The Invisible Hand

John Cowan jcowan at
Mon Oct 1 21:11:21 UTC 2001

Russell Nelson wrote:

> RMS is up-front about his objection to the APSL

> [...] for the requirement to publish the source code to deployed
> modifications.  Note that the APSL is not talking about private
> modifications, but instead modifications which have been distributed
> within an enterprise.

One must be careful about the meaning of "distributed".  AFAICT, if I
(a Reuters employee) download APSLed code and make a Modification to it
solely for my own use qua employee, not distributing it within Reuters
at all, that is not Personal Use, it is still Deployed code -- and APSL
clause 2.2.c insists that I publish my Modification to the whole world.

Whether I am sufficiently unconstrained by this for the APSLed software
to count as free is a question I leave to others.  At any rate, the GNU
GPL under the same set of facts does not compel publication of the

> If you want to keep secret the fact that you
> are using a modified version of a piece of APSL software,

I think the more serious issue is not that an employee desires to
keep secret his modifications, but rather that his employer does
not permit him to publish anything.

Not to perambulate             || John Cowan <jcowan at>
    the corridors               ||
during the hours of repose     ||
    in the boots of ascension.  \\ Sign in Austrian ski-resort hotel

license-discuss archive is at

More information about the License-discuss mailing list