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Old 06-29-2008, 07:29 PM
Les Mikesell
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

Simo Sorce wrote:

On Sun, 2008-06-29 at 12:39 -0400, Matthew Saltzman wrote:

The GPL is not the only license that protects code released under it
from incorporation into proprietary products. But some clauses in the
GPL prevent interoperability with other software that (for whatever
reason) was released under different licenses that even the FSF
acknowledges are in the spirit of freedom and open source. That's too
bad for free and open-source software.


Copyleft licenses are by nature incompatible with a number of other
licenses, and it's not because they are 'veil', a brief thinking about
the reasons for strong copyleft will make it evident why some licenses
are incompatible with others.


Perhaps there are places who want to prevent better versions than their
own from ever being available and use this to justify the GPL
restrictions on combinations with other components. From a user's
perspective, though, this is just as harmful as any other
anti-competitive ploy to limit choices. And unfortunately, even if the
business reasons to maintain the restrictions on a particular product go
away, the restrictions, once applied, never do.


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Old 06-30-2008, 05:55 AM
Rahul Sundaram
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

Les Mikesell wrote:


Perhaps there are places who want to prevent better versions than their
own from ever being available and use this to justify the GPL
restrictions on combinations with other components. From a user's
perspective, though, this is just as harmful as any other
anti-competitive ploy to limit choices. And unfortunately, even if the
business reasons to maintain the restrictions on a particular product go
away, the restrictions, once applied, never do.


That's factually incorrect. Relicensing, dual or even tri licensing
happens all the time.


Rahul

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Old 06-30-2008, 12:16 PM
Matthew Saltzman
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

On Mon, 2008-06-30 at 11:25 +0530, Rahul Sundaram wrote:
> Les Mikesell wrote:
> >
> > Perhaps there are places who want to prevent better versions than their
> > own from ever being available and use this to justify the GPL
> > restrictions on combinations with other components. From a user's
> > perspective, though, this is just as harmful as any other
> > anti-competitive ploy to limit choices. And unfortunately, even if the
> > business reasons to maintain the restrictions on a particular product go
> > away, the restrictions, once applied, never do.
>
> That's factually incorrect. Relicensing, dual or even tri licensing
> happens all the time.

Well, sometimes. Arranging for retroactive relicensing of existing
projects is often problematic, particularly when there are numerous,
widely distributed developers, or when the developers are unreachable or
unwilling to consider it.

>
> Rahul
>
>
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Old 06-30-2008, 12:26 PM
Rahul Sundaram
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

Matthew Saltzman wrote:

On Mon, 2008-06-30 at 11:25 +0530, Rahul Sundaram wrote:

Les Mikesell wrote:
Perhaps there are places who want to prevent better versions than their
own from ever being available and use this to justify the GPL
restrictions on combinations with other components. From a user's
perspective, though, this is just as harmful as any other
anti-competitive ploy to limit choices. And unfortunately, even if the
business reasons to maintain the restrictions on a particular product go
away, the restrictions, once applied, never do.
That's factually incorrect. Relicensing, dual or even tri licensing
happens all the time.


Well, sometimes. Arranging for retroactive relicensing of existing
projects is often problematic, particularly when there are numerous,
widely distributed developers, or when the developers are unreachable or
unwilling to consider it.


That makes "never" factually incorrect. You are agreeing with my point.
Besides large projects such as Mozilla, gstreamer and others have
managed retroactive relicensing. So it is certainly possible although
possibly difficult in some cases.


Rahul

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Old 06-30-2008, 12:29 PM
Les Mikesell
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

Rahul Sundaram wrote:

Les Mikesell wrote:


Perhaps there are places who want to prevent better versions than
their own from ever being available and use this to justify the GPL
restrictions on combinations with other components. From a user's
perspective, though, this is just as harmful as any other
anti-competitive ploy to limit choices. And unfortunately, even if
the business reasons to maintain the restrictions on a particular
product go away, the restrictions, once applied, never do.


That's factually incorrect. Relicensing, dual or even tri licensing
happens all the time.


It's possible, but rare for project that has been under the GPL for any
length of time. Since there is no requirement to track the copyright
ownership of contributers there is generally no way to get permission
from all of them for a change. Of course a dual license could be
applied from the start with one being less restrictive like perl's to
eliminate that problem.


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Old 06-30-2008, 03:10 PM
Matthew Saltzman
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

On Sun, 2008-06-29 at 12:42 -0400, Jesse Keating wrote:
> On Sun, 2008-06-29 at 12:39 -0400, Matthew Saltzman wrote:
> > I'm not arguing that companies that shy away from open source in general
> > or the GPL in particular always do so for good reasons.
>
> Where "good reason" means "gross misunderstanding of the GPL licenses
> and OpenSource development in general".

This sort of fanboyism gets old in a hurry.

The IBM/Common Public License was developed by IBM lawyers. Are you
seriously suggesting that they exhibit "gross misunderstanding of the
GPL licenses and OpenSource [sic] development in general"? If so, I
think you'll find that even the FSF doesn't share your opinion. One of
IBM's concerns that led to the development of the IPL/CPL was a lack of
protection against patent abuses in GPLv2. The FSF listed the IPL/CPL
as a "free software license incompatible with the GPL". They dubbed the
patent clauses (paraphrasing) "not a bad idea, but still incompatible".

Were IBM's concerns born of "gross misunderstanding of the GPL licenses
and OpenSource development in general"? Well, similar protections ended
up in GPLv3. You be the judge.

