restricting the use of open source software

David Webber (XML) david at
Mon Mar 28 16:20:53 UTC 2005

Reality check.

People with serious spook applications do not use OSI for it - since
they are so paranoid they have to write it themselves.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Nick Moffitt" <nick at>
To: <license-discuss at>
Sent: Monday, March 28, 2005 10:56 AM
Subject: Re: restricting the use of open source software

> Put more simply, you could imagine that a program written in an
> Orthodox Jewish community could have the clause "This program may not
> be used between local sunset on Friday and local sunset on Saturday."
> If you asked the author why he did this, he might say "But surely I'm
> just asking you to follow traditional Jewish religious law against
> working on the Sabbath.  You're not saying that people should ignoe
> the LAW, are you?"
> Second, all that you gain by putting this sort of clause in a license
> text is the right to open anotehr in a series of legal cases for
> whatever lawbreaker you're worried about.  If you have a "must not use
> to rob banks" clause, and it comes up in a trial that Machine-Gun
> Kelly ran your code as part of a heist, all you get is the right to
> try and open a civil suit against him for license violation.  You'd
> either be stuck on a long waiting list of petty-crime "me toos", or
> you'd actually delay the serving of Kelly's criminal sentence with
> your goofy copyright claims.
> So in closing:
> 1) Not everyone needs to be bound by your particular laws.
> 2) You don't even gain anything worthwhile by re-enforcing
>     these laws in your software license.
> -- 
> You are in an open field west of a big white house            Nick Moffitt
> with a boarded front door.                              nick at
> There is a small mailbox here.
> > _

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