feel that this argument was ever effectively countered. There's no
> > explicit cost or discrimination such as "send me five dollars" or "no
> > black people can use this software". Because of this, the argument is hazy.
> Taking this line of argument to an extreme, the DFSG only prohibits
> royalties or fees for copying the software.  There is no explicit DFSG
> freedom to use or modify the software without paying a fee.  Still, I
> think that the DFSG mean to prohibit fees for any of use, modification
> or redistribution of the software.  There is a debatable area around
> copyleft requirements, but when a cost is unrelated to the software
> itself, it does not seem defensible.  (In hopes of avoiding a side
> debate, I think GPL-style copyleft is entirely appropriate.)
> Choice of venue imposes costs on those who would not normally be
> subject to that venue, although the cost is very hard to quantify a
> priori.  From my own experience, I cannot agree with those who think
> the marginal cost is a negligible one.  So far, the arguments that it
> is a necessary or acceptable cost have not been convincing, since they
> allege benefits to the copyright owner rather than to the users, and
> free software is not about what is good for copyright owners.

These are all fine arguments, but I'm looking to avoid going around in
circles about this forever. Far too many arguments on this list spring up
because of the inherent murkiness in terms like cost or discrimination. If
it's not explicit, the only way to avoid these kinds of arguments is to go
back to the fundamental.

This is also the easiest way to describe things to people who aren't
following these massive threads. Compare: 

 "Choice of venue clauses are non-free because they restrict the freedom to
 redistribute software by imposing a strong potential burden simply for
 copying the software from one place to another."

 "Choice of venue clauses are non-free because they potentially will cost
 people who use the software lots of money and time."

The latter can be true of GPL software as well, for several reasons, but
the former isn't. This is why you have to put these kinds of arguments in
terms of the basic freedoms we associate with software.

 - David Nusinow

Reply to: