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Re: Picking a license

 
 
Ed Keith
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Posts: n/a
 
      05-11-2010
--- On Mon, 5/10/10, Ben Finney <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> So I object to muddying the issue by misrepresenting the
> source of that
> force. Whatever force there is in copyright comes from law,
> not any free
> software license.



You are the one muddying the waters. It does not mater whether you break my kneecaps, or hire someone else to break my kneecaps, either way my kneecaps are broken.

You can use any license you want, but the simple fact is that if there are fewer restrictions in the license then the user has more freedom in how he uses the licensed code. If there are more restrictions he/she has less freedom in how he/she uses the licensed code. We can debate which is better (whether a man should be free to sell himself into slavery) but to claim that putting more restrictions on someone give them more freedom is pure Orwellian double speak.

Sophistry is the last resort of those who have run out of good arguments. The more you engage in it the weaker you make your position.

This thread is generating more heat than light, and probably should be dropped.

-EdK

Ed Keith
http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed)

Blog: edkeith.blogspot.com






 
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Paul Boddie
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Posts: n/a
 
      05-12-2010
On 11 Mai, 14:12, Ed Keith <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> --- On Mon, 5/10/10, Ben Finney <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
> > So I object to muddying the issue by misrepresenting the source of that
> > force. Whatever force there is in copyright comes from law, not any free
> > software license.

>
> You are the one muddying the waters. It does not mater whether you break my
> kneecaps, or hire someone else to break my kneecaps, either way my kneecaps
> are broken.


Nice analogy. In fact, the "force" mentioned above is nothing more
than the thing which makes these licensing agreements binding. All the
talk about the GPL "forcing" people to do stuff, when the stuff is
actually one side of a bargain or the obligations of a party in an
agreement, is great theatre but nothing more.

> You can use any license you want, but the simple fact is that if there are
> fewer restrictions in the license then the user has more freedom in how he
> uses the licensed code.


Yes, the recipient of that code as issued by you has fewer
restrictions on their actions and thus more privileges. However,
recipients of the extended work may be denied any or nearly all of
these privileges.

> If there are more restrictions he/she has less freedom in how he/she uses
> the licensed code.


Yes, that recipient does not get to exercise certain privileges.
However, recipients of the extended work retain the same set of
privileges. As do recipients of the work upon subsequent
redistribution.

> We can debate which is better (whether a man should be free to sell
> himself into slavery) but to claim that putting more restrictions on
> someone give them more freedom is pure Orwellian double speak.


It may provide fewer privileges for initial recipients but may grant
those privileges more widely.

> Sophistry is the last resort of those who have run out of good
> arguments. The more you engage in it the weaker you make your position.


Then I challenge you to dispute the statements of my last three
paragraphs without introducing a specific notion of "freedom" in order
to make your case.

> This thread is generating more heat than light, and probably should be dropped.


On this I don't necessarily disagree.

Paul
 
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Lawrence D'Oliveiro
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Posts: n/a
 
      05-13-2010
In message <(E-Mail Removed)>, Ed Keith
wrote:

> ... but to claim that putting more restrictions on someone give them more
> freedom is pure Orwellian double speak.


What about the freedom to take away other people’s freedom? What tuple of
speak would that be?
 
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Patrick Maupin
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Posts: n/a
 
      05-13-2010
On May 12, 10:48*pm, Lawrence D'Oliveiro <l...@geek-
central.gen.new_zealand> wrote:
> In message <(E-Mail Removed)>, Ed Keith
> wrote:
>
> > ... but to claim that putting more restrictions on someone give them more
> > freedom is pure Orwellian double speak.

>
> What about the freedom to take away other peopleís freedom?


The freedom to take away other people's freedom is a very serious
power that should only be used sparingly.

> What tuple of speak would that be?


Well, if my friend has a slow internet connection, so I give him a
Linux CD which lets him get out of Windows hell (me taking advantage
of RMS's "freedom 2", and my friend taking advantage of RMS's "freedom
0"), and I don't give my friend all the source code (or a written
offer) because, frankly, he wouldn't know what to do with the source
anyway, and it doesn't fit on the CD, and I didn't even bother
downloading the source, at that point I would apparently be in
violation of the GPL license on hundreds of programs, because I would
be violating what the FSF calls "freedom 1". Or more pedantically, I
would be in violation of section 6 of the GPL v3 license for those
programs on the CD licensed under v3, and in violation of section 3 of
the GPL v2 for those programs on the CD licensed under v2. In the
case of GPL v3, for example, Ubuntu lets me download code under 6d, so
if I download it and burn it, I would have to use 6a or 6b; if I had
actually received a CD from Ubuntu, I might be able to use 6c, but not
if I downloaded it.

