[License-discuss] For Public Comment: The Libre Source License

Russell McOrmond russellmcormond at gmail.com
Wed Aug 14 02:33:25 UTC 2019

On Fri, Aug 9, 2019 at 8:45 AM Moritz Maxeiner <mm at ucw.sh> wrote:

> On Friday, 9 August 2019 05:36:26 CEST Russell McOrmond wrote:
> > Curious: Since I have the capability to write software, but I decide not
> to
> > write some specific software, does that constitute a restriction on the
> > source code of this hypothetical software?
> >
> > There are no new restriction on source code that hadn't previously been
> > restrictricted.
> Considering, if I understand you correctly, that no actual source code for
> that software would exist in that scenario, we can't argue in a sensible
> manner about it (including restrictions on it), as you can infer anything
> from
> nothing (assuming you accept nothing as false, which I do).

Is it the act of me typing the software into my computer that offends you?
Before I type the software it is OK, but after it is not?

Until the code is released/distributed/etc beyond computers I own/control,
what you are talking about are only violations of privacy and secrecy
against the interests of a software user.  There is no "actual source code"
for software that anyone other than me (the author on their private
computers) has any legitimate business believing exists.  Only once it is
lawfully distributed to someone else are there actual software users whose
software freedom interests we need to be concerned with.

I agree this is not a sensible discussion, as it doesn't seem sensible to
me that in a FLOSS forum we are discussing the concept of the author of
previously distributed software having the level of control over software
users to demand the violation of their privacy.

 > > What we are discussing is a new restriction (disallowing privacy) in

> > relation to source code that didn't previously exist.
> Only in the specific instance of such source code being a derivative work
> of
> other source code the privacy of which was intentionally rejected by the
> author.

Rejecting control by software authors over software users, the essential
tool for the protection of sofware freedom, was until recently widely
understood to be the purpose of FLOSS licenses.   Of course this rejects
the private interests of the software author, as does every other FLOSS
software license in existence.

The term "proprietary" is used in situations where obeying the private
interests of a software author is of paramount concern, which seems to be
your goal in this instance.  It is unfortunate that some people migh
believe this proprietary software should legitimately be called "open
source" simply because the agressive proprietor wishes private source code
to be disclosed, but that doesn't make them correct.

I disagree completely with equating source code derived from open source
> code
> and personal information. If I accepted that, I personally could not
> advocate
> using Kerckhoffs's principle (under which everything in a cryptographic
> system
> that's not public is in fact part of the secret key) as a measure to
> reason
> about the soundness of a crypto system and dropping the core principle of
> modern cryptography is not something I'm prepared to do (maybe there's a
> way
> around it, but I don't see it).

Kerckhoffs's principle discusses why people shouldn't trust security by
obscurity, and does not at all discuss invasions of privacy in order to
ensure that peole can't use software without obeying the private interests
of a software author.

Regardless, whether or not software is or isn't going to be written isn't
> my
> primary concern here, whether source code that does get written as a
> derivative of open source code (where the original author wishes this)
> gets
> open sourced (published/released), however, is.

Why does this bother you so much?  Software magically "exists" in your mind
as soon as some software developer privately types it in (moves it from
their mind which you aren't concerned with to their private HDD which for
some odd reason you are concerned with), and then you wish to abuse
proprietary-softestr focused interpretations of the law to force this
private text into the public because of your fear of someone getting
something from you without compensation?

Why so much interest in what the original author wishes?  Every FLOSS
license seeks to reduce the control that original authors have, which is
the mechanism by which you protect software freedom.   It is proprietary
software advocates that are concerned with "where the original author
wishes this".

> I believe you. But while increasing the overall amount of publicly
> distributed
> source code is a worthy goal in general, there are instances where that's
> -
> for me - a secondary concern to ensuring that source code that does get
> written must be publicly distributed.

Why is this primary concern of yours a legitimate concern at all?  What is
the value of this hypothetical software you believe you have a right to
know exists as soon as someone types it into their private computer?

> BTW: The "libre" comes from the more clear french "Logiciel libre", which
> > doesn't have the confusion about the meaning of the english word "free".
> Sure, and at least in this instance I believe to be using it correctly
> (Libre
> Source == the source (code) itself is and must - even in derivatives -
> remain
> free of restriction, not the user of the software).

This sounds like some of the mental gymnastics that Microsoft went through
in past decades to convince people that their Shared Source program was
superior to Open Source software.

They now continue with their Shared Source of proprietary software, but a
growing amount of what they do is actually Open Source.

Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/>

Please help us tell the Canadian Parliament to protect our property rights
as owners of Information Technology. Sign the petition! http://l.c11.ca/ict/

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manufacturers, can pry my camcorder, computer, home theatre, or portable
media player from my cold dead hands!" http://c11.ca/own
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