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MIT vs. Ruby/GPL License

 
 
Jon Lambert
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      10-15-2007


> From: http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed)
>
> (Richard Stallman considers free licenses without copyleft
> to be non-free.)

...
>
> With a license like the MIT (and BSD, and ...) you give away your softwar=

e
> (almost) unconditionally...

...
> With a license like the GPL, your software gift is conditional--the recei=

ver
> of the gift must (to use a phrase that I haven't heard in this context
> before) "pay it forward".=20


Which one gives the user more freedom, the unconditional or conditional gra=
nt?
That's rhetorical. I've already determined the answer for myself.=20

While GPL software apparently does fall under the OSD , it does impose a pr=
actical though not explicit discrimination against a particular field of en=
deavor... selling software.=20

- J. Lambert

__________________________________________________ _______________
Boo!=A0Scare away worms, viruses and so much more! Try Windows Live OneCare=
!
http://onecare.live.com/standard/en-...id=3Dwl_hotma=
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Jon Lambert
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      10-15-2007


Jeremy Henty wrote:
> On 2007-10-15, Jon Lambert wrote:
>>
>> Which one gives the user more freedom, the unconditional or
>> conditional grant?

>
> The GPL gives the *user* *complete* freedom. It restricts *other*
> activities, such as distributing a derived work, but it imposes no
> restrictions on simply using the software.


Using that limited definition of user, one who "simply uses the software",=
=20
most proprietary licenses also give the user complete freedom. =20

- J. Lambert

__________________________________________________ _______________
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Chad Perrin
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      10-15-2007
On Mon, Oct 15, 2007 at 01:35:03PM +0900, Jeremy Henty wrote:
> On 2007-10-15, Jon Lambert <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> >
> > Jeremy Henty wrote:
> >>
> >> The GPL gives the *user* *complete* freedom. It restricts *other*
> >> activities, such as distributing a derived work, but it imposes no
> >> restrictions on simply using the software.

> >
> > Using that limited definition of user, one who "simply uses the
> > software", most proprietary licenses also give the user complete
> > freedom.

>
> Including the freedom to install and run the software *without* paying
> anything for it? I think not. And at my last office job I didn't see
> any proprietary software whose license did not restrict either the
> number of installation hosts or the number (total or concurrent) of
> users. GPL software has no such usage restrictions.


Considering we were talking about "freedom", I didn't think we were
talking about "free cost".

The user does not necessarily get "complete freedom" (for instance, I'm
in the odd position of having a bunch of GPLed software on a shelf that I
cannot legally give away for free, thanks to the rules relating to
upstream linking for GPLv2). Many of those cases are largely
unimportant, but the fact that restrictions still exist should not be
ignored.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the GPL (nor that there isn't,
per se) at the moment. I'm just trying to stick to the cold, hard facts
of the matter. Considering ruby-talk isn't exactly the proper venue for
an ideological war, I think we'd all appreciate it if you would do the
same rather than simply applying the blanket term Freedom to all things
GPL and defend it to your last breath -- as you seem to be gearing up to
do.

--
CCD CopyWrite Chad Perrin [ http://ccd.apotheon.org ]
Paul Graham: "Real ugliness is not harsh-looking syntax, but having to
build programs out of the wrong concepts."

 
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M. Edward (Ed) Borasky
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      10-15-2007
Jeremy Henty wrote:
> On 2007-10-15, Jon Lambert <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>> Jeremy Henty wrote:
>>> The GPL gives the *user* *complete* freedom. It restricts *other*
>>> activities, such as distributing a derived work, but it imposes no
>>> restrictions on simply using the software.

>> Using that limited definition of user, one who "simply uses the
>> software", most proprietary licenses also give the user complete
>> freedom.

>
> Including the freedom to install and run the software *without* paying
> anything for it? I think not. And at my last office job I didn't see
> any proprietary software whose license did not restrict either the
> number of installation hosts or the number (total or concurrent) of
> users. GPL software has no such usage restrictions.
>
> Regards,
>
> Jeremy Henty
>
>

Most proprietary end-user licenses explicitly forbid running the
software under a debugger, disassembling it, or benchmarking it and
publishing the timing results, even if you paid for it. It's not just
distribution you can't legally do.

