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

Rob Myers robmyers at mac.com
Mon Sep 24 11:04:07 UTC 2001

on 24/9/01 11:16 am, John Cowan at cowan at mercury.ccil.org wrote:

> the GPL
> imposes no such obligation to the world at large.  If you distribute a
> derivative work, you are obliged to distribute the original *to the recipients
> of the derivative work*; likewise, if you distribute binaries, you are obliged
> to distribute source *to the recipients of the binaries*.

It is called the "Public" license...

This may be a misunderstanding on my part, and if so I apologize in advance.

>From the GPL we have the statement:

"You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's source code as
you receive it,"

I agree that this is an offer rather than a directive. But the effect of
making the source (ultimately) available to anyone is the same as soon as
the license is accepted. The GPL has this effect, the APSL makes this effect
explicit. Any attempt to control this (by requiring that employees or
clients not distribute the source) is in breach of the license.

This distribution will have copyright dates and file dates in it (and it may
be a simple, if annoying, security measure to set the dates to 1970...). It
identifies the originator/modifier of the source. The code may have dates,
names and other information in comments. People can remember when they
received the code. Extra information is given out anyway, but again the APSL
makes this an explicit requirement. Explicit requirements are good.

IANAL, but from my reading the APSL is specifying the minimum display
requirements, not the exact or maximum ones. So if you need to obfuscate the
project dates you can take the sources down five years after the project
fails and start displaying them six months before it goes live. If it's that
important to keep the dates of a project a secret, it probably shouldn't be
used under a license with *any* distribution offer/obligation. This is
therefore a general FUD concern for Open Source, not a specific problem with
the APSL.

- Rob.

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