compatibility and the OSD

Russell Nelson nelson at
Thu Sep 23 03:16:22 UTC 2004

John Cowan writes:
 > Russell Nelson scripsit:
 > > OSD#3 says "The license must allow modifications and derived works."
 > > It doesn't say "The license must allow some modifications and derived
 > > works."  Neither does it say "The license must allow all modifications
 > > and derived works."  We, however, behave as if it says the latter, not
 > > the former.  Any reason why we shouldn't?
 > We don't behave that way.  We call the GPL an open-source license,
 > though it does not permit *every* sort of derivative work to be made.
 > (In particular, you cannot modify a GPLed work such that it makes use of
 > patented technology for which no RF license is available.)

Indeed, yes.  It also prohibits you from removing the copyright
announcement in interactive use.  Were it a new license to be
approved, I would have words with them about it.

 > More generally, when we see a general term in a permissive statement
 > without a quantifier, we infer "some" rather than "all".  For example,
 > when we see a sign "GOOBERS FOR SALE" we read this as "SOME GOOBERS

All their goobers are for sale, you goober!

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