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[Discuss] OSS licenses (was Home NAS redux)

On Mon, Jan 07, 2013 at 10:36:36AM -0500, Mark Woodward wrote:
> On 01/07/2013 10:15 AM, Edward Ned Harvey (blu) wrote:
> Let's get this clear, it is not "less restrictive" in the long term
> view. 

Yes it is, but it depends on your perspective, i.e. whose rights
you're worried about being limited.

> Think of it in terms of a chain. From originator to You, you
> receive the software. Under GPL you can do anything you like with
> that software. ANYTHING. Seriously. Anything. 

Not anything.  In particular, what you do with it after you've
modified it is very tightly controlled.

> However, the restriction is about how you are to treat the software,
> which you received with complete freedom, as you pass it on to the
> next person in the chain. 

Licences other than the GPL in no way restrict the user receiving your
software from fetching the original software on which your software is
based.  Using the GPL only restricts you from being able to deny that
right to others for your derived work.

> Do you feel that you have the right to deny freedom to a subsequent
> user? Is the freedom to deny freedom really a freedom?

Absolutely.  To both questions.  Copyright law grants you that right,
and while I think it is generally abused by greedy corporations, I do
still think that it provides benefit to both the copyright holder and,
yes, even their customers, under the right circumstances.  Even the
FSF recognizes that this is a right, and one that's often useful.
Hence was the LGPL created.

The BSD license is truly more free than the GPL; it has far fewer
restrictions.  I'm not saying one is better than the other...  Both
have their own--different--goals, which I think is fine.

Derek D. Martin   GPG Key ID: 0xDFBEAD02
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