Now I know none of us would ever violate the license like this, but
if, hypothetically speaking, I had made such a CD for my friend, and
then someone came along and explained to me that, by helping wean my
friend from MS Windows in this fashion, I had taken away his freedom
(specifically RMS's "freedom 1"), I would probably conclude that the
person making this accusation was a moron, and that his words were so
meaningless that the only tuple that could possibly represent them was
the empty tuple.

Regards,
Pat
 
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Steven D'Aprano
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Posts: n/a
 
      05-13-2010
On Wed, 12 May 2010 22:16:29 -0700, Patrick Maupin wrote:

> On May 12, 10:48¬*pm, Lawrence D'Oliveiro <l...@geek-
> central.gen.new_zealand> wrote:
>> In message <(E-Mail Removed)>, Ed
>> Keith wrote:
>>
>> > ... but to claim that putting more restrictions on someone give them
>> > more freedom is pure Orwellian double speak.

>>
>> What about the freedom to take away other people’s freedom?

>
> The freedom to take away other people's freedom is a very serious power
> that should only be used sparingly.
>
>> What tuple of speak would that be?

>
> Well, if my friend has a slow internet connection, so I give him a Linux
> CD which lets him get out of Windows hell (me taking advantage of RMS's
> "freedom 2", and my friend taking advantage of RMS's "freedom 0"), and I
> don't give my friend all the source code (or a written offer) because,
> frankly, he wouldn't know what to do with the source anyway, and it
> doesn't fit on the CD, and I didn't even bother downloading the source,
> at that point I would apparently be in violation of the GPL license on
> hundreds of programs, because I would be violating what the FSF calls
> "freedom 1".


If you used an existing Linux distribution, then the offer to provide
source code will already be there.

If you compiled the CD yourself, and failed to provide a written offer on
the CD, then yes absolutely you would be in violation of the licence
terms, and shame on you.

The GPL doesn't require you to force source code on those who don't want
it, but it does require you to make it available if they ask, and for you
to notify them appropriately of this fact. You don't even have to
explicitly tell your friend he can have the source code. You just have to
make sure that the written offer is available on the disk you give him.


> Now I know none of us would ever violate the license like this, but if,
> hypothetically speaking, I had made such a CD for my friend, and then
> someone came along and explained to me that, by helping wean my friend
> from MS Windows in this fashion, I had taken away his freedom
> (specifically RMS's "freedom 1"), I would probably conclude that the
> person making this accusation was a moron



Well, yes, you probably would draw that conclusion. Doesn't mean that you
are right to do so, because quite frankly you would have taken away your
friend's freedom (albeit in a very small fashion). Access to the source
code is a freedom that the GPLed software on the disk *explicitly* grants
to your friend, and by failing to pass the offer on, you have taken away
that freedom in a very real sense.

We are talking about a small technical violation of the licence terms
here, but imagine if everyone did it, if Red Hat and Debian and Ubuntu
etc didn't bother passing on the source code (or a written offer). Only a
tiny proportion of people would discover by their own efforts that the
source code was available, and only a proportion of them would learn
where it was available from. The result in practical terms would be a
major decrease in the number of people granted the freedom to modify the
source code, and a correspondingly larger decrease in the number of
people both free and able to modify the source code.

It's not enough to be granted freedom to modify source code in theory, if
you know about it, if you can find some hard-to-locate website which may
or may not be running. The practicalities are equally important. In
theoretical terms, everyone has the freedom to legally modify and
distribute the source code to Microsoft Windows. All you have to do is
buy 51% of the stock so as to become majority shareholder, then make
sufficient changes to the board of directors so that the new board grants
you a licence to do so, then fight off the lawsuits from the rest of the
shareholders. Anyone could do it! Not.

Another, more practical example: here in Australia our government is hell-
bent on introducing an ineffective and expensive Internet censorship
scheme. It seems that under Australian law, it will be completely legal
to circumvent the filter, but our government is investigating ways to
make it illegal to tell anyone how to circumvent it. In other words,
Australians will have permission to circumvent the nanny filter, but
since few people will know this, or know how to do so, it will be a
meaningless freedom.

