Legal soundness comes to open source distribution

David Johnson david at
Sat Aug 3 18:48:29 UTC 2002

On Saturday 03 August 2002 06:02 am, Russell Nelson wrote:

> Maybe click-wrap creates more problems than it solves?  We need to ask
> the question rather than assuming the answer, as some would have us do.

If it will result in a divided rancorous community, dozens of new licenses 
that no one uses, and the perception in the general public that Open Source 
is not that different from closed source, then of course it will cause more 
problems that it will solve.

One of the most basic tenets of Free and Open Software is that the right of 
the user to use, copy, distribute and modify the software is paramount. We 
assert the property rights of the user to his *copy* of the software. We do 
not tell the user what he can or cannot do with his copy. Once the software 
"leaves our hands" it is out of our control. Even the most restrictive 
clauses in OSS licenses are limited to ensuring that one user does not lay 
any property claim to the copy of another.

Click-thru threatens to overturn this fundamental tenet. Regardless of what 
other effects it may have, it will severly damage the philosophical core of 
Open Source.

David Johnson
pgp public key on website
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