Is the problem solved by GPLv3? No: IBM seems content with the IPL/CPL
for a lot of its software (including contributions to a project I work
on). And the IPL/CPL is still a free software license incompatible with
the GPL. Changing IBM's opinion is a long and difficult process that
takes time and energy people would prefer to spend developing new code,
and with no guarantee of success in the end.

--
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Clemson University Math Sciences
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Old 06-30-2008, 03:34 PM
"Nicolas Mailhot"
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

Le Lun 30 juin 2008 17:10, Matthew Saltzman a écrit :
>
>
> On Sun, 2008-06-29 at 12:42 -0400, Jesse Keating wrote:
>> On Sun, 2008-06-29 at 12:39 -0400, Matthew Saltzman wrote:
>> > I'm not arguing that companies that shy away from open source in
>> general
>> > or the GPL in particular always do so for good reasons.
>>
>> Where "good reason" means "gross misunderstanding of the GPL
>> licenses
>> and OpenSource development in general".
>
> This sort of fanboyism gets old in a hurry.
>
> The IBM/Common Public License was developed by IBM lawyers. Are you
> seriously suggesting that they exhibit "gross misunderstanding of the
> GPL licenses and OpenSource [sic] development in general"?

I'd be very careful about listing IBM as counter-example to any argument.

IBM is big and diversified enough it can afford legal strategies
others entities can not. That IBM wrote its own license says little
about the GPL and a lot about IBM.

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Old 06-30-2008, 06:38 PM
Matthew Saltzman
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

On Mon, 2008-06-30 at 17:34 +0200, Nicolas Mailhot wrote:
> Le Lun 30 juin 2008 17:10, Matthew Saltzman a écrit :
> >
> >
> > On Sun, 2008-06-29 at 12:42 -0400, Jesse Keating wrote:
> >> On Sun, 2008-06-29 at 12:39 -0400, Matthew Saltzman wrote:
> >> > I'm not arguing that companies that shy away from open source in
> >> general
> >> > or the GPL in particular always do so for good reasons.
> >>
> >> Where "good reason" means "gross misunderstanding of the GPL
> >> licenses
> >> and OpenSource development in general".
> >
> > This sort of fanboyism gets old in a hurry.
> >
> > The IBM/Common Public License was developed by IBM lawyers. Are you
> > seriously suggesting that they exhibit "gross misunderstanding of the
> > GPL licenses and OpenSource [sic] development in general"?
>
> I'd be very careful about listing IBM as counter-example to any argument.
>
> IBM is big and diversified enough it can afford legal strategies
> others entities can not. That IBM wrote its own license says little
> about the GPL and a lot about IBM.

My point was just that there can be legitimate reasons for businesses to
be concerned about the terms of the GPL and to choose to use alternative
licenses *even for free software*.

It is certainly true that IBM can deal with those concerns in ways that
other businesses can't. On the other hand, the number of FOSS licenses
(some well written, some not-so-well written) indicates that the
concerns exist and may not be due simply to "gross misunderstanding of
the GPL licenses and OpenSource development in general".

My original point was simply that interoperability of GPL software and
software released under a number of other FOSS licenses is hindered by
the GPL's prohibition^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H lack of permission to
distribute combined works. Unfortunately, an all-GPL world is a utopian
dream; the real world is more complicated and more frustrating.

--
Matthew Saltzman

Clemson University Math Sciences
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Old 06-30-2008, 07:26 PM
Simo Sorce
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

On Mon, 2008-06-30 at 18:38 +0000, Matthew Saltzman wrote:
>
> My original point was simply that interoperability of GPL software and
> software released under a number of other FOSS licenses is hindered by
> the GPL's prohibition^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H lack of permission to
> distribute combined works. Unfortunately, an all-GPL world is a
> utopian
> dream; the real world is more complicated and more frustrating.

Sorry but this comment is either grossly imprecise and dictated by hurry
in writing up[, or it underlines a gross misunderstanding of the GPL. In
either case, as it is just false.

First, a copyleft license by nature, cannot be compatible with just any
license, but only with licenses that follow certain rules, for obvious
reasons. Trying to discuss this point is like trying to argue that
gravity sucks and whine about it.

Second, you should really differentiate between GPLv2 and GPLv3, as
GPLv3 address, with many others, also the license compatibility problem,
making GPLv3 more compatible with other copyleft licenses.

Third and not less important the first, the GPL (v2/3) does NOT prohibit
distribution of combined works as long as all pieces use GPL compatible
licenses.

Being GPL compatible is not difficult at all, in most cases modern
licenses that are not GPL (at least v3) compatible, are not by choice,
so you should really look at both sides of the equation, you cannot
blame the GPL for lack of compatibility, compatibility is always a two
sides story. That said I am not pointing fingers at anyone, as I believe
everyone have the right to choose and draft the license for their own
software they way they want.

Finally, please let's keep this para-legal quasi-trolling off the
fedora-*DEVEL* mailing list thanks.


Simo.

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Old 06-30-2008, 07:40 PM
Les Mikesell
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

Simo Sorce wrote:


Sorry but this comment is either grossly imprecise and dictated by hurry
in writing up[, or it underlines a gross misunderstanding of the GPL. In
either case, as it is just false.

First, a copyleft license by nature,


Can you define copyleft? I don't think that term helps clear up any
misunderstandings.


> cannot be compatible with just any

license, but only with licenses that follow certain rules, for obvious
reasons.


Those reasons are not at all obvious. There is never any need to
restrict combinations of works.



Being GPL compatible is not difficult at all, in most cases modern
licenses that are not GPL (at least v3) compatible, are not by choice,
so you should really look at both sides of the equation, you cannot
blame the GPL for lack of compatibility, compatibility is always a two
sides story.


When the GPL is the only one placing requirements on the other
components it is not a two sided story.


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