The GPL concerns itself with the *practical* freedom to gain access to
source code, not merely the theoretical freedom represented by permission
without opportunity. Failure to pass on the offer to provide source code
impacts that freedom in a very real sense.

If you can't understand this, you have the freedom to think I'm a moron,
and I have the freedom to be sure you are one too *wink*



--
Steven
 
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Lawrence D'Oliveiro
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Posts: n/a
 
      05-13-2010
In message
<(E-Mail Removed)>, Patrick
Maupin wrote:

> On May 12, 10:48 pm, Lawrence D'Oliveiro
> <(E-Mail Removed)_zealand> wrote:
>
>> In message <(E-Mail Removed)>, Ed
>> Keith wrote:
>>
>> > ... but to claim that putting more restrictions on someone give them
>> > more freedom is pure Orwellian double speak.

>>
>> What about the freedom to take away other people’s freedom?

>
> The freedom to take away other people's freedom is a very serious
> power that should only be used sparingly.


Given that the GPL restricts that power, then it must be all right.
 
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Patrick Maupin
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      05-13-2010
On May 13, 2:58*am, Steven D'Aprano
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> On Wed, 12 May 2010 22:16:29 -0700, Patrick Maupin wrote:
> > On May 12, 10:48*pm, Lawrence D'Oliveiro <l...@geek-
> > central.gen.new_zealand> wrote:
> >> In message <(E-Mail Removed)>, Ed
> >> Keith wrote:

>
> >> > ... but to claim that putting more restrictions on someone give them
> >> > more freedom is pure Orwellian double speak.

>
> >> What about the freedom to take away other peopleís freedom?

>
> > The freedom to take away other people's freedom is a very serious power
> > that should only be used sparingly.

>
> >> What tuple of speak would that be?

>
> > Well, if my friend has a slow internet connection, so I give him a Linux
> > CD which lets him get out of Windows hell (me taking advantage of RMS's
> > "freedom 2", and my friend taking advantage of RMS's "freedom 0"), and I
> > don't give my friend all the source code (or a written offer) because,
> > frankly, he wouldn't know what to do with the source anyway, and it
> > doesn't fit on the CD, and I didn't even bother downloading the source,
> > at that point I would apparently be in violation of the GPL license on
> > hundreds of programs, because I would be violating what the FSF calls
> > "freedom 1".

>
> If you used an existing Linux distribution, then the offer to provide
> source code will already be there.


No, there is no written offer, e.g. with Ubuntu, simply because they
take advantage of the ability to provide a download of the source from
the same place as a download of the object. If I download an Ubuntu
ISO, burn it and give it away (let's say I give away 100 copies, just
to remove the fair use defense), then I have violated the GPL. I
provided chapter and verse on this; go look it up.

> If you compiled the CD yourself, and failed to provide a written offer on
> the CD, then yes absolutely you would be in violation of the licence
> terms, and shame on you.


Not relevant.

> The GPL doesn't require you to force source code on those who don't want
> it, but it does require you to make it available if they ask, and for you
> to notify them appropriately of this fact. You don't even have to
> explicitly tell your friend he can have the source code. You just have to
> make sure that the written offer is available on the disk you give him.


There is no written offer on the disk, because I burned it from
Ubuntu's repository. It really is that simple -- if I give away
copies I've made of Ubuntu, I've violated the GPL. Unless you can
cite some authority that tells me I'm wrong and gives real reasons. I
actually quoted chapter and verse from the license, but you chose to
ignore that and make unsubstantiated claims.

> > Now I know none of us would ever violate the license like this, but if,
> > hypothetically speaking, I had made such a CD for my friend, and then
> > someone came along and explained to me that, by helping wean my friend
> > from MS Windows in this fashion, I had taken away his freedom
> > (specifically RMS's "freedom 1"), I would probably conclude that the
> > person making this accusation was a moron

>
> Well, yes, you probably would draw that conclusion. Doesn't mean that you
> are right to do so, because quite frankly you would have taken away your
> friend's freedom (albeit in a very small fashion). Access to the source
> code is a freedom that the GPLed software on the disk *explicitly* grants
> to your friend, and by failing to pass the offer on, you have taken away
> that freedom in a very real sense.


I was going to say "moron" but you're obviously not, so I'll change my
opinion to "brainwashed."

