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Re: [ossig] ESR on BSD and GPL

On 07/03/05 17:37 Ditesh said the following:
> Liberal also means not insisting that others adopt your viewpoint. If
> the original creator wishes to license it under the GPL, you cannot be
> liberal and simulataneously insist that he/she follow your wishes.

exactly, which is why the OSI adopts many different licensing regimes as 
long as they fulfil the OSI guidelines of open source software. it's a 
non-exclusionary principle instead of an exclusionary principle. the GPL is 
accepted here, and no one questions the GPL's position as an OSS license. 
it's the non-liberal exclusionary principles of the FSF which we're 

has religious fervour brought about a "me against them" mentality ? :)

> insist that you adopt the GPL, it gives due recognition to all other
> free software licenses.

which is why RMS refuses to accept the term open source then isnt it ? his 
steadfast holding on to his FS principles in spite of the larger worldview 
around this is what sets him on his lonely path. i'd hardly call that due 
recognition, to say something on the website then to say another in email 
and in his speeches. we have another word for people like that, and it 
begins with H and rhymes with shit.

> The case of Daniel Robbins is not as you paint it - he attempted to run

but the pragmatic realities of the world we live in had to take precedence 
over political principles. that is the point. you can't eat a compiler or a 
loadable module. they dont taste too good.

> And as I pointed out to you, they do this because they want to highlight
> the moral issue that the OSI crowd insists is not important.

it's not about importance or the lack of it, but rather the palatability of 
such political statements within the wider worldview of the industry and 
the craft.

> FUD. The BSD is a free software license according to the FSF. Read
> http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/index_html.

another case of saying one thing and meaning another. if the above is true, 
why then does BSD code need to be relicensed under the GPL when it is 
combined with GPL'ed code ? rms calls it a fs license, yet then insists on 
relicensing it when such integration happens. this is an inconsistency in 
statements and position, and perhaps morally incongruent with the stance he 
takes publicly.

> Yes, that's his standpoint. What is the problem with taking a stand?
> Everybody does it, RMS is just more vocal then the others.

there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. however it then raises 
questions with the stand that esr made (which started this debate) and his 
right to make that stand which drew responses now, innit ? :)

if there was no problem with stating a stand, then ESR's statement wouldnt 
have needed to be responded to by yourself, for its just him making a stand 
on something he believes in.

> I did not claim that the BSD license is doomed, just that the incredible
> popularity of the GPL indicates that the political message of the GPL
> still captures the hearts of many in our industry.

continuing the same argument, the incredible popularity of closed source 
indicates that its capitalistic message captures the hearts of more in the 
industry. to correlate quantity with adoption of a political message shows 
no cause and effect the way you're trying to draw from it.

or to put it in another way, let's all eat shit since 10 billion flies cant 
be wrong. :)

> And the BSD code would not have been mired in the lawsuit had the BSD folk been more careful with the licensing issues.

perhaps some history may be in order. the AT&T vs UCB lawsuit had nothing 
to do with licenses, just as the current SCO vs IBM suit doesnt. the core 
issues in both the lawsuits were the same and dealt with the 
misappropriation of copyrighted code and other forms of intellectual property.

it was UCB's counter suit which brought the terms of the BSD license into 
play and charged that AT&T had violated it by taking BSD licensed code and 
not keeping to the license terms, which AT&T acknowledged when they agreed 
to settle. in essence, this tested the terms of the BSD license in a court 
of law.

but it's good that this is brought up, since the settlement agreement 
between AT&T and UCB meant that AT&T made the BSD code base perpetualy 
unencumbered and as a result of this we wont see a SCO type (who currently 
owns the rights of the then AT&T in UNIX(tm)) taking a legal stance against 
the BSD codebase. in this regard, IBM (and linux) is going thru what BSD 
went thru more than 12 years ago. as i'm fond of saying, been there, done 

> With the GPL, we would never have this problem - indeed, the lack of any successful lawsuit against the GPL is a clear indication of the legal strength of the license.

which is misdirection, since the GPL didnt prevent SCO from suing IBM for 
misappropriating supposed UNIX(tm) code into the linux kernel. and the 
strength of any legal proposition can only be tested in court so to claim 
the lack of any legal cases as definite proof is definitely wrong. the GPL 
will only be legally sound /after/ it has been tested in court. until then, 
it is a conjencture.

