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Re: [hackers-il] "Licences Wars"

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  • Shlomi Fish
    Hi Omer! Sorry for the late response. ... I am against them in the sense that I prefer not to use them for my code. But I accept the fact that some people want
    Message 1 of 12 , Nov 19, 2008
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      Hi Omer!

      Sorry for the late response.

      On Sunday 09 November 2008, Omer Zak wrote:
      > On Thu, 2008-11-06 at 20:33 +0200, Shlomi Fish wrote:
      > > On Thursday 06 November 2008, Omer Zak wrote:
      > > > In an ideal world, in which all software vendors act fairly and compete
      > > > only over the merits of their products, politics would not be
      > > > necessary.
      > > >
      > > > But in today's world, politically-charged licenses - on at least part
      > > > of the software running the world - are essential to keep the unfair
      > > > software vendors in check. For, without viral licenses, they can take
      > > > over any Free Software and create closed source derivatives out of it.
      > >
      > > The SleepyCat licence is a viral licence, but is much less politically
      > > charged than the GPL, and I didn't have a problem understanding it. As a
      > > result I recommend using it instead of the GPL, should you decide to use
      > > a viral licence.
      >
      > I understood that you are (not strongly) against all viral licenses,
      > regardless of whether they provide us with protection against the unfair
      > software vendors.

      I am against them in the sense that I prefer not to use them for my code. But
      I accept the fact that some people want to use them. However, I do think that
      the SleepyCat licence is preferable over the GPL for the reasons I cited
      below.

      >
      > > Similarly, the Artistic 2.0 licence is LGPL-like, and should be used
      > > instead of the LGPL because it's less politically charged and
      > > problematic.
      >
      > See above.

      The Artistic licence is not strong-copyleft. I am not against the Artistic
      licence (at least not as much I am against the GPL or the SleepyCat
      licences), but on the other hand, what I mean is that the GPL and LGPL, are
      too over-complicated, incomprehensible, and heavily misunderstood to be a
      wise choice as a licence.

      >
      > > > Unrelated to the above, consider the fragmentation of the Unix world in
      > > > the 1980's vs. the natural tendency to converge in the Linux world.
      > > > The GPL played an important role in making this convergence happen.
      > >
      > > Possibly - I'm not sure. It preceded my time. However, there's a strong
      > > convergence in the BSD, X11, and Apache worlds today, and they are all
      > > based on BSD-style licences. GPL doesn't positively prevent
      > > fragmentation, as it explicitly allows forking.
      >
      > 1. Research this! The above fragmentation can be considered to have
      > preceded also my time, because I was not conscious of this world until
      > 1991 (unrelated to Linux).

      I have researched it to some extent.

      >
      > 2. In practice, it turns out that overwhelming majority of GPLed
      > software does not fragment.
      > While the GPL allows forking, in practice it turns out that there is an
      > incentive for people to stick together in a single project, because if
      > the original GPLed project has forked into two projects, then they are
      > allowed to use each other's improvements, and eventually one of them
      > turns out to be better (code/documentation/management/politics/business)
      > and wins over the minds and hearts of developers and the other project
      > dies natural death.
      >

      Well, the same thing can be said about forks of BSD-style-licensed projects
      that are both kept under the same licence. In regards to proprietary
      spin-offs - given enough motivation on those who remained FOSS, they can
      continue working on the codebase, and gain inspiration from the properietary
      spin-offs.

      > > In any case, I'm not too worried about trying to undermine "unfair
      > > software vendors".
      >
      > You can afford the luxury of not being too worried about unfair software
      > vendors, because other people do the heavy worrying in your behalf.
      > This is like parents who get away with not vaccinating their children
      > against childhood diseases due to ideological reasons, and it turns out
      > that their children stay healthy because the other children in their
      > kindergarten or classroom have been vaccinated.

      Interesting analogy. Well, companies who wish to develop proprietary software
      have enough BSD-licenced (or possibly also LGPL/Artistic/etc.) code or
      alterantively proprietary code that they can build on (like the Microsoft
      APIs) for them to not have to use any GPLed code.

      Furthermore, I don't think the FOSS world is under any threat from proprietary
      software vendors, that can be prevnted if I GPLed all my code. Can you cite
      any possible substantial threat?

