Matthew C. Weigel weigel+ at
Mon Aug 27 20:21:56 UTC 2001

On Mon, 27 Aug 2001 email at wrote:

> > You've got the source, why don't you know how to use it?  ;-)
> a dismissive statement, hiding behind backhanded humor.

That's right.  Dismissive of the attitude that the software itself
should not provide adequate documentation.  You've apparently written a
book on Perl, so why not roll this document of yours into the Perl
distribution?  Improve the man pages.

> I run a perl training, part time, where I work. Everyone in my class
> wants to learn perl. why did they bother coming to me when they could
> just read the source code and figure it out for themselves?

Obviously, because teachers are a helpful learning tool.

> > How would that be open source, if people can't modify it?  More
> > specifically, why would the OSI or the FSF care about it, if it's
> > contrary to their goals?
> I find it interesting, almost like I've stepped into a world of
> group-self-deception, bordering on hypocricy, that GPL <<as a
> document>> is licensed as "copy/distribute/no-modify". But every
> response (so far at least) to a request for a license that codifies
> "copy/distribute/no-modify" has dismissed the request.

Great, someone else who's going to save open source from the people who
understand it.  Why are people so enchanted with the name "open source"
that they want to attach it to whatever they do?

First, I dismissed the relevance of your request - but I still provided
some helpful suggestions.  What you need isn't open source, deal with

> The responses so far regarding a copy/distribute/no-modify
> license have said that such a license would:
> 1) not be open source

Well, I was more interested in pushing the "not be open source
software" angle.  But yeah, it's not open.

> 2) not further OSI's commitment to open-source

That's right.  Most of us also agree that translating all software
documentation into Latin doesn't further the OSI's commitment to open

> 3) have no value to the rest of the world

It might have value.  I still get people who think that the Newbie
Guide is useful (except for this little thing, would you mind changing

> 4) would condemn it's document to instant out-of-dateness.

Not instant.  But it would be condemned.  It is the official stance of
the OSI that restricting yourself to a single vendor for a product
through things such as no-modify clauses leads to undue reliance on the
health and interest of that vendor (in this case, you).

> Yet, the GPL license, as a document itself,
> licensed as "copy/distribute/no-modify", is:
> A) considered the granddaddy of all open-source movements
> B) at teh top of OSI's list of open source licenses
> C) widely by programmers to license their software
> D) up-to-date, and was even released with a new version number
> You're only fooling yourselves if you assert 1-4,
> since I've seen the evidence to the contrary in A-D.

What can I say here but you're being obtuse?  Here's an interesting
point: the GPL ain't software.

Delve into the issue, a little bit, and you'll figure this one out -
hell, you've apparently figured out perl.

> So, I'm calling you on your conjuring trick.
> You wave your hands and say "yeah, but that part's different".

Do some thinking and you'll agree.  Here's a first step: how does one
preserve the right to modify the software in the license, if the
license itself can change?

> A General Public License (GPL) that says
> 	"copy/distribute/modify"
> and a General Document License (GDL) that says
> 	"copy/distribute/no-modify".
> I'm telling you that Open-Source ALREADY embraces both,
> since GPL is licensed under GDL. It's not a big deal.

Get a clue.  The GPL is not documentation, any more than it is

No one ever argued that the GPL is free software.

> It's good enough for GPL to use the GDL, so it's good enough for me.

What a maroon.

What you need is not open source.  What you need is "(C) Greg London.
The right to distribute copies of this work including this copyright
notice, whole and without modification, is granted provided no fee is
charged.  No other rights are granted."

What you want is to be able to attach the OSI service mark to your
document.  People in Hell want icewater.
 Matthew Weigel
 Research Systems Programmer
 mcweigel at ne weigel at

More information about the License-discuss mailing list