> Yes, nobody claimed otherwise. The BSD is a free software license too.

no it isnt, inspite of what rms says, because it is forced to morph into 
the GPL when it comes into contact with GPLed code because of the terms of 
the GPL. if it was free software on par with GPLed software, this wouldnt 
need to be done now, would it ? so obviously, while he may call it FS, he 
actually doesnt really mean that in practice.

> Yes, it is a political tool. Nobody makes other representations about the GPL and the ideology of Stallman.

excellent, which then makes the statement that rms is using software to 
push a political agenda uncontested.

> Then they are narrow minded.

are they ? or...

> The political agenda is to ensure the sustainability of FOSS. Else, we'll have the Schwartz's and McBride's of the world using the OSS platform as a public domain resource and never giving back.

...is FS that fragile that it cant handle the big, bad world ? does it need 
protection ? does the likes of sun and sco take anything away from OSS and 
FS ? i guess it is this fear then which drives the FS crowd, a fear that 
unless they fight they will fade away and die from historical reference.

perhaps this then is the underlying difference between the philosophies, 
and indeed the mindsets. the lack of the viral clause in the BSD license is 
perhaps an indication that there is no fear that it will fade away and 
disappear for whosoever takes the source and closes it for whatever 
purpose, has not removed the original source and the innovation in that 
from the public eye. the understanding and wisdom that it does not need to 
be protected is firm and not mired in uncertainty.

perhaps esr was right after all when he said, "As far back as 1998, I 
suspected that allegiance to the GPL is actually evidence that open source 
developers don't really believe their own story. That is, if we really 
believe that open source is a superior system of production, and therefore 
that it will drive out closed source in a free market, then why do we think 
we need infectious licensing? What do we think we gain by punishing defectors?"

> Why should rms work with people that don't share his values? Why would anybody work with others that don't share their values?

right, so there is no cooperation then from rms part, since it's his way or 
the highway and not the principles of open source software. he's chosen to 
go at it himself, instead of realising that there're others we can 
cooperate and collaborate with against a larger foe. fragmentation of the 
community is exactly what the likes of redmond will seek to sow.

> It's like saying Gandhi should have kowtow-ed to Jinnah for the sake of unity.

even jinnah worked with gandhi against a common foe, the british empire.

> A single champion? The FSF has many patrons, including Google, MySQL, JBoss, OSDN, HP, TiVo, IBM etc.

patrons dont a champion make. the patrons, as you put it, are not vocal 
about FS nor do they evangelize it. they just use FS for their purposes, 
whatever that may be.

> And tell me exactly why a political statement is wrong?
> Then go ahead and write software. But realize that there are others that see the larger value and do not appreciate you working against us when you should be working with us.

if you condone political statements in the form of software, then you also 
condone the mixture of politics and other forms of endeavour. at the same, 
you'd also condone the mixture of politics and business as practiced in 
malaysia and other less-civilly conscious nations. after all, affirmative 
action as practiced in malaysia is a political goal as practiced in 
business and education. if that is the stand you choose to condone, then so 
be it, but do not complain then when political interference causes hits in 
this craft and industry.

the larger value is still open source software and the goal is to adopt 
this software development model more widely. this is the larger picture 
which OSI sees, and not the political evangelisms of one man. it is his 
failure to see the larger pragmatic picture which is dangerous and counter 
productive, by adopting and exclusionary policy instead of an 
all-inclusive, cooperative policy.

Regards,                           /\_/\   "All dogs go to heaven."
dinesh@alphaque.com                (0 0)    http://www.alphaque.com/
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