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Re: Ironies abound (was Re: GPL v3 draft)

On Tue, Jan 17, 2006 at 04:10:38PM -0800, Joe Buck wrote:
> All these objections from Debian folks, and no one has yet noticed the
> irony that the type of clause in question (the Affero language) has been
> championed by the man who wrote the DFSG, Bruce Perens.  Bruce repeatedly
> called the ability to "publicly perform" a work derived from a GPLed work,
> but not make the changes public, was a terrible loophole that had to be
> fixed, and promised to lobby RMS to fix it.

After the ironies surrounding the GFDL and the FSF, I'm beginning to
become desensitized ...

> Should the Debian project make a stink anyway?  Only if you also want to
> make a stink about the LGPL, the X license, and every non-copyleft
> license, because all permit a derivative work to add something like the
> Affero clause.

There's a wide difference.  The GPLv3 is explicitly making a statement:
"these restrictions are acceptable".  Permissive licenses merely say "I
don't care".  It implies that the FSF considers such restrictions free,
and either hasn't considered, or doesn't care, about the legitimate
applications that it implicitly prohibits.

I don't think anybody is claiming this license exception is non-free in
and of itself (if I have, it was in error), but that doesn't make it not

> Too many developers of licenses seem to picture users making small
> changes, instead of creating mashups that take bits of many programs to
> make new ones.

Indeed, that's exactly the problem with this type of restriction; it
assumes people aren't going to reuse bits of their code in ways entirely
different from what they used it for.  It makes it impossible to reuse
useful bits from a networked application inside a non-networked application.
If the FSF considers it free, I have to wonder whether they consider code
reuse to be important at all.

(On the same note, the patch exception in DFSG#4 has got to go; patch
clauses prohibit code reuse entirely.  Some day ...)

Glenn Maynard

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