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-   -   Yet another licensing argument (was: New presentation on Ruby) (http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/t839520-yet-another-licensing-argument-was-new-presentation-on-ruby.html)

Gregory Brown 03-31-2007 06:47 PM

Yet another licensing argument (was: New presentation on Ruby)
 
On 3/31/07, Chad Perrin <perrin@apotheon.com> wrote:

> > >Good for you.

> >
> > No need to be rude.

>
> Funny -- "Good for you." was my way of saying "No need to be rude."


I apologize if what I said seemed harsh. That was not the intention.

> > >1. I tend to dual-license whenever anyone really wants it.

> >
> > Dual licensing is an acceptable way to provide both your terms and a
> > more standard set of terms, but it's not ideal. It means if I want to
> > contribute back to you, I still need to understand your home grown
> > license, which, at least in my case, means you'd be less likely to see
> > contributions from me.

>
> So sorry. If I don't like the license you'd rather use, it's not the
> license I'm going to use. That's pretty much tautological.


That's not what I mean. I mean that if you dual license something, it
does create a complication.
For example, anyone out there using license of Ruby, if you've broken
GPL compatibility in your distribution by accepting GPL incompatible
patches, well, you can't meaningfully use the same distribution terms
as Ruby 1.8. Ironically, same goes if you've accepted patched under
the GPL itself.

Dual licensing tells the user they have a choice, but the distributor
needs to maintain compliance with *both* of the terms they distribute
under. Someone please correct me on this if I'm wrong, because I've
had this interpretation for a while.

So what I'm saying is, I'd use code you wrote if it were under a
disjunctive license with the MIT license and the License Of The Flying
Oak Tree, because I'd just ignore the latter and treat it as if it
were under MIT.

But for me to patch back, and understand what rights I have to that
work, I'd need to understand License Of The Flying Oak Tree, and
unless I *really* care, I might not be inclined to go read that, so
you might lose my patch. Of course, I could also just offer it back
under MIT or some other compatibility, but then you'd be having to
keep track of all these different patch licenses, which sucks!

So my point is that if you use standard licenses, you avoid this
confusion. That to me is more important than bickering over wording
issues. If you're in the case where you have serious issues with the
existing licenses out there, maybe you're being sensible by rolling
your own, and being kind by dual licensing. But it seems to me these
cases are more rare than others, and when they do happen, someone
should be notified upstream of your concerns.

Have you contacted CC about your issues with their terms?

> > >2. I choose the license I do specifically because I often don't care to
> > >"live with" other extant licenses. It wasn't a capricious decision. It
> > >was a decision born of frustration. In any case, the license I created
> > >was designed with simplicity in mind -- and if you can get along with
> > >Creative Common license term legal text (byzantine and stilted phrasing)
> > >then you'll have no problem with what I use.

> >
> > Except that I don't want yet another license to remember.

>
> What, exactly, is this supposed to mean to my lack of satisfaction with
> certain other licenses?


I don't know. It's certainly a hard problem. I'm not terribly happy
with most licenses, either. If I were working on end-user apps or
fringe stuff, I'd probably be less concerned with the potential
confusion of self-created licenses. However, most of my work tends to
need to play nice in a lot of places, be used by a lot of people with
varying opinions about stuff, and generally be diplomatic about its
licensing.

So I choose LoR for all my Ruby work, similar arrangements in other
languages, and CC by SA for documentation. This seems to work for me.
Of course, like anything else, YMMV


Chad Perrin 04-01-2007 04:42 AM

Re: Yet another licensing argument (was: New presentation on Ruby)
 
On Sun, Apr 01, 2007 at 03:47:16AM +0900, Gregory Brown wrote:
> On 3/31/07, Chad Perrin <perrin@apotheon.com> wrote:
>
> >> >Good for you.
> >>
> >> No need to be rude.

> >
> >Funny -- "Good for you." was my way of saying "No need to be rude."

>
> I apologize if what I said seemed harsh. That was not the intention.


Fair enough. I'll consider the subject closed if you will.


>
> >> >1. I tend to dual-license whenever anyone really wants it.
> >>
> >> Dual licensing is an acceptable way to provide both your terms and a
> >> more standard set of terms, but it's not ideal. It means if I want to
> >> contribute back to you, I still need to understand your home grown
> >> license, which, at least in my case, means you'd be less likely to see
> >> contributions from me.

