nick at zork.net
Fri Apr 6 21:06:39 UTC 2001
begin Russell Nelson quotation:
> My own personal interpretation, <disclaimer>not to be confused with
> the entire board's interpretation</disclaimer>, is that not
> unrelated restrictions should be allowed.
> It's okay for an open source license to not license a company's
> It's okay for an open source license to require addition of your own
> It's okay for an open source license to require attribution. And
> it's okay for an open source license to require notification.
There are two classes of requirements here, as I see it. The
first three are things that one can easily do in-band as part of the
process of distributing software. Trademarks, copyright, and
attribution all end up on the code itself, or in the LICENSE or
But notifying someone of a change is a burden to the
distributor or programmer.
Consider this degenerate case:
Imagine that I spend a year in the African Savanna with a
laptop gathering statistical information about the lion population.
Communication with the outside world is difficult, and my lifeline is
a two-way radio that allows me to contact my fellow researchers. The
nearest town is a three-day drive.
I've got this cool FooStats program from CrunchlyCorp.
They've released it under a license that requires that I let them know
when I distribute a modified version. We're all using it on the
survey team, as it does a good job of compiling the data.
But let's say I add a feature that removes the data entry
step, letting it gather data directly from the radio tags we've
clipped to the lions in the area. It's a great boon, and my team uses
it internally with great success.
Being the generous Open Source lion tracker that I am, I give
a copy to another team of surveyors that are passing through. Now I'm
suddenly obliged to send word to CrunchlyCorp about this.
Communication is difficult enough just within Africa, but Crunchly is
based out of Canada.
I realize that in situations such as these, making a good
effort counts in the eyes of the law, but making such an effort could
be costly in an environment such as this one (I had a classmate in
high school who spent a year among the lions doing this very thing).
You are not entitled to your opinions.
01234567 <- The amazing indent-o-meter!
^ Matt McIrvin: the Nikola Tesla of tab damage.
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