YAPL is bad (was: Re: Backlog assistance?)

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Mon Sep 24 06:55:53 UTC 2001

I note that Russ invited my comment on the APSL publication clause.
I am trying to ignore the gratuitous personal gibes, and will keep
doing so, but, on the other hand will accept his invitation.

(Russ, despite any resemblance of initials, no, I am _not_ Richard M.
Stallman.  In fact, I happen to be the only person I know who has
tangled with RMS on application of the GPL's source-access provision to
business and won, but the details are none of your business.  Still, I
thank you for your clarification about the APSL 1.0 patent clause, which
I had quite forgotten.)

Here is the clause I was speaking of in APSL v. 1.2

   2.2 You may use, reproduce, display, perform, modify and Deploy
   Covered Code, provided that in each instance:
   (c) You must make Source Code of all Your Deployed Modifications
   publicly available under the terms of this License, including the
   license grants set forth in Section 3 below, for as long as you Deploy
   the Covered Code or twelve (12) months from the date of initial
   Deployment, whichever is longer.

("Deploy" is defined separately as using covered code for any purpose
other than R&D or personal use.  2.2(d) imposes an overlapping
obligation on binary-only "deployments".)

Again, Russ's argument from formalism is correct:  The OSD raises no
bar to such terms.  But I would think the clause violates -- not
greatly, but somewhat -- the intent of what people consider open source
to mean.  Why?  Because it introduces a novel obligation to disclose
one's private affairs.  The only "forcing clauses" previously considered 
compatible with the concept of open source were those triggered by
public distribution of modified source code.  Now, APSL-covered code
will oblige organisations to, in effect, disclose internal projects.

Now, that is certainly not the worst thing in the world.  But I was 
calling it, and would continue to call it, "objectionable".  I'd say
the licence is flawed, OSI-approved or not.  It's lucky that Apple 
contributes back to BSD codebases under the upstream licence.

One possible addition to the OSD, to deal with this matter, might be
as follows:

10. The Licence Must Not Violate Privacy of Individuals or Organisations

The licence must not attach any obligations to usage of the covered code
that is entirely internal to the non-public affairs of the individual or
organisation using it.

I'm sure that can be better stated, but should illustrate the concept.
I'd be glad to try for a better rendition, if the Board has any interest.

Cheers,          "A Discordian is a Taoist with a very strange sense of humour 
Rick Moen         and the inability to sit still."
rick at linuxmafia.com   -- Rabbi Kwan Chi Sun Lieberwitz, _Jews for Buddha Cabal_
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