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

Moritz Maxeiner mm at ucw.sh
Wed Aug 21 15:50:43 UTC 2019

On Wednesday, 14 August 2019 04:33:25 CEST Russell McOrmond wrote:
> 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?

As "offend" is a strong word I'm going to put it like this: There may exist 
software I've written or that I'm going to write that, if released to the 
public at some future date, I do not want derivative work to be kept from the 
public. So, no, it's not the act of typing, but - as Bruce stated better than 
I could - it's the creation of secret derivative work of such software that I 
object to.

> 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.

I don't share your viewpoint and I think we've established that we're not 
going to agree on the ethics of the issue.
Regarding the FLOSS argument: To the best of my knowledge and interpretation 
OSI/OSD and FLOSS are not the same thing and this is a forum for discussing 
licenses as they relate to the OSD. I see nothing in the OSD that conflicts
with requiring distribution of source code on creation of derivative work.

> 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.

That's a (sound) policy one can derive from application of the principle.
Regardless, imho equating source code derived from open source code with 
private (personal) information would mean that people (and companies) could 
claim "it's private/personal information" as an *ethical* defense against 
inquiries as to their private modifications (with potentially reduced 
security), hence significantly diminishing the viability of arguing with 
Kerkhoff's principle against keeping such modifications private (which I 
shortened to "I could not advocate...").

> 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 does my wish for derivative works of certain software to be available to 
the public (and legitimate use of the law to achieve that) bother you so much? 
Why your fixation on "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".

See above regarding OSD vs FLOSS. A license that achieves what I want would 
likely not be accepted as a FLOSS license. In this instance I'm not concerned 
about FLOSS compliance (so it would be a nice plus), but OSD compliance.

> > 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?

Am I understanding you correctly that you reject the entire concept of 
copyright, then? Because otherwise the fact that I hold copyright makes it a 
legitimate concern.

> 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?

You confound me and the public. I don't recall stating that I wanted to be 
informed. I want the public to be informed. I may currently be part of the 
public, but that's not always going to be the case.
The right of the public to be informed of derivative works comes from the 
license the original work would be under in such a case.

> > 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.

I don't agree that using words the way they're commonly used is "mental 
gymnastics". I find your switching between Open Source and FLOSS (Free and 
Libre Open Source Software) as if there were no difference disturbing.

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