Rick Moen rick at
Thu Oct 31 23:23:46 UTC 2002

Dear Mr. Brown:

It is evident from checking your e-mail address that you're
the Vice-President Kenneth Brown of the Alexis de Toqueville
Institute who recently dipped that organisation's toes into open
source with an "analysis" paper[1].  Welcome to license-discuss.

I've noticed that all of your posts to this mailing list to date have
been, in essence, unadorned advocacy against use of the GNU General
Public License by, one gathers, software engineers and those who employ
them.  Along the way, you've asserted that use of that licence negates
ownership.  You've vaguely suggested without evidence (or specifics)
that that licence is at risk of being overturned in court, and that for
unstated reasons the developers might not get credit for the work.
You've promoted a legally unsupportable maximalist notion of what it
means to "own" a copyright (while missing the irony that no software has
ever been subject to such a bundle of rights, and probably never will
be).  You've mostly ignored cogent and helpful clarifications such as
Wendy Seltzer's, Jown Cowan's, and Larry Rosen's, and gone straight back
to advocacy.  In short, you've been doing something of a Beltway Bandit
lobbyist dance for us.

What I'm left wondering is... why?  The members of this mailing list 
conduct it not to advocate particular open-source licence over others, 
but rather to analyse proposed licences in light of OSI's Open Source
Definition and surrounding legal issues.  There are real issues we're
discussing, such as mechanisms for registering licence assent, the
adequacy of rights grants as opposed to contracts, and whether the OSD
should address use restrictions (and how) -- not to mention discussion
of several submitted licences, including two of Larry's (OSL and AFL).
Maybe it's just me, but it strikes me that you, Ken Brown, not liking
the GNU GPL really doesn't go especially well with the rest of those

[1] Referring to Mr. Brown's "Opening the Open Source Debate" white
paper.  This would be the same
institute that in June issued a separate white paper suggesting, to
quote Internet News, "that terrorists may find it easier to hack U.S.
networks run on open source infrastructure."

Cheers,            There are only 10 types of people in this world -- 
Rick Moen          those who understand binary arithmetic and those who don't.
rick at
license-discuss archive is at

More information about the License-discuss mailing list