      >
      > > If they pose a threat (which I don't think they do), then
      > > no amount of keeping my code GPLed will prevent that threat.
      >
      > This is a case in which every little bit helps.
      >
      > > If they don't
      > > pose a threat, then making my code viral will not help them and may
      > > likely pose a problem to many benevolent developers (also of FOSS).
      >
      > I think that LGPL is the best compromise - LGPLed software can be part
      > of proprietary software, yet any modifications to the LGPLed part must
      > be available in source code to users of the proprietary software, along
      > with means for linking modified LGPLed modules into the software.

      Like I said, I still prefer LGPL-like-licences that are not the LGPL, because
      the LGPL is based on the GPL (only more complicated) and because I don't
      understand it.

      >
      > > To quote Alan
      > > Kay, "Don't worry about what everybody else are doing. The best way to
      > > predict the future is to invent it.".
      >
      > This quote can be invoked as a reason to use GPL/LGPL, not only as a
      > reason against it. By using GPL/LGPL on your software, you invent a
      > future for Free Software.

      "Invent a future"? If I release software under any licence, I invent a future.
      The licence affects the kind of future there is going be, but not its
      substance.

      >
      > > One thing I forgot to note is that the GPL often stands against the
      > > Hacker Ethics as presented by ESR in
      > > http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/hacker-howto.html (and which I agree with),
      > > that says that "No problem should ever have to be solved twice.". For
      > > example, the FSF now started the GNU PDF project so it will be a GPL
      > > version 3-licenced code because both ghostscript and xpdf are GPLv2-only.
      > > Or the story here - http://www.osnews.com/story/7241 that said that:
      > >
      > > {{{{{{{{
      > > Once before, someone had contributed a patch to add boolean operations,
      > > but that patch relied on a polygon clipping library provided under an
      > > incompatible license. There's little more frustrating than having a
      > > solution in hand, only to be hamstrung by legal problems. Even though it
      > > was an important feature for us, we regretfully postponed development of
      > > it into the distant future on our roadmap and proceeded with other work.
      > > }}}}}}}}
      > >
      > > Or the fact OpenBSD is now re-implementing a lot of GNU GPL code from
      > > scratch because they find the GPL too restrictive.
      >
      > The people, who slapped the GPL license on their code, expect to be paid
      > in a way (not monetary), which OpenBSD is not willing to pay. This is
      > not different from re-implementing a proprietary software application on
      > your own because the one you can buy in shop is too expensive for you to
      > buy.
      >
      > Your argument is not different in essence from the argument of someone,
      > who wants to buy a Ferrari car but grumbles about its high price.
      >

      Have you noticed what I said about the Hacker Ethics? This is not about
      complying to the originator's whims. This is about making sure everyone in
      the world will build on each other's efforts instead of having to waste time
      in duplicating them.

      > > And I should also note that often one can build upon non-GPL-like-code
      > > and not release the derived work as FOSS, without it causing any harm,
      > > and actually causing a lot of good. Which is otherwise prevented if the
      > > code is GPL.
      >
      > RMS would disagree with you, and he could cite the printer driver
      > example as an counterexample to your point.
      >

      I said "often" not "always". People such as RMS would claim that all
      proprietary software is Evil and should be avoided. My argument is that often
      it doesn't cause any damage.

      For example, someone integrated my Freecell Solver library in a shareware
      (without source) game he wrote titled Freecell 3D:

      http://www.ambermango.com/php/am/f3d/index.php

      He sells ths game online. It did not do any damage, because there are plenty
      of Freecell implementations around. I on my part am pretty happy with the
      open-source PySolFC.

      On the other hand, it has some innovative features that we can now duplicate,
      or draw inspiration from.

      Regards,

      Shlomi Fish

      -----------------------------------------------------------------
      Shlomi Fish http://www.shlomifish.org/
      Understand what Open Source is - http://xrl.us/bjn82

      Shlomi, so what are you working on? Working on a new wiki about unit testing
      fortunes in freecell? -- Ran Eilam
    • Nadav Har'El
      ... Thinking of future threats is hard (in the banking business, this is a whole profession, and as you can see lately, the haven t been doing a very good job.
      Message 2 of 12 , Nov 23, 2008
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        On Wed, Nov 19, 2008, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Re: [hackers-il] "Licences Wars"":
        > Furthermore, I don't think the FOSS world is under any threat from proprietary
        > software vendors, that can be prevnted if I GPLed all my code. Can you cite
        > any possible substantial threat?