> We are talking about a small technical violation of the licence terms
> here.


No. It's fundamental. The license deliberately makes not sharing the
source *the* principal way to violate it.

> but imagine if everyone did it, if Red Hat and Debian and Ubuntu
> etc didn't bother passing on the source code (or a written offer).


Then somebody else would. How does Apache work?

> Only a
> tiny proportion of people would discover by their own efforts that the
> source code was available


No, I tell my friends that source is available, and they can come and
see me if they want to know more. This may have been a viable
argument in 1989 (doubtful) but it's extremely silly today.

>, and only a proportion of them would learn
> where it was available from. The result in practical terms would be a
> major decrease in the number of people granted the freedom to modify the
> source code, and a correspondingly larger decrease in the number of
> people both free and able to modify the source code.


I sincerely doubt your dystopian vision, which, like the GPL and many
laws, is predicated on some outmoded views about how humans interact.

The reason some people say that the GPL protects the "freedom of the
code" is because the GPL assumes that code needs to be nurtured,
instead of taking the viewpoint that, while there may be some
freeloaders, sharing code is obviously so valuable to most of humanity
that it will just happen. We don't live in medieval Europe any more
where the rules of glassmaking are so secret that you'll be hunted
down like a dog if you try to leave. We live in a world where "co-
opetition" has been shown to be so valuable we had to make up a word
for it, and even for those secrets that people are willing to kill to
keep, we have wikileaks.

Let's face it -- a software freeloader is not the most evil thing in
the world. But whenever people assume that stopping bad behavior 'x'
is paramount, they have to make so many rules that everybody is in
violation of them all the time. People love to share, but in general
people don't share things that others aren't interested in. People
with source code will share with people who care about it. Perhaps
making a special case for modified source code would be sufficient, if
you really care about what Linus calls "tit-for-tat."

> It's not enough to be granted freedom to modify source code in theory, if
> you know about it, if you can find some hard-to-locate website which may
> or may not be running. The practicalities are equally important.


That's another thing. Even if I downloaded all the source from
Ubuntu, what assurances do I really have that I have all the source?
I could be in technical violation of the GPL without even knowing it,
even after wasting an extra two days grabbing the source. Best to use
Gentoo to be sure, and even then, I need to build it twice running
strace just to make sure that I really built everything.

> In
> theoretical terms, everyone has the freedom to legally modify and
> distribute the source code to Microsoft Windows. All you have to do is
> buy 51% of the stock so as to become majority shareholder, then make
> sufficient changes to the board of directors so that the new board grants
> you a licence to do so, then fight off the lawsuits from the rest of the
> shareholders. Anyone could do it! Not.


So "everyone" could own 51% of Microsoft? That means 100% of the
shares would be around 350,000,000,000%. Wait, that can't be right,
what? Can you come up with a sillier analogy?

> Another, more practical example: here in Australia our government is hell-
> bent on introducing an ineffective and expensive Internet censorship
> scheme. It seems that under Australian law, it will be completely legal
> to circumvent the filter, but our government is investigating ways to
> make it illegal to tell anyone how to circumvent it. In other words,
> Australians will have permission to circumvent the nanny filter, but
> since few people will know this, or know how to do so, it will be a
> meaningless freedom.


Yes, that's basically how the DMCA works, and that's evil, and that's
one of the reasons I sometimes give money to the EFF. But, you can't
seriously be comparing making speech a crime and making not speaking a
crime (or a copyright violation), can you? Maybe you *did* manage to
come up with a sillier analogy...

> The GPL concerns itself with the *practical* freedom to gain access to
> source code, not merely the theoretical freedom represented by permission
> without opportunity.


No, the GPL is ideologically opposed to anything related to
practicality (although in practice, its adherents have to bend a bit
to avoid being made irrelevant, and Linux, the shining success, is led
by someone who arguably cares not one whit for GPL ideological
purity).

> Failure to pass on the offer to provide source code
> impacts that freedom in a very real sense.


The thing is, there is an offer. It's just not written, and it may
not be that I will later be able to download the exact same source.
It doesn't meet the letter of the license. Nonetheless, the offer is
*even better* than the one mandated by the GPL, because it comes with
an offer to teach.

