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Re: [hackers-il] "Licences Wars"

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 of 12 , Mar 3, 2009
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          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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