        Thinking of future threats is hard (in the banking business, this is a whole
        profession, and as you can see lately, the haven't been doing a very good
        job. But as they say, "Hindsight is always 20:20", and it's easier to look
        at the past.

        And the experience of the last 20 years indeed shown that proprietary
        software vendor's use of BSD has been a problem to free software. Not a huge
        problem, certainly nothing that could ever kill free software, but a problem
        nontheless.

        Let me give you just a few examples.

        In the second half of the 90s, X-Windows was quite popular - a department
        (in universities, companies, etc.) would have strong Unix workstations
        (from Sun, DEC, SGI, HP and other vendors) and people would have cheaper
        machines showing the output from the strong machine using X-Windows. As
        MS-Windows grew popular, people wanted to use their PC running Windows to
        display X-Windows sessions. But unfortunately, the only X server available
        for Windows was commercial software (Exceed), which could happen because X
        was BSD-licensed and not GPL. Users (at the time, most had corporate or
        university funds - they weren't home users) bit the bullet and paid. It took
        literarly years before a free X server for Windows became available.

        Another example - Mosix. Mosix (if you're familiar with it) was written over
        a *proprietary* BSD variant called BSDI. Because the BSD licence allowed BSDI
        to make it proprietary, and Mosix made the error in judgement (or, more
        accurately, at the time of the judgement there weren't many alternatives)
        of using it, for many years Mosix itself could not be made free software,
        even though the people in the Hebrew University who developed it wanted to
        do so.

        Another less clear-cut example is the massive Unix diversity of the 90s.
        A dozen companies, like Sun, HP, DEC, SGI, AT&T, SCO, BSDI, all created
        their own variants of Unix and spent thousands of man-years on their
        development. On the positive side, the Unix world was thriving because of
        this diversity, but on the negative side, none of these thousands of man
        years went into free software, and Richard Stallman and his friends had
        to spend nearly a decade to replicate all this work. Is it surprising, then,
        that Richard Stallman wanted to invent the copyleft license?

        > > > If they pose a threat (which I don't think they do), then
        > > > no amount of keeping my code GPLed will prevent that threat.

        The GPL is not trying to prevent free software from being destroyed, but
        rather to "force" people and companies into spending their work into free
        software, rather than proprietary software. And I think you can't deny it's
        succeeding. The Linux kernel is the most obvious example - after decades
        where every company created their own kernel or took a BSD-licensed kernel
        and "appropriated" it, in the last decade there is a huge push for all
        comapnies to work together on the open Linux kernel, and all these companies
        are "forced" to contribute their work back to free software.


        > For example, someone integrated my Freecell Solver library in a shareware
        > (without source) game he wrote titled Freecell 3D:
        >
        > http://www.ambermango.com/php/am/f3d/index.php
        >
        > He sells ths game online. It did not do any damage, because there are plenty
        > of Freecell implementations around. I on my part am pretty happy with the
        > open-source PySolFC.

        Let's imagine that you wrote a great freecell solver library, but you suck at
        UI and failed to create a graphical game based on that library, and wish that
        someone created a UI on top of your library. If your library is BSD, someone
        could create this UI but make it commercial and not even you can use it.
        If your library is GPL, this person is forced to either make his code public
        (so you and your friends can use it) or pay you for a new license.
        Which of those scenarios will make you happier? I can't see how the GPL isn't
        better in this scenario.


