[License-discuss] proposal to revise and slightly reorganize the OSI licensing pages

Ben Tilly btilly at gmail.com
Mon Jun 11 23:21:35 UTC 2012

On Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 3:20 PM, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:
> Quoting Tzeng, Nigel H. (Nigel.Tzeng at jhuapl.edu):
>> Again, whatever your self identification is, your comment and statement
>> are those espoused by one of those camps over the years.
> No, they most certainly are not.  Kindly do not confuse me with some
> bunch of ideologue wankers.
>> What was the value of this observation?
> That differently licenced derivatives in compliance with your
> requirements are seen as OK if proprietary and hence shut off from
> sharing under the same terms, but not OK if copyleft and hence shut off
> from sharing under the same terms -- which seems to me a prime example of
> failing to grasp _either_ of the two basic facts about copyright law and
> software I mentioned to Ben Tilly:  (1) People can and do perform pretty
> much whatever screwball actions they wish to perform with their own
> property.  (2) You should take care to understand all of the
> implications of any licence you use, because somebody else definitely
> may, and you'll look really silly acting surprised.

Seeing these repeated references to my name is getting annoying.  You
made a comment about some BSD people.  I offered an explanation of one
mindset that leads to that situation.  You came back with an argument
that the mindset is wrong.  Since I don't possess that mindset, and I
have no interest in an argument, I didn't bother to respond.

You like to take people to task who have assumed that you take one
position or another which you don't.  Please stop assuming that you
enlightened me when you did not, and stop associating me with a
position that I do not hold.

> Permitting any derivatives satisfying 2-clause, 3-clause, or 4-clause
> obligations means permitting _any_ derivatives satisfying 2-clause,
> 3-clause, or 4-clause obligations.  If licensor didn't intend that,
> then licensor shouldn't have chosen the licence.

People decide that particular licenses are right for themselves for
all sorts of reasons.  Often those reasons turn out to be mistaken,
and then people tend to get upset.

Many people who choose permissive licenses have a view that says that
when you don't try to order people around with contracts, goodwill
tends to get repaid down the road.  That is, in addition to the
explicit legal contract, they act as if there was an implicit social
contract between them in the world; if they are generous then enough
people will be generous back that things tend to work out.  Most of
the time this belief works.  (That is why people continue to have
beliefs like this.)  Occasionally they are spectacularly wrong.

That is, rather than trying to minimize harm when things go wrong,
they try to maximize the benefit of things going right.  If this is
your goal, complicated legalese is unlikely to be appealing.

Unhappiness can then arise when people who have released under a
permissive license hoping to see reciprocal generosity down the road
see their work improved and the improvements offered under a copyleft
license.  Legally nothing wrong has happened.  Socially nothing wrong
has been done in the world view of the person who made the
improvements.  But in the eyes of the person who originally released
the software, you have failed to be generous back to them, and you
have created a barrier to future generosity from people down the road
who use the improved version.  (Proprietary software creates less of a
barrier because there is a single entity that may come to see
generosity as being in their enlightened self-interest.)

Again I am not describing this to say that I hold this view, or that
you should agree with it.  Quite the contrary.  I am merely offering
it for anyone who wants to understand what may be going through the
head of a person who gets upset about something like this.

> _Unlike_ ideologue wankers, I have no wish to urge any particular
> licensing on anyone, and regard with particular distaste those who do.
> (In the general case, it involves someone else's property and is not
> really my concern at all.)  As I very clearly stated upthread, I regard
> licences as legal instruments to implement the licensor's intentions.
> The intentions should logically dictate owner's licensing strategy: the
> only real tragedy is when people fail to understand their chosen
> licensing's natural and obvious consequences.

If a license does what I want 90% of the time quite well, and fails
10% of the time, is it better or worse than a license that does
something you find merely OK 100% of the time?  You'll have no end of
examples in that failing 10%, but on the whole there are some people
who will still prefer that license, even though it can and does go
wrong quite frequently.

Again, not my point of view.  But if someone has that point of view,
it may make sense for them to select a license that does not protect
them from situations that they would prefer not to see happen.  Even
though you may think it a tragedy that things keep on happening that
they didn't like and could have tried to protect themselves against.

> I do feel no obligation to prove to you the 'value of this observation'.
> It suffices to me that it is correct to the best of my ability to
> determine, and relevant to the subject.
> Sorry you didn't like it.  Have a nice day.
>> Yes, disingenuous.
> I have no time for someone who gratuitously accuses me of bad faith --
> and also no interest in arguing with you in the first place.  Kindly
> go bother somebody else.  Thanks.
> _______________________________________________
> License-discuss mailing list
> License-discuss at opensource.org
> http://projects.opensource.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/license-discuss

More information about the License-discuss mailing list