But the GPL wording required to enforce what you call a practical
freedom imposes so many impractical costs that there are probably
millions of people in the world who have violated this license, in the
good-faith attempt to spread free software around. As I mentioned to
Mr. Boddie, IMHO, the failure to bring any of these to justice is
deliberate, because suing someone who installed Ubuntu on his
grandmother's computer would give Free Software a huge public black
eye.

So the practicality is not in the *license*, but in the *selective
enforcement* of the license. I view this sort of nod to practicality
to be exactly the same as Microsoft's implicit encouragement of piracy
in third-world countries.

Well, maybe not *exactly* the same, but to conclude that they are at
all different is to admit that *eventual* access to the source code is
moral enough and that enforced distribution of source code to
*everybody* is not really the best way to make the world a better
place.

> If you can't understand this, you have the freedom to think I'm a moron,
> and I have the freedom to be sure you are one too *wink*


Well, I don't think you are a moron, but I find some of your beliefs
not only ill-founded, but very negative -- based on the belief that so
few people will do the right thing absent onerous controls that the
only way to proceed is to impose those onerous controls and then look
the other way when the violation is not *too* egregious.

Also, it is obvious that you did not adequately research the legal
obligations of someone who downloads an Ubuntu ISO and make a few
copies to hand out, because you made completely unsupported statements
about how that works.

Regards,
Pat
 
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Patrick Maupin
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      05-13-2010
On May 13, 7:25*am, Lawrence D'Oliveiro <l...@geek-
central.gen.new_zealand> wrote:
> In message
> <(E-Mail Removed)>, Patrick
>
> Maupin wrote:
> > On May 12, 10:48 pm, Lawrence D'Oliveiro
> > <(E-Mail Removed)_zealand> wrote:

>
> >> In message <(E-Mail Removed)>, Ed
> >> Keith wrote:

>
> >> > ... but to claim that putting more restrictions on someone give them
> >> > more freedom is pure Orwellian double speak.

>
> >> What about the freedom to take away other peopleís freedom?

>
> > The freedom to take away other people's freedom is a very serious
> > power that should only be used sparingly.

>
> Given that the GPL restricts that power, then it must be all right.


But the freedom to take away other people's freedom to take away other
people's freedom is an even *more* serious power (as many communities
which have straight-jacketed their law enforcement officers have found
out), that should be used *very sparingly*, so your conclusion doesn't
necessarily follow.

Regards,
Pat

 
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Steven D'Aprano
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      05-13-2010
On Thu, 13 May 2010 08:06:52 -0700, Patrick Maupin wrote:

> If I download an Ubuntu
> ISO, burn it and give it away (let's say I give away 100 copies, just to
> remove the fair use defense), then I have violated the GPL. I provided
> chapter and verse on this; go look it up.


I'm sorry, I can't see where you have provided "chapter and verse", or
even a URL.


>> If you compiled the CD yourself, and failed to provide a written offer
>> on the CD, then yes absolutely you would be in violation of the licence
>> terms, and shame on you.

>
> Not relevant.


You didn't specify whether the "Linux CD" you were distributing was a
mere copy of an existing CD , or one you created yourself, so you will
pardon me for covering both possibilities.


>> The GPL doesn't require you to force source code on those who don't
>> want it, but it does require you to make it available if they ask, and
>> for you to notify them appropriately of this fact. You don't even have
>> to explicitly tell your friend he can have the source code. You just
>> have to make sure that the written offer is available on the disk you
>> give him.

>
> There is no written offer on the disk, because I burned it from Ubuntu's
> repository. It really is that simple -- if I give away copies I've made
> of Ubuntu, I've violated the GPL.


No, I think this use-case would count as "propagation without conveying",
since you are merely acting as a mechanical proxy between your friend(s)
and Ubuntu.

I will admit that the GPL FAQs are not as clear about this matter as they
should be.



> Unless you can cite some authority
> that tells me I'm wrong and gives real reasons. I actually quoted
> chapter and verse from the license, but you chose to ignore that and
> make unsubstantiated claims.


I'm sorry, I can't find where you have quoted "chapter and verse" from
the licence, so I can't comment.



[snip]
>> but imagine if everyone did it, if Red Hat and Debian and Ubuntu etc
>> didn't bother passing on the source code (or a written offer).

>
> Then somebody else would. How does Apache work?


Apache is niche software, and sadly its popularity is falling
significantly. (~200 million webservers is a large niche, but it's still
a niche.) The scales on the Netcraft graph are useless, so I can't read
accurate numbers, but it looks like it has fallen from approximately a
75% market share to under 55%.

http://news.netcraft.com/archives/we...er_survey.html

Perhaps the Apache model doesn't work quite as well as you think?