        --
        Nadav Har'El | Sunday, Nov 23 2008, 25 Heshvan 5769
        nyh@... |-----------------------------------------
        Phone +972-523-790466, ICQ 13349191 |The two rules for success are: 1. Never
        http://nadav.harel.org.il |tell them everything you know.
      • Shlomi Fish
        ... I agree this is a problem. However, if X-Windows were GPLed, then the people who made Exceed and wanted to sell it, would not have made it in the first
        Message 3 of 12 , Nov 23, 2008
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          On Sunday 23 November 2008, Nadav Har'El wrote:
          > On Wed, Nov 19, 2008, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Re: [hackers-il] "Licences
          Wars"":
          > > Furthermore, I don't think the FOSS world is under any threat from
          > > proprietary software vendors, that can be prevnted if I GPLed all my
          > > code. Can you cite any possible substantial threat?
          >
          > Thinking of future threats is hard (in the banking business, this is a
          > whole profession, and as you can see lately, the haven't been doing a very
          > good job. But as they say, "Hindsight is always 20:20", and it's easier to
          > look at the past.
          >
          > And the experience of the last 20 years indeed shown that proprietary
          > software vendor's use of BSD has been a problem to free software. Not a
          > huge problem, certainly nothing that could ever kill free software, but a
          > problem nontheless.
          >
          > Let me give you just a few examples.
          >
          > In the second half of the 90s, X-Windows was quite popular - a department
          > (in universities, companies, etc.) would have strong Unix workstations
          > (from Sun, DEC, SGI, HP and other vendors) and people would have cheaper
          > machines showing the output from the strong machine using X-Windows. As
          > MS-Windows grew popular, people wanted to use their PC running Windows to
          > display X-Windows sessions. But unfortunately, the only X server available
          > for Windows was commercial software (Exceed), which could happen because X
          > was BSD-licensed and not GPL. Users (at the time, most had corporate or
          > university funds - they weren't home users) bit the bullet and paid. It
          > took literarly years before a free X server for Windows became available.

          I agree this is a problem. However, if X-Windows were GPLed, then the people
          who made Exceed and wanted to sell it, would not have made it in the first
          place, because they had to make it GPLed. So either they would have
          implemented it from scratch or not at all. It is possible that a different
          group would have created a free X server for Windows, but it is possible that
          no free X server would have been available at all. And if a different group
          could have created a free X server for Windows without Exceed, they could
          have certainly created it with it.

          >
          > Another example - Mosix. Mosix (if you're familiar with it) was written
          > over a *proprietary* BSD variant called BSDI. Because the BSD licence
          > allowed BSDI to make it proprietary, and Mosix made the error in judgement
          > (or, more accurately, at the time of the judgement there weren't many
          > alternatives) of using it, for many years Mosix itself could not be made
          > free software, even though the people in the Hebrew University who
          > developed it wanted to do so.

          Well, the same problem could have been present if Mosix had chosen to use a
          System V-based UNIX (or a different proprietary OS altogether) that never
          originated from BSD-style code (although it did incorporate some code from
          BSD). This is a problem on the judgement of the Mosix developers, not on the
          availability of BSDI by itself.

          >
          > Another less clear-cut example is the massive Unix diversity of the 90s.
          > A dozen companies, like Sun, HP, DEC, SGI, AT&T, SCO, BSDI, all created
          > their own variants of Unix and spent thousands of man-years on their
          > development. On the positive side, the Unix world was thriving because of
          > this diversity, but on the negative side, none of these thousands of man
          > years went into free software, and Richard Stallman and his friends had
          > to spend nearly a decade to replicate all this work. Is it surprising,
          > then, that Richard Stallman wanted to invent the copyleft license?



          >
          > > > > If they pose a threat (which I don't think they do), then
          > > > > no amount of keeping my code GPLed will prevent that threat.
          >
          > The GPL is not trying to prevent free software from being destroyed, but
          > rather to "force" people and companies into spending their work into free
          > software, rather than proprietary software. And I think you can't deny it's
          > succeeding. The Linux kernel is the most obvious example - after decades
          > where every company created their own kernel or took a BSD-licensed kernel
          > and "appropriated" it, in the last decade there is a huge push for all
          > comapnies to work together on the open Linux kernel, and all these
          > companies are "forced" to contribute their work back to free software.

          This is true.

          >
          > > For example, someone integrated my Freecell Solver library in a shareware
          > > (without source) game he wrote titled Freecell 3D:
          > >
          > > http://www.ambermango.com/php/am/f3d/index.php
          > >
          > > He sells ths game online. It did not do any damage, because there are
          > > plenty of Freecell implementations around. I on my part am pretty happy
          > > with the open-source PySolFC.
          >
          > Let's imagine that you wrote a great freecell solver library, but you suck
          > at UI and failed to create a graphical game based on that library, and wish
          > that someone created a UI on top of your library.

          That's a lot of if's. When I started working on Freecell Solver, there were
          already plenty of graphical Freecell games, possibly with support for other
          variants of Solitaire. And there were also several open-source ones,
          including some very polished ones.

