Convert GPL to MPL

Alexander Terekhov alexander.terekhov at
Fri Jan 18 21:46:19 UTC 2008

On Jan 18, 2008 10:22 PM, John Cowan <cowan at> wrote:
> Alexander Terekhov scripsit:
> > The context here is the scheme under which GPL redistributor (a party
> > to the GPL) insists that distributee contracts away his "freedom 0."
> Just so.  (Those who speak reasonably will be treated as reasonable, for
> now anyway.)  It's fine under the GPL to say "Sign this or I won't give
> you the bits."  After all, you can get the bits from someone else, and
> there is no right under the GPL to obtain bits from a specific licensor,
> unless they are source bits and he has already provided you with the
> corresponding binary bits.
> > If that is OK then what is the point of the GPL? Just curious.
> Copyright law prevents everyone from doing certain actions whether they
> have agreed to refrain from them or not.  Contracts constrain only those
> who sign them.

Well, according to RMS and Eben Moglen:

"The basic idea of the GNU General Public License is to assure that
all users of the code have the four freedoms. It does this through the
legal technique of copyleft, which forbids middlemen from taking those
freedoms away from you. ...

In 1989, when I wrote GPL version 1, we knew of two ways middlemen
could try to do that: by adding restrictive license terms, or by
concealing the source code."

"The middleman is not allowed to strip off a freedom and pass along
the code without it," he said.

"Freedom zero, the freedom to use software, is infringed if you are
required to pay fees or make promises in order to use software,
anywhere, anytime. "

Go figure...


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