The Industry choice

Bulba! bulba at
Thu Jan 6 17:41:18 EST 2005

On Thu, 06 Jan 2005 12:20:35 +0100, Stefan Axelsson
<crap1234 at> wrote:

>> If GPL folks had their way, it would not be possible not to "share"
>> _anything_ you create. It is widely acknowledged that GPL
>> license has the "viral" aspect of extending itself on your 
>> software - can you point to closed-source licenses that would 
>> have this aspect? None of the licenses I've read except GPL has 
>> this aspect.  

>Then you haven't read very many source code licenses, many (perhaps 
>most?) that state that if you've as much as looked at the code you're 
>not even allowed to write somethings similar twenty years down the line, 
>or anything that remotely resembles something similar. 

I've read Novell license of internal development tools it provides
(which I reviewed for some purpose). This is I think relevant 

"Novell grants you a non-exclusive license to use the 
Software free of charge if (a) you are [...] (b) you are 
a contracted vendor (c) your use of the Software is for 
the purpose of  evaluating whether to purchase an ongoing 
license to the  Software.  
You may not:
* permit other individuals to use the Software except
  under the terms listed above;
* permit concurrent use of the Software;
* modify, translate, reverse engineer, decompile,
  disassemble (except to the extent applicable laws 
  specifically prohibit such restriction), or create 
  derivative works based on the Software;
* copy the Software other than as specified above;
* rent, lease, grant a security interest in, or
  otherwise transfer rights to the Software; or
* remove any proprietary  notices or labels on the

Novell may have patents or pending patent applications, 
trademarks, copyrights, or other intellectual property 
rights covering the Software.  You are not granted any 
license to these patents, trademarks, copyrights, or other 
intellectual property rights except as expressly provided 
herein.  Novell reserves all rights not expressly granted."

Other than that, the license had to do only with usual
stuff of disclaimers, different jurisdictions, export
controls, "US govt restricted rights", etc. Didn't find
there anything that forbids me to develop smth similar,
unless it's very well hidden in hooking into the technicalities
of specific intellecatual property laws.

I've also read similar IBM licenses -- granted, not very 

The thing that pissed off various bosses most strongly
in my impression was that the EULAs typically limited
or prohibited transferring the rights to use this thing, 
e.g. to spin-offs or organizations cooperating with us. 
It's bothersome in practice. None of that had anything 
to do with source code or reverse-engineering or 
developing similar products (if we wanted to develop
similar products, we would not be using this thing
in the first place, except for 'discovery' purposes). 

I'm not saying licenses like you claim don't exist. Sure,
they may exist and they suck. 

The point is, they have _limited impact_ and by 
the very fact of their "exclusion" nature, this
aspect tends to repel users than attract them to 
use this thing.

>(Most do in fact 
>Now, Stallman might or might not want to achieve world domination, not 
>by sharks with lasers on their heads, but by aiming for all software to 
>be free software, but the GPL is actually a lot less ambitious than 
>that. All the GPL says is that: if you received a binary, the person who 
>  provided you with it, must provide you with the source code that built 
>it. *All* the source code, not just what he happened to receive, on the 
>off chance that he's modified it. 

Which I find again wrong: suppose this developer used GPL-ed 
library A, developed patches B and C. He provided you with
the source code of publicly available library A and a patch
C, but he doesn't want to release patch B.

Now, I know that it would cost you the effort to recreate 
patch B or maybe it wouldn't work without modifying 
patch C. But that's an economic concern, which is orthogonal
to GPL, as GPL is (supposedly) about "free as in speech, not 
free as in beer".

>And as having the source code without 
>being able to modify it would be rather pointless, you're allowed to do 
>that too, it's a given. If you don't want to distribute binaries, that's 
>fine, and all of the GPL falls. The GPL doesn't *force* you to share 
>anything. It only says what must happen if you do.

True, not directly.

However, by attempting to create the context in which it's IMPRACTICAL
to use any non-GPLed software, it's attempting to achieve vendor
lock-in effect, and while in such situation you FORMALLY would not
have to give away, you PRACTICALLY would have to give away.

It's not there in license that you "have to give away whatever you 
create". It's just attempting to create particular _economic_
context with those licenses, just like the licenses and practices
of a well-known vendor do, even though that is not spelled out
explicitly, obviously.

>And I'm rather tired of the GPL's so called 'viral' nature. Look, if 
>you're using my code, you play by my rules, that's called copyright.

Of course. The point is, _what is specific content of those rules_. 

Python's copyrighted, too:

And yes, we have to play by those rules, too. That obviously
doesn't mean that specific conditions are the same, and 
those specific conditions are the crux of controversy.

> If 
>you don't want to play by my rules, fine, don't use my code. 

Do I have to point at who is also attempting to achieve this
particular context - "you don't like our licenses, don't use our

>So far I'm 
>no better than Microsoft, or Sun (though that might change) or IBM for 
>that matter. With the GPL I'm actually not as bad as that, I'll even let 
>you look at the code, modify it, and distribute copies willy nilly 
>(though you I'm not forcing you to), in fact, I'll even *forbid* others 
>from taking that right away from you. If you use it, however, as a small 
>token of your appreciation, you'll have to also agree to not take the 
>same rights you had away from others.

I don't believe person A automatically has this sort of "right" of
reading/using whatever they want. 

>Finally, what *you* do with *your* code is of no concern to the GPL. As 
>long as you don't use *my* code you can do whatever you please. But, and 
>that's a big 'BUT', it really irks me when people release code under 
>e.g. the BSD (or as has happened to me in the past, public domain), and 
>then bitch and moan when I incorporate parts of it in *my* software and 
>release the whole under the GPL. As if that was somehow 'unfair'.

In a way, it is: you're taking liberties with their source and use it 
in a way they did not _intend_ to. Just because this person doesn't
lock they house in hope other people will be considerate enough not 
to rearrange the furniture in it just for fun...

Yes, their license _allows it_. 

So what.

> Look, 
>(and I'm obviously not saying this to the parent poster as he never 
>expressed any such sentiment, I'm just venting) that's what *you* wanted 
>when you released the code under that license. If you don't want me to 
>do that, then don't use those licenses, mkay.

Sure, if too many people do that, they will "lock" their house. And
only then I think we will be back on the way to the 17th century style
"secret science". 

You're talking about taking the maximum liberties of agreements
and situations to achieve ideological goals. I claim that maybe it
would be nicer to base this thing on good-willed consensus rather 
than paranoia and legal technicalities.

It's a man's life in a Python Programming Association.

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