          As a result, I could have easily integrated my solver into one of them. So
          your thought experiment is not very realistic, although it may be valid in
          the general case.

          > If your library is BSD,
          > someone could create this UI but make it commercial and not even you can
          > use it. If your library is GPL, this person is forced to either make his
          > code public (so you and your friends can use it) or pay you for a new
          > license.

          He could also:

          1. Develop his own Freecell solving library from scratch. That will probably
          be less work than developing a graphical Freecell game.

          2. Write a command line executable that uses the library call it, and process
          its output. This strategy was taken by the PySolFC developers out of
          convenience using my existing "fc-solve" executable.

          3. Write a GPLed server for solving Freecell that the graphical game would
          communicate with using TCP/IP or a different IPC mechanism.

          4. Decide that developing a graphical game only to later release it as free
          software won't be worth his time, and as a result not develop it at all.

          In all of these cases, we won't have a graphical game as FOSS.

          > Which of those scenarios will make you happier? I can't see how
          > the GPL isn't better in this scenario.

          I'd rather have a proprietary derived work than no work at all, or instead
          someone duplicating my effort in creating a BSD or a proprietary replacement
          for my work.

          Regards,

          Shlomi Fish

          --
          -----------------------------------------------------------------
          Shlomi Fish http://www.shlomifish.org/
          Interview with Ben Collins-Sussman - http://xrl.us/bjn8s

          Shlomi, so what are you working on? Working on a new wiki about unit testing
          fortunes in freecell? -- Ran Eilam
        • Shlomi Fish
          ... Now that I think of it, I have another vital thought experiment to add to this. If X11 had been initiated under a non-BSD-style-licence, then it is
          Message 4 of 12 , Jan 9, 2009
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            On Sunday 23 November 2008 13:51:01 Shlomi Fish wrote:
            > On Sunday 23 November 2008, Nadav Har'El wrote:
            > > On Wed, Nov 19, 2008, Shlomi Fish wrote about "Re: [hackers-il] "Licences
            >
            > Wars"":
            > > > Furthermore, I don't think the FOSS world is under any threat from
            > > > proprietary software vendors, that can be prevnted if I GPLed all my
            > > > code. Can you cite any possible substantial threat?
            > >
            > > Thinking of future threats is hard (in the banking business, this is a
            > > whole profession, and as you can see lately, the haven't been doing a
            > > very good job. But as they say, "Hindsight is always 20:20", and it's
            > > easier to look at the past.
            > >
            > > And the experience of the last 20 years indeed shown that proprietary
            > > software vendor's use of BSD has been a problem to free software. Not a
            > > huge problem, certainly nothing that could ever kill free software, but a
            > > problem nontheless.
            > >
            > > Let me give you just a few examples.
            > >
            > > In the second half of the 90s, X-Windows was quite popular - a department
            > > (in universities, companies, etc.) would have strong Unix workstations
            > > (from Sun, DEC, SGI, HP and other vendors) and people would have cheaper
            > > machines showing the output from the strong machine using X-Windows. As
            > > MS-Windows grew popular, people wanted to use their PC running Windows to
            > > display X-Windows sessions. But unfortunately, the only X server
            > > available for Windows was commercial software (Exceed), which could
            > > happen because X was BSD-licensed and not GPL. Users (at the time, most
            > > had corporate or university funds - they weren't home users) bit the
            > > bullet and paid. It took literarly years before a free X server for
            > > Windows became available.
            >
            > I agree this is a problem. However, if X-Windows were GPLed, then the
            > people who made Exceed and wanted to sell it, would not have made it in the
            > first place, because they had to make it GPLed. So either they would have
            > implemented it from scratch or not at all. It is possible that a different
            > group would have created a free X server for Windows, but it is possible
            > that no free X server would have been available at all. And if a different
            > group could have created a free X server for Windows without Exceed, they
            > could have certainly created it with it.
            >

            Now that I think of it, I have another vital thought experiment to add to
            this. If X11 had been initiated under a non-BSD-style-licence, then it is
            possible it would not have become as ubiquitous as it is in the UNIX world,
            thus making it irrelevant to port it to Windows in the first place. We can't
            tell that for sure, but I think it is a possibility.

            Regards,

            Shlomi Fish (who is now trying to prepare a coherent document out of this
            thread).

