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[Discuss] OSS licenses (was Home NAS redux)

On 01/07/2013 02:19 PM, Derek Martin wrote:
> 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.

If it is merely your rights, then the GPL does not get in your way. The 
GPL protects the rights of people that you would otherwise deny the 
rights by which you originally acquired the software.
>> 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.
Not true, you can do what ever you want to do with the software. The 
issue is if you want to *distribute* the software. You can't make it 
less free than you got it. Under most western civilizations, 
redistribution is not a right, it is a privilege granted by the 
copyright holder.
>> 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.

That's sort of the issue of freedom. What ever you did based on GPL 
software was a product of your freedom to use the GPL software. The 
original package is directly responsible. If it were otherwise, there 
would be no issue. Is a feedom to deny freedom really a freedom? You are 
free to do what ever you want with *your* code, but if you augment 
someone else's code, you can't supplant their judgment with yours. You 
got the code for free.
>> 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,

It does not. "Copyright" allows you to control your work, not the work 
of others.
> 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 LGPL has its own issues and that's another debate.

> 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.

I don't believe that the MIT or BSD license is more "free." When the 
"free" we are discussing is "freedom" and not price. The GPL and strong 
licenses like it, protect software freedom by preventing code from being 
modified and disappearing. The prime example of this is Microsoft's 
actions with kerberos. GPL would have protected it. Instead, it was used 
as a tool to exclude security vendors. The MIT license, according to 
you, is more free, but that very same license was used to make something 
very un-free.

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