As far as not-so-niche software goes, the GPLed Linux OS is far more
popular on the desktop than FreeBSD and OpenBSD together, and about equal
in popularity to Mac OS. I'm not suggesting that the popularity of an OS
is *entirely* dependent on the licence, but it may be a factor.



>> Only a
>> tiny proportion of people would discover by their own efforts that the
>> source code was available

>
> No, I tell my friends that source is available, and they can come and
> see me if they want to know more.


That doesn't scale to distributing hundreds of copies of the CD, let
alone tens of thousands. If you're handing over a single copy to a friend
(which is the example you gave earlier) then a verbal offer works well,
and is only a technical breach of the GPL. If you're distributing
hundreds of copies, I don't believe any such verbal offer is practical.


> This may have been a viable argument
> in 1989 (doubtful) but it's extremely silly today.


So you say.


>>, and only a proportion of them would learn
>> where it was available from. The result in practical terms would be a
>> major decrease in the number of people granted the freedom to modify
>> the source code, and a correspondingly larger decrease in the number of
>> people both free and able to modify the source code.

>
> I sincerely doubt your dystopian vision, which, like the GPL and many
> laws, is predicated on some outmoded views about how humans interact.
>
> The reason some people say that the GPL protects the "freedom of the
> code" is because the GPL assumes that code needs to be nurtured, instead
> of taking the viewpoint that, while there may be some freeloaders,
> sharing code is obviously so valuable to most of humanity that it will
> just happen. We don't live in medieval Europe any more where the rules
> of glassmaking are so secret that you'll be hunted down like a dog if
> you try to leave. We live in a world where "co- opetition" has been
> shown to be so valuable we had to make up a word for it, and even for
> those secrets that people are willing to kill to keep, we have
> wikileaks.


I admire your optimism, but don't share it.


> Let's face it -- a software freeloader is not the most evil thing in the
> world.


*A* software freeloader certainly isn't a big problem. Cutting down *a*
tree is no big deal either, but consider what happened to the people of
Easter Island, Ethiopia and Haiti when *everyone* did so. The terms of
the GPL exist to discourage freeloaders, lest everyone does so. The
obligations it imposes are not onerous by any stretch of the exaggeration.


>> It's not enough to be granted freedom to modify source code in theory,
>> if you know about it, if you can find some hard-to-locate website which
>> may or may not be running. The practicalities are equally important.

>
> That's another thing. Even if I downloaded all the source from Ubuntu,
> what assurances do I really have that I have all the source? I could be
> in technical violation of the GPL without even knowing it, even after
> wasting an extra two days grabbing the source. Best to use Gentoo to be
> sure, and even then, I need to build it twice running strace just to
> make sure that I really built everything.


That's a silly objection to the GPL. When you include an MIT-licenced
library in your project, you can't be sure that the library wasn't stolen
from Microsoft and you've therefore accidentally infringed Microsoft's
copyright. This isn't an argument against the MIT licence any more than
your hypothetical is an argument against the GPL.



>> In
>> theoretical terms, everyone has the freedom to legally modify and
>> distribute the source code to Microsoft Windows. All you have to do is
>> buy 51% of the stock so as to become majority shareholder, then make
>> sufficient changes to the board of directors so that the new board
>> grants you a licence to do so, then fight off the lawsuits from the
>> rest of the shareholders. Anyone could do it! Not.

>
> So "everyone" could own 51% of Microsoft? That means 100% of the shares
> would be around 350,000,000,000%. Wait, that can't be right, what?


Obviously not all at once, silly. But "in theory", everyone could become
the majority shareholder -- there is no law or physical law of nature
that says "Patrick Maupin is prohibited from being majority shareholder
of Microsoft".

Anti-competition laws or similar may prevent a person from becoming
majority shareholder unless they (e.g.) gave up their shares in another
company, but again, there's nothing stopping them from doing so, if they
wished.


> Can you come up with a sillier analogy?


I'm sure I could, but you seem to have entirely missed the point that
such theoretical "freedom" is entirely illusionary, since *in practice*
very few people actually can partake in it.