            --
            -----------------------------------------------------------------
            Shlomi Fish http://www.shlomifish.org/
            Original Riddles - http://www.shlomifish.org/puzzles/

            <mauke> I'm not interested in what you're doing; what are you trying to
            achieve?
            <PerlJam> mauke: I'm trying to achieve world peace and this regex is
            the last thing standing in my way! ;)
          • Amit Aronovitch
            ... In this case, your recommendations are also not free enough. Only license that would work is something like: You can do with this work whatever you like,
            Message 5 of 12 , Jan 10, 2009
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              On Sat, Nov 8, 2008 at 7:24 AM, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:
              On Friday 07 November 2008, Amit Aronovitch wrote:
              > On Thu, Nov 6, 2008 at 1:33 AM, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:
              > > Now. The first thing I'll mention is that it is not entirely agreed upon
              > > which
              > > licences are free/open-source and which are not:
              > >
              > > The original Artistic Licence (authored by Larry Wall for dual-licensing
              > > perl)
              > > is:
              > >
              > > * considered non-free (and non-GPL-compatible) by the FSF
              > >
              > > * considered free by Debian.
              > >
              > > * considered non-free by RedHat.
              > >
              > > * considered free by Mandriva.
              > >
              > > * considered open-source by the OSI -
              > > http://www.opensource.org/licenses/artistic-license-1.0.php
              > >
              > > * was considered a contract in a certain judgement:
              > >
              > > http://lwn.net/Articles/246695/
              > >
              > > (Who are you going to believe?)
              >
              > Possibly all. The reason is that "freeness" is not a boolean parameter. Not
              > even a single parameter real-valued scale. There are multiple criteria,
              > possibly contradicting each other. Much like human rights...
              > It is much more practical to talk about specific definitions, such as
              > OSI-free/DFSG-free/FSF-free etc.
              > As your examples clearly demonstrate, these do not comply to a total
              > ordering (in the mathematical sense:
              > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_order ).
              >
              > You should decide how you *want* your work to be distributed and choose the
              > license accordingly (effectively decide which criteria should take
              > priority). CC has a nice mechanism for it.

              Well, generally speaking one should strive for endorsement as free (and
              preferably GPL-compatibility) by everybody. Otherwise, you may be facing
              problems.

              In this case, your recommendations are also not free enough. Only license that would work is something like:
              "You can do with this work whatever you like, even claim that you did it all by yourself, no need to mention me. However, you still have the right to sue me if it does not work".
              The reason you don't find any license like that is because authors normally want to assure at least some of their own rights, and that comes at the expense of the "freedoms" of the end users. The question is how you prioritize these freedoms.

              You actually want "endorsement as free" not really by *everybody*, just by a specific list of organizations which you consider relevant for your beliefs and for the projects you work on.

              As for CC, the standard CC licences
              (CC-by/CC-by-sa/CC-by-nc-sa/CC-by-nd/etc.) are not suitable for software due
              to their attribution clause:

              http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/bsd.html

              In fact, the Creative Commons does not let you choose "software" as the type
              of artwork, when filling their form.

              I'm not sure what you mean, but it seems that the discussion in your link is irrelevant. It speaks about the specific case of attribution in "advertising materials" (you can't make effective ads if they must include 100 attributions).
              The CC attribution clause says only that you must attribute "in the manner specified by the author" - this in itself places no restriction, all depends on what the author explicitly requires.
               

              >
              > > The Creative Commons Attribution (CC-by) and Attribution-ShareAlike
              > > Licences
              > > (CC-by-sa) are considered free (but not GPL-compatible) by the FSF (see
              > > http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/license-list.html#OtherLicenses ), while
              > > the Debian legal team concluded that they were not free.[1]
              >
              > Notes:
              > (1) Version 3.0 CC licenses *are* considered DFSG-free.

              I see. That's god.