 
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Randy Kramer
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      10-15-2007
On Sunday 14 October 2007 11:29 pm, Jon Lambert wrote:
> Jeremy Henty wrote:
> > On 2007-10-15, Jon Lambert wrote:
> >>
> >> Which one gives the user more freedom, the unconditional or
> >> conditional grant?

> >
> > The GPL gives the *user* *complete* freedom. It restricts *other*
> > activities, such as distributing a derived work, but it imposes no
> > restrictions on simply using the software.

>
> Using that limited definition of user, one who "simply uses the software",
> most proprietary licenses also give the user complete freedom.


Hmm, most proprietary licenses (I can't immediately think of any exceptions)
do not give the *user* (who might be a programmer, or not) the freedoms to:

* review (and learn) from the source code
* modify the program (using the source code) for his own purposes and use
* pay someone other than the original "manufacturer" to modify the program
for his own purposes and use

(Phrased as above to stay away from the concepts of then distributing those
changes to others, which most, I think, would not consider to be (strictly)
user functions.)

Randy Kramer


 
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Trans
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      10-15-2007


On Oct 15, 7:55 am, Jeremy Henty <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> On 2007-10-15, Chad Perrin <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>
>
> > On Mon, Oct 15, 2007 at 01:35:03PM +0900, Jeremy Henty wrote:
> >> On 2007-10-15, Jon Lambert <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>
> >> > Jeremy Henty wrote:

>
> >> >> The GPL gives the *user* *complete* freedom. It restricts *other*
> >> >> activities, such as distributing a derived work, but it imposes no
> >> >> restrictions on simply using the software.

>
> >> > Using that limited definition of user, one who "simply uses the
> >> > software", most proprietary licenses also give the user complete
> >> > freedom.

>
> >> Including the freedom to install and run the software *without* paying
> >> anything for it? I think not. And at my last office job I didn't see
> >> any proprietary software whose license did not restrict either the
> >> number of installation hosts or the number (total or concurrent) of
> >> users. GPL software has no such usage restrictions.

>
> > Considering we were talking about "freedom",

>
> Chad, *I* was responding to someone's direct reply to one of my
> comments. It's not relevant that you thought "we" were talking about
> something else.
>
> > ... I didn't think we were talking about "free cost".

>
> The right to do some things for free is a pretty important freedom.
> Or would you be happy having to pay $1000 to vote? Anyway, I
> mentioned (and you conveniently ignored) several other freedoms. And
> other posters have mentioned more.
>
> > The user does not necessarily get "complete freedom" (for instance,
> > I'm in the odd position of having a bunch of GPLed software on a
> > shelf that I cannot legally give away for free,

>
> Irrelevant. My point was that *usage* is not restricted. And it
> isn't.
>
> > I'm just trying to stick to the cold, hard facts of the matter.

>
> You most definitely are *not*, otherwise you would not have accused me
> of:
>
> > ... simply applying the blanket term Freedom to all things GPL and
> > defend it to your last breath -- as you seem to be gearing up to do.

>
> Why don't *you* "stick to the cold, hard facts of the matter." rather
> than spreading rumours about what I "seem to be gearing up to do."?
> Meanwhile I'll stick to defending what I actually *said*. Life's too
> short to waste time on other people's silly fantasies about my
> motives.



Uh oh. We were doing so well! A potentially flaming subject kept to a
congenial ember.

Tell you what. Lets now take a different bent: Here is what I think I
learned from this thread.

1) Licensing can be complicated
2) Unless you have specific reasons to do otherwise pick a very simple
one like MIT.
Specific reasons are either:
1) I demand all derivative works also be OSS.
2) This software is mine mine mine (non-OSS or partial-OSS)
3) Another lib, that I must use, is forcing my hand.
3) Ruby license is not a good license to use, but unfortunately so
many Rubyists have used it we are kind of stuck with it --see 2.3
above. Thankfully, clause 4 of the license gets us out of point 2.1
(barely?).

