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Re: Bug#523093: undetermined copyright/license violation

On Fri, Apr 10, 2009 at 03:51:23PM +0100, Anthony W. Youngman wrote:
>> It is not.  The author chose a license that explicitly allows this,
>> in section 12, because they didn't want to prevent the license from
>> being upgraded by third parties.  This is precisely what is happening.
> Just because the author allows it, doesn't mean it isn't offensive. Your  
> small change is taking a lot of rights away from other people. It may be  
> legal and permitted, but isn't it one of the principles of Free Software  
> that downstream can't take away rights granted by upstream? Yet that's  
> exactly what this does!

You're confusing rights with leverage.  The "right" to force people into
paying you for a service you didn't provide, the "right" to prevent people
from running modified versions of a program, etc.

> If you do a major rewrite and just re-use part of the old code, then  
> fair enough. But if your changes are minimal then you are preventing  
> your recipients from exercising their rights wrt the *majority* of the  
> code (at least, not without considerable wasted effort stripping out  
> your changes). That's not on.

They can still use the original code if they want to.  Although if they're
US-based corporate users, maybe they'll have to pay Novell for a
"Peace of Mind" pack (aka SLED).

> That's what I meant about "breaking the Spirit makes enemies"! Novell  
> are seen as not playing fair,

Patent extortion is unethical, in and on itself.  They do it by violating
the spirit of the GPL, and you perceive this as "unfair", but it's not the
reason that makes it unethical.

Robert Millan

  The DRM opt-in fallacy: "Your data belongs to us. We will decide when (and
  how) you may access your data; but nobody's threatening your freedom: we
  still allow you to remove your data and not access it at all."

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