              Hmm... I though you were an atheist ;-)

                     AA


            • Shlomi Fish
              ... This seems a bit contradictory. And who would be happy with such a licence and not with, say, the X11L? ... I see. ... Well, I have yet to hear of an
              Message 6 of 12 , Mar 3, 2009
              • 0 Attachment
                On Saturday 10 January 2009 21:27:50 Amit Aronovitch wrote:
                > On Sat, Nov 8, 2008 at 7:24 AM, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:
                > > On Friday 07 November 2008, Amit Aronovitch wrote:
                > > > On Thu, Nov 6, 2008 at 1:33 AM, Shlomi Fish <shlomif@...> wrote:
                > > > > Now. The first thing I'll mention is that it is not entirely agreed
                > >
                > > upon
                > >
                > > > > which
                > > > > licences are free/open-source and which are not:
                > > > >
                > > > > The original Artistic Licence (authored by Larry Wall for
                > >
                > > dual-licensing
                > >
                > > > > perl)
                > > > > is:
                > > > >
                > > > > * considered non-free (and non-GPL-compatible) by the FSF
                > > > >
                > > > > * considered free by Debian.
                > > > >
                > > > > * considered non-free by RedHat.
                > > > >
                > > > > * considered free by Mandriva.
                > > > >
                > > > > * considered open-source by the OSI -
                > > > > http://www.opensource.org/licenses/artistic-license-1.0.php
                > > > >
                > > > > * was considered a contract in a certain judgement:
                > > > >
                > > > > http://lwn.net/Articles/246695/
                > > > >
                > > > > (Who are you going to believe?)
                > > >
                > > > Possibly all. The reason is that "freeness" is not a boolean parameter.
                > >
                > > Not
                > >
                > > > even a single parameter real-valued scale. There are multiple criteria,
                > > > possibly contradicting each other. Much like human rights...
                > > > It is much more practical to talk about specific definitions, such as
                > > > OSI-free/DFSG-free/FSF-free etc.
                > > > As your examples clearly demonstrate, these do not comply to a total
                > > > ordering (in the mathematical sense:
                > > > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_order ).
                > > >
                > > > You should decide how you *want* your work to be distributed and choose
                > >
                > > the
                > >
                > > > license accordingly (effectively decide which criteria should take
                > > > priority). CC has a nice mechanism for it.
                > >
                > > Well, generally speaking one should strive for endorsement as free (and
                > > preferably GPL-compatibility) by everybody. Otherwise, you may be facing
                > > problems.
                >
                > In this case, your recommendations are also not free enough. Only license
                > that would work is something like:
                > "You can do with this work whatever you like, even claim that you did it
                > all by yourself, no need to mention me. However, you still have the right
                > to sue me if it does not work".

                This seems a bit contradictory. And who would be happy with such a licence and
                not with, say, the X11L?

                > The reason you don't find any license like that is because authors normally
                > want to assure at least some of their own rights, and that comes at the
                > expense of the "freedoms" of the end users. The question is how you
                > prioritize these freedoms.

                I see.

                >
                > You actually want "endorsement as free" not really by *everybody*, just by
                > a specific list of organizations which you consider relevant for your
                > beliefs and for the projects you work on.
                >

                Well, I have yet to hear of an organisation that doesn't consider the X11L as
                a usable licence. But who knows?

                > As for CC, the standard CC licences
                >
                > > (CC-by/CC-by-sa/CC-by-nc-sa/CC-by-nd/etc.) are not suitable for software
                > > due
                > > to their attribution clause:
                > >
                > > http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/bsd.html
                > >
                > > In fact, the Creative Commons does not let you choose "software" as the
                > > type
                > > of artwork, when filling their form.
                >
                > I'm not sure what you mean, but it seems that the discussion in your link
                > is irrelevant. It speaks about the specific case of attribution in
                > "advertising materials" (you can't make effective ads if they must include
                > 100
                > attributions).

                I see.

                > The CC attribution clause says only that you must attribute "in the manner
                > specified by the author" - this in itself places no restriction, all
                > depends on what the author explicitly requires.

                Hmmm... interesting. In any case, the FSF does not consider CC-by and CC-by-sa
                as GPL-compatible. And I'm not sure the CC attribution clause (while taking
                into consideration its difference from the original BSDL advertising clause)
                is GPL-compatible. And the Creative Commons still recommends using one of the
                more standard (and older) software licences for licensing programs rather than
                one of the CC licences.

                Regards,

                Shlomi Fish

                --
                -----------------------------------------------------------------
                Shlomi Fish http://www.shlomifish.org/
                "Humanity" - Parody of Modern Life - http://xrl.us/bkeut

                <mauke> I'm not interested in what you're doing; what are you trying to
                achieve?
                <PerlJam> mauke: I'm trying to achieve world peace and this regex is
                the last thing standing in my way! ;)
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