BSD, Gav, LGPL, Jeremy, and business

Patrik Stridvall ps at
Sat Feb 16 11:47:26 CST 2002

> >A tool is a tool. As every tool it can be use for good or evil.
> >The purpose of the creator is irrelevant in the real world.
> Not so. When one is reverse-engineering a virus or Trojan horse, 
> for example, it helps a great deal to know what the creator 
> intended. 
> And the GPL is, in many ways, a Trojan horse. (It's viral, too,
> but that's another issue.) 
> Programmers see the rhetoric at the top claiming that the license 
> will promote "freedom," and place it upon their code -- whereupon 
> its terms and conditions promote Stallman's agenda instead.
> If users are fully informed about what a Trojan horse REALLY does, 
> they may think twice about "running" it.

Obviously everybody should be carefully before using a tool
and study and understand for yourself what it really does
an not rely on what other people say about it.

But that doesn't mean that the tool inherits any
"evil" purpose that the creator of it had in the
process of creation.

Sure there are trojan horses in the world intend or
not intended and you should be careful what you use,
that goes without saying.
> >Therefore I have a half serious question to you:
> >Do you believe that the GPL is like the One Ring that
> >answers to his master Stallman alone, and corrupt
> >everybody else to evil?
> You're being overly dramatic (and a bit silly) here. 

It was meant to be. I was just testing you.

If you had answered yes, I would have known
that further discussion was meaningless.

> >> >I care not whether I support Stallman or not.
> >> >I care ONLY about what is good for Wine.
> >> 
> >> Ethics, consumer choice, and the future of programming
> >> as a profession all matter as well. It is not ethical
> >> to focus only on the interests of one project.
> >
> >Ah, perhaps I shouldn't have formulated myself better.
> >
> >What I meant was that just because somebody is "evil"
> >supporting _some_ of the things they support doesn't
> >make you "evil" or unethical.
> Alas, by using Stallman's licenses -- which are designed
> to further his agenda to some extent no matter WHERE
> they are used -- one is promoting something unethical.
> One may not be doing so intentionally (just as one is
> not being unethical if one votes for a corrupt politician 
> whom one does not know to be corrupt). But if you know
> that you're supporting unethical activities and continue
> to do so, then you are yourself not acting ethically.

I think the difference is that I don't consider Stallmans
agenda unethical, only unrealistic.

Forcing people to releasing small bug fixes is one thing
but forcing people to contribute considerably more
will soon find that the willingless to contribute will
decrease unless some external factor exists.

> >Hitler supported building new autobahns (motor ways).
> >I support build new autobahns (motor ways).
> >
> >However this doesn't make me "evil".
> I could invoke Godwin's Law here, but I won't. ;-)
> In the analogy above, suppose you find out that the
> autobahns in question won't actually go anywhere that 
> citizens (including you!) want to go, but are designed 
> to support military invasions of other countries in
> which many innocent people will be needlessly hurt
> or killed. Do you still support them?

Yes, because the motor ways that can transport troups
can also transport trade goods or people visiting
other countries in friendship. The more trade the
more interdepence and the less risk for war.

You can't have the good without the bad.
> >No license can deny fair use. 
> Yes, it can. You can forfeit your fair use rights via
> a contract. And the FSF licenses are profferred contracts.

That remains to be decided in court. 

Anyway such considerations are close to meaningless
a license can only binding to anybody buying or
downloading a work.

IIRC a judge suggested that if somebody found a piece of 
work lying on the street he could do whatever he pleased
with it. 

I can for example have my friend do it and access the
work over the network on his computer or however.

As far as fair use is concerned it will not consider
how you got hold of whatever you claim fair use on.
> >I don't think they will have much luck though,
> >they have already tried to stretch the boundaries
> >of copyright law with the GPL, 
> This is another reason why the GPL is likely to be
> ruled invalid. An attempt to use copyright law to
> do anything beyond the purposes stated in the US
> Constitution can be invalidated as "copyright abuse."
> (This argument has been made in the Napster litigation
> and Judge Patel has taken it quite seriously.) Certainly,
> "turning copyright on its head" (these are Stallman's own 
> words for what a "copyleft" license does) would qualify
> as copyright abuse. Hence, all "copyleft" licenses are
> probably invalid and unenforceable.

I think saying that the GPL is copyright abuse it taking
it little far. 

As far as the viral aspects of it maybe, but not as a whole.

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