T.


 
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Chad Perrin
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Posts: n/a
 
      10-15-2007
On Tue, Oct 16, 2007 at 12:37:04AM +0900, Trans wrote:
>
> Uh oh. We were doing so well! A potentially flaming subject kept to a
> congenial ember.
>
> Tell you what. Lets now take a different bent: Here is what I think I
> learned from this thread.
>
> 1) Licensing can be complicated
> 2) Unless you have specific reasons to do otherwise pick a very simple
> one like MIT.
> Specific reasons are either:
> 1) I demand all derivative works also be OSS.
> 2) This software is mine mine mine (non-OSS or partial-OSS)
> 3) Another lib, that I must use, is forcing my hand.
> 3) Ruby license is not a good license to use, but unfortunately so
> many Rubyists have used it we are kind of stuck with it --see 2.3
> above. Thankfully, clause 4 of the license gets us out of point 2.1
> (barely?).


I'm not quite as well-versed in the MIT license as I am in some others.
It is often compared with the BSD license as having similar terms,
however, so I'll speak about the BSD license here (with which I'm more
familiar).

The BSD license actually provides for the code covered by the license to
be forevermore "open source". There's a common misconception that the
BSD license and similar licenses somehow allow you to make the code in
them proprietary. That's not legally possible, as the BSD license
contains an inheritance clause that mandates further copies of the code
be distributed under the same license. The difference between that and
the voracious nature of the GPL is that the BSD license allows covered
code to be "wrapped" in code of another license, such that a complete
project can be distributed under the licensing terms of the copyright
holder's choice while the specific parts of it that are licensed BSD
remain under the BSD license's terms. The GPL demands that everything
that is connected to code it covers must also be distributed under its
terms.

So . . . the MIT license may very well be quite suitable to situations
where you "demand that all derivative works also be OSS". That really
depends on how you mean that statement to be interpreted.

As for the flame war prone nature of license discussions, I guess I
probably should have left well enough alone rather than asking someone to
keep his/her personal opinions down to a dull roar. The obvious pro-GPL
implications of a preceding message in this thread seemed to require some
correction, and I made the mistake of not realizing attempting to cut the
rhetoric away from the facts would be something like throwing fuel on a
fire. I apologize for that misjudgment.

--
CCD CopyWrite Chad Perrin [ http://ccd.apotheon.org ]
Phillip J. Haack: "Productivity is not about speed. It's about velocity.
You can be fast, but if you're going in the wrong direction, you're not
helping anyone."

 
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Chad Perrin
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Posts: n/a
 
      10-15-2007
On Mon, Oct 15, 2007 at 08:33:58PM +0900, Randy Kramer wrote:
> On Sunday 14 October 2007 11:29 pm, Jon Lambert wrote:
> > Jeremy Henty wrote:
> > > On 2007-10-15, Jon Lambert wrote:
> > >>
> > >> Which one gives the user more freedom, the unconditional or
> > >> conditional grant?
> > >
> > > The GPL gives the *user* *complete* freedom. It restricts *other*
> > > activities, such as distributing a derived work, but it imposes no
> > > restrictions on simply using the software.

> >
> > Using that limited definition of user, one who "simply uses the software",
> > most proprietary licenses also give the user complete freedom.

>
> Hmm, most proprietary licenses (I can't immediately think of any exceptions)
> do not give the *user* (who might be a programmer, or not) the freedoms to:
>
> * review (and learn) from the source code
> * modify the program (using the source code) for his own purposes and use
> * pay someone other than the original "manufacturer" to modify the program
> for his own purposes and use


I'd classify the first two (because they specify access to source code as
a condition, rather than referring to any legal privilege) as
"capability" or "opportunity" rather than "freedom". I'm a stickler for
terms that way.

--
CCD CopyWrite Chad Perrin [ http://ccd.apotheon.org ]
Kent Beck: "I always knew that one day Smalltalk would replace Java. I
just didn't know it would be called Ruby."

