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

Russell McOrmond russellmcormond at gmail.com
Wed Aug 21 22:40:22 UTC 2019

On Wed, Aug 21, 2019 at 2:16 PM Howard Chu <hyc at openldap.org> wrote:

> Fwiw, most of the free software I released in the 1980s, before GPL
> existed, had the clause
> "You are free to use this software but any modifications/corrections/bug
> fixes you make must
> be sent back to me so they may be included in future updates."

In Canada it was still being debated in the early 1980's whether software
was covered by copyright law at all.  Printed source code in a book was
covered by copyright like any other book, but binaries weren't
automatically considered covered.

Until I discovered gnu.misc.discuss back in 1992 I either didn't put any
license on what I released, or attempted to dedicate to the public domain
(once I had read about copyright law).

I am offended by the notion that someone may benefit from code that I
> released for free, but
> would deny anyone else the benefit of improvements they make (privately or
> not) to my code.

You would not be alone feeling this way, but until very recently it was
understood that such proprietary interests were contrary to Free Software
(later Open Source) which was focused on the wider public interests of
software users rather than narrowly on the interests of software

What the FSF calls "freedom 0" was very specifically intended to not put
obligations on pure software use.  There is no obligation to contribute,
only a freedom to contribute (freedoms 2 and 3).

There has been an obligation in some licenses for quite some time to make
contibutions (public distribution of code) be accompanied by corresponding
source code and be licensed under a compatable license, but the idea that
private modifications should be forced to become contributions is very new
and quite controvercial.  I strongly believe that these forced
contributions are contrary to the FSF's 4 freedoms and the OSI's OSD, but
it is obvious that this is not yet a decided discussion.

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/

"The government, lobbied by legacy copyright holders and hardware
manufacturers, can pry my camcorder, computer, home theatre, or portable
media player from my cold dead hands!" http://c11.ca/own
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-discuss_lists.opensource.org/attachments/20190821/2dbbbb80/attachment.html>

More information about the License-discuss mailing list