>> Another, more practical example: here in Australia our government is
>> hell- bent on introducing an ineffective and expensive Internet
>> censorship scheme. It seems that under Australian law, it will be
>> completely legal to circumvent the filter, but our government is
>> investigating ways to make it illegal to tell anyone how to circumvent
>> it. In other words, Australians will have permission to circumvent the
>> nanny filter, but since few people will know this, or know how to do
>> so, it will be a meaningless freedom.

>
> Yes, that's basically how the DMCA works, and that's evil, and that's
> one of the reasons I sometimes give money to the EFF. But, you can't
> seriously be comparing making speech a crime and making not speaking a
> crime (or a copyright violation), can you? Maybe you *did* manage to
> come up with a sillier analogy...


There are situations where not speaking is a crime. If you witness a
crime, and fail to report it, there are circumstances where you may be
liable to be persecuted for aiding and abetting.



>> The GPL concerns itself with the *practical* freedom to gain access to
>> source code, not merely the theoretical freedom represented by
>> permission without opportunity.

>
> No, the GPL is ideologically opposed to anything related to practicality
> (although in practice, its adherents have to bend a bit to avoid being
> made irrelevant, and Linux, the shining success, is led by someone who
> arguably cares not one whit for GPL ideological purity).


And yet Linux is distributed under the GPL, which pretty much sinks your
argument.


[...]
> But the GPL wording required to enforce what you call a practical
> freedom imposes so many impractical costs that there are probably
> millions of people in the world who have violated this license, in the
> good-faith attempt to spread free software around.


As I admitted earlier, there is an apparent grey area there, at least
according to the FAQs, but I don't think it is anywhere near as obvious
as you claim that it is a licence violation.




--
Steven
 
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Patrick Maupin
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      05-14-2010
On May 13, 6:39 pm, Steven D'Aprano
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> On Thu, 13 May 2010 08:06:52 -0700, Patrick Maupin wrote:
> > If I download an Ubuntu
> > ISO, burn it and give it away (let's say I give away 100 copies, just to
> > remove the fair use defense), then I have violated the GPL. I provided
> > chapter and verse on this; go look it up.

>
> I'm sorry, I can't see where you have provided "chapter and verse", or
> even a URL.


In the original message, I wrote "In the case of GPL v3, for example,
Ubuntu lets me download code under 6d, so if I download it and burn
it, I would have to use 6a or 6b; if I had actually received a CD from
Ubuntu, I might be able to use 6c, but not if I downloaded it." I
thought it was clear those were references to the license clauses.

> >> If you compiled the CD yourself, and failed to provide a written offer
> >> on the CD, then yes absolutely you would be in violation of the licence
> >> terms, and shame on you.

>
> > Not relevant.

>
> You didn't specify whether the "Linux CD" you were distributing was a
> mere copy of an existing CD , or one you created yourself, so you will
> pardon me for covering both possibilities.


Well, in the section I just quoted, I did mention "Ubuntu"...

> >> The GPL doesn't require you to force source code on those who don't
> >> want it, but it does require you to make it available if they ask, and
> >> for you to notify them appropriately of this fact. You don't even have
> >> to explicitly tell your friend he can have the source code. You just
> >> have to make sure that the written offer is available on the disk you
> >> give him.

>
> > There is no written offer on the disk, because I burned it from Ubuntu's
> > repository. It really is that simple -- if I give away copies I've made
> > of Ubuntu, I've violated the GPL.

>
> No, I think this use-case would count as "propagation without conveying",
> since you are merely acting as a mechanical proxy between your friend(s)
> and Ubuntu.


No, I'm actually creating a copy and distributing it (in GPL v3
terminology, conveying it), especially since my friends don't
specifically ask for Ubuntu, and I'm foisting it off on them
(especially if I burn 10 CDs at a time so I have one if I need it).
GPL v2 also has similar rules, and there's lots of v2 licensed
software on the Ubuntu CD.

> I will admit that the GPL FAQs are not as clear about this matter as they
> should be.


I think it's quite clear, although a bit of a tedious slog. But since
you want a URL, try this: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq....ngedJustBinary

> > Unless you can cite some authority
> > that tells me I'm wrong and gives real reasons. I actually quoted
> > chapter and verse from the license, but you chose to ignore that and
> > make unsubstantiated claims.

>
> I'm sorry, I can't find where you have quoted "chapter and verse" from
> the licence, so I can't comment.


Well, I just re-copied what I posted, and added a URL from the FAQ.

Regards,
Pat
 
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