> >
> >So sorry. If I don't like the license you'd rather use, it's not the
> >license I'm going to use. That's pretty much tautological.

>
> That's not what I mean. I mean that if you dual license something, it
> does create a complication.
> For example, anyone out there using license of Ruby, if you've broken
> GPL compatibility in your distribution by accepting GPL incompatible
> patches, well, you can't meaningfully use the same distribution terms
> as Ruby 1.8. Ironically, same goes if you've accepted patched under
> the GPL itself.
>
> Dual licensing tells the user they have a choice, but the distributor
> needs to maintain compliance with *both* of the terms they distribute
> under. Someone please correct me on this if I'm wrong, because I've
> had this interpretation for a while.


That's pretty much the case, as far as I'm aware. It's not a
comprehensive description of the situation, but that'd probably take a
lawyer to get it right.


>
> So what I'm saying is, I'd use code you wrote if it were under a
> disjunctive license with the MIT license and the License Of The Flying
> Oak Tree, because I'd just ignore the latter and treat it as if it
> were under MIT.
>
> But for me to patch back, and understand what rights I have to that
> work, I'd need to understand License Of The Flying Oak Tree, and
> unless I *really* care, I might not be inclined to go read that, so
> you might lose my patch. Of course, I could also just offer it back
> under MIT or some other compatibility, but then you'd be having to
> keep track of all these different patch licenses, which sucks!


Look at it this way:

You have to understand the license I prefer either way. If, for some
reason, you're of the GNU faithful however, and refuse to use something
that hasn't been blessed by Saint Stallman, you'll at least have the
option of using the software under the terms of the LGPL (for instance).

Your options when I create something from scratch and have complete
control over how it will be licensed are not dependent on whether you
can convince me to license only LGPL or simply accept LGPL + something
else, but whether you can convince me to license it LGPL + something
else or simply accept something else *only*. This is because my
preferences and beliefs prompt me to use the "something else", and I
may choose to dual-license out of deference to your determination that
something not already huge and mainstream is all you'll use -- if I
happen to care whether you use it at all.


>
> So my point is that if you use standard licenses, you avoid this
> confusion. That to me is more important than bickering over wording
> issues. If you're in the case where you have serious issues with the
> existing licenses out there, maybe you're being sensible by rolling
> your own, and being kind by dual licensing. But it seems to me these
> cases are more rare than others, and when they do happen, someone
> should be notified upstream of your concerns.


My point is that if there was a standard license that didn't tweak my
nose, I'd use it. Since there isn't, I don't.


>
> Have you contacted CC about your issues with their terms?


I have, and they basically don't feel there's enough of a difference
between what I'd desire and what they provide to create an entire branch
of the by-sa license just to suit my preferences. Their answer is
basically that if by-sa is almost right, I should modify it so it's
right and use that modified license. Assuming that they don't want to
actually alter the by-sa license itself to suit my needs (which they
apparently do not), I entirely understand their position on that matter.


>
> >> >2. I choose the license I do specifically because I often don't care to
> >> >"live with" other extant licenses. It wasn't a capricious decision. It
> >> >was a decision born of frustration. In any case, the license I created
> >> >was designed with simplicity in mind -- and if you can get along with
> >> >Creative Common license term legal text (byzantine and stilted phrasing)
> >> >then you'll have no problem with what I use.
> >>
> >> Except that I don't want yet another license to remember.

> >
> >What, exactly, is this supposed to mean to my lack of satisfaction with
> >certain other licenses?

>
> I don't know. It's certainly a hard problem. I'm not terribly happy
> with most licenses, either. If I were working on end-user apps or
> fringe stuff, I'd probably be less concerned with the potential
> confusion of self-created licenses. However, most of my work tends to
> need to play nice in a lot of places, be used by a lot of people with
> varying opinions about stuff, and generally be diplomatic about its
> licensing.


At this point, most of what I do doesn't see much wide distribution, so
it hasn't been much of an issue. Well, not in most languages I use,
anyway. The stuff I write in English tends to be *very* widely
distributed, but people tend to be less touchy about text licensing
than source code licensing, so nobody complains.

--
CCD CopyWrite Chad Perrin [ http://ccd.apotheon.org ]
Amazon.com interview candidate: "When C++ is your
hammer, everything starts to look like your thumb."



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