 
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Michal Suchanek
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      10-15-2007
On 15/10/2007, Chad Perrin <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>
> The BSD license actually provides for the code covered by the license to
> be forevermore "open source". There's a common misconception that the
> BSD license and similar licenses somehow allow you to make the code in
> them proprietary. That's not legally possible, as the BSD license
> contains an inheritance clause that mandates further copies of the code
> be distributed under the same license. The difference between that and
> the voracious nature of the GPL is that the BSD license allows covered
> code to be "wrapped" in code of another license, such that a complete
> project can be distributed under the licensing terms of the copyright
> holder's choice while the specific parts of it that are licensed BSD
> remain under the BSD license's terms. The GPL demands that everything
> that is connected to code it covers must also be distributed under its
> terms.
>
> So . . . the MIT license may very well be quite suitable to situations
> where you "demand that all derivative works also be OSS". That really
> depends on how you mean that statement to be interpreted.


The major difference from the "forever opensource" point of view is
that BSD license does not require you to distribute the code in source
form.
This allows you to only distribute the binaries of a modified version
of the software and keep the source, making the software as
proprietary as it ever gets. People can disassemble it, but they can
do the same with proprietary software (the license may forbid it but
it is unenforcible technically and often even legally). To disallow
copying the binaries just link with a proprietary module.

Thanks

Michal

 
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Trans
Guest
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      10-15-2007


On Oct 15, 9:20 am, Chad Perrin <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> On Tue, Oct 16, 2007 at 12:37:04AM +0900, Trans wrote:
>
> > Uh oh. We were doing so well! A potentially flaming subject kept to a
> > congenial ember.

>
> > Tell you what. Lets now take a different bent: Here is what I think I
> > learned from this thread.

>
> > 1) Licensing can be complicated
> > 2) Unless you have specific reasons to do otherwise pick a very simple
> > one like MIT.
> > Specific reasons are either:
> > 1) I demand all derivative works also be OSS.
> > 2) This software is mine mine mine (non-OSS or partial-OSS)
> > 3) Another lib, that I must use, is forcing my hand.
> > 3) Ruby license is not a good license to use, but unfortunately so
> > many Rubyists have used it we are kind of stuck with it --see 2.3
> > above. Thankfully, clause 4 of the license gets us out of point 2.1
> > (barely?).


> I'm not quite as well-versed in the MIT license as I am in some others.
> It is often compared with the BSD license as having similar terms,
> however, so I'll speak about the BSD license here (with which I'm more
> familiar).
>
> The BSD license actually provides for the code covered by the license to
> be forevermore "open source". There's a common misconception that the
> BSD license and similar licenses somehow allow you to make the code in
> them proprietary. That's not legally possible, as the BSD license
> contains an inheritance clause that mandates further copies of the code
> be distributed under the same license. The difference between that and
> the voracious nature of the GPL is that the BSD license allows covered
> code to be "wrapped" in code of another license, such that a complete
> project can be distributed under the licensing terms of the copyright
> holder's choice while the specific parts of it that are licensed BSD
> remain under the BSD license's terms. The GPL demands that everything
> that is connected to code it covers must also be distributed under its
> terms.


That's good to understand.

> So . . . the MIT license may very well be quite suitable to situations
> where you "demand that all derivative works also be OSS".


Does it? I thought it was just the opposite.

> That really
> depends on how you mean that statement to be interpreted.


Well, I was thinking "GPL" in this case.

> As for the flame war prone nature of license discussions, I guess I
> probably should have left well enough alone rather than asking someone to
> keep his/her personal opinions down to a dull roar. The obvious pro-GPL
> implications of a preceding message in this thread seemed to require some
> correction, and I made the mistake of not realizing attempting to cut the
> rhetoric away from the facts would be something like throwing fuel on a
> fire. I apologize for that misjudgment.


Well, we are all entitled (even to argue if we want But classically
I think the "war" of license is between GPL and BSD isn't it? That's
probably a huge over simplification, but that tends to be my shallow
assessment of the field. And that was really the crux of my dividing
line for point 2.1.

T.


 
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