The Invisible Hand

Rick Moen rick at
Mon Oct 1 21:07:51 UTC 2001

begin Russell Nelson quotation:
> RMS is up-front about his objection to the APSL.  It is not for any
> restrictions on the distribution of the software, but instead for the
> requirement to publish the source code to deployed modifications.  

I hadn't previously looked up Stallman's views on APSL v. 1.2.  
(I just did so.)

> Note that the APSL is not talking about private modifications, but
> instead modifications which have been distributed within an
> enterprise.

Honestly, I would have thought that those _would_ be a canonical example
of private modifications, since that enterprise would (ordinarily) be a
legal person:  E.g., the "forcing provisions" of such OSD-approved
licences as the MPL and GPL, relying on that division, don't trigger on
"distributions" that are entirely internal to a company.

> This is not a free software issue.  It is a privacy issue.  It's even
> easily worked around.  If you want to keep secret the fact that you
> are using a modified version of a piece of APSL software, you pay
> somebody else to modify it, publish their use of it, and publish the
> code itself.  The secret-keeper can then use the published modified
> code with no requirement to publish their use of it, because *they*
> have not modified it.

That's indeed a clever, and probably effective, fix.

"Is it not the beauty of an asynchronous form of discussion that one can go and 
make cups of tea, floss the cat, fluff the geraniums, open the kitchen window 
and scream out it with operatic force, volume, and decorum, and then return to 
the vexed glowing letters calmer of mind and soul?" -- The Cube,
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