[Fwd: FW: For Approval: Generic Attribution Provision]

Matthew Garrett mjg59 at srcf.ucam.org
Fri Dec 15 16:20:43 UTC 2006

On Fri, Dec 15, 2006 at 10:57:45AM -0500, Craig Muth wrote:

> What I proposed was bad for open source was specifically when
> companies rebrand and charge money without contributing back.

Given that the BSD license (one of the original open source licenses) 
explicitly allows this, and given the continued popularity of such 
licenses, I think it's unlikely that this belief is especially common.

> I'm not sure the Shakespeare analogy is easily applicable to software.
> To offer another analogy, I would suggest Redhat wouldn't have
> begrudged Torvalds requesting a modest link to his home page show up
> in the UI's of Linux forks, even though he of course did not request
> this.  

Given that (as far as I know) Linus has made no significant contribution 
to any Linux UI, that would be a pretty clear contravention of OSD 9.

> I would also suggest that after Linux became an entity unto itself, 
> with thousands of contributors, he likely would have have relinquished 
> any attribution demand, had he made any.  The obvious retort is "what 
> about a giant 'powered by Linus' logo on the X desktop?"  To this I 
> would reply that I agree that a compromise should be found.

The attribution clause in the original 4-clause BSD license is often 
held to be inconvenient, but just about at the limits of acceptability. 
It has several major usability advantages over the sort of license 
you're suggesting - it doesn't restrict the form of the derived work in 
any way, and it doesn't introduce any difficulties in combining multiple 
works under the same license.

Matthew Garrett | mjg59 at srcf.ucam.org

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