[Python-mode] FSF assignment policy

Beverley Eyre fbe2 at comcast.net
Mon Feb 2 05:25:59 CET 2009

On 02/01/2009 06:37 PM, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
> Andreas Roehler writes:
>   >  IMO assignment policy contradicts the spirit of free software.
> Please, Andreas, drop this thread.  You are not going to change
> anyone's mind.
> Here's why:
>   >  Copyright is an important issue now, taken very seriously.
> Which is as it must be; the threat perceived by the free software
> movement is from outside the community.  Of course, the so-called open
> source advocates perceive that threat as an opportunity.
> Nevertheless, copyright remains important there, too.
But not all those whose distributions involves contributions by users force them to assign their copyright. The "free software"
movement hasn't chosen that path, other than the FSF afaik. Certainly Xemacs, TeX, LaTeX haven't.

Stephen Turnbull wrote:

> It is helpful.  The GNU Project's mission is to preserve a body of
> code sufficient to support a free operating system, and it is the
> FSF's job to provide legal support for that.  The assignment allows
> the FSF to defend code you contribute on your behalf, at no cost to
> you.  It would be far more costly to defend the code if it were not
> assigned.
That's not so, Stephen. Again, look at some of the other applications that are in a similar position. You should read
the LaTeX license. An early section of it states:

"The document `modguide.tex' in the base LaTeX distribution explains
the motivation behind the conditions of this license.  It explains,
for example, why distributing LaTeX under the GNU General Public
License (GPL) was considered inappropriate."

I think that their structure is well conceived and protects both the integrity and functionality of the LaTeX source
and packages submitted by users without any need to assign copyrights. Their situation and that of GNU Emacs seems
very similar to me (note caveat).


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