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SubjectRe: Wasting our Freedom
On Sun, Sep 16, 2007 at 10:39:26PM +0200, Hannah Schroeter wrote:
> Hi!
>
> On Sun, Sep 16, 2007 at 09:59:09PM +0200, Adrian Bunk wrote:
> >On Sun, Sep 16, 2007 at 11:48:47AM -0700, Can E. Acar wrote:
> >>...
> >> First, these developers got questionable advice from senior Linux kernel
> >> developers, and SLFC (which is closely related to FSF) in the process.
>
> >The most questionable legal advice in this thread was by Theo de Raadt
> >who claimed choosing one licence for _dual-licenced_ code was illegal...
>
> JFTR, I do *not* think that that assessment was questionable. Unless the
> dual-licensing *explicitly* allows relicensing, relicensing is forbidden
> by copyright law. The dual-licensing allows relicensing only if that's
> *explicitly* stated, either in the statement offering the alternative, or
> in one of the licenses.


Dual licenced code by definition explicitely states that you can choose
the licence - otherwise it wouldn't be called dual-licenced.


> Neither GPL nor BSD/ISC allow relicensing in their well-known wordings.


Noone said otherwise.


> If you think that's questionable, you should at least provide arguments
> (and be ready to have your interpretation of the law and the licenses
> tested before court).


The licence in question was:

<-- snip -->

/*-
* Copyright (c) 2002-2004 Sam Leffler, Errno Consulting
* All rights reserved.
*
* Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without
* modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions
* are met:
* 1. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright
* notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer,
* without modification.
* 2. Redistributions in binary form must reproduce at minimum a disclaimer
* similar to the "NO WARRANTY" disclaimer below ("Disclaimer") and any
* redistribution must be conditioned upon including a substantially
* similar Disclaimer requirement for further binary redistribution.
* 3. Neither the names of the above-listed copyright holders nor the names
* of any contributors may be used to endorse or promote products derived
* from this software without specific prior written permission.
*
* Alternatively, this software may be distributed under the terms of the
* GNU General Public License ("GPL") version 2 as published by the Free
* Software Foundation.
*
* NO WARRANTY
* ...

<-- snip -->


Theo claimed it would "break the law" [1] to choose the GPL for
_this_ code. [2]


> >[...]
>
> >Regarding ethics - if you use the BSD licence for your code you state in
> >the licence text that it's OK that I take your code and never give
> >anything back.
>
> But the BSDl does not allow you to relicense the original code, even
> while it allows you to license copyrightable additions/modifications
> under different terms with few restrictions.
>
> However, you say "regarding ethics" and just go back to the legal level.
> Is it really ethical, if you consider both Linux and OpenBSD part of one
> OSS "community", to share things only in one direction? To take the
> reverse engineered HAL but to not allow OpenBSD to take some
> modifications back?


Is it really ethical to use a licence that does not require to give
back, but then demand that something has to be given back?

Why don't you use a licence that expresses your intentions in a legally
binding way?


> >[...]
>
> >Some people have the funny position of opposing the GPL which enforces
> >that you have to give back, but whining that people took their BSD
> >licenced code and don't give back.
>
> A difference is, GPL requires it under every circumstance. BSD does not,
> indeed. But how should one expect it from *OSS* people that even *they*
> don't give back? Do you really want to put yourself on the same level as
> closed-source companies?


You could also see it from a different perspective:

If you like that the GPL enforces that everyone has to give back, do you
also want to see your code BSD licenced without this protection?


But the truth is a bit less harsh:

In reality most Linux kernel developers might not mind to give back -
and e.g. much of the ACPI code is BSD/GPL dual-licenced, and there
doesn't seem to be any problem with this.

But Theo's wrong accusations regarding dual licenced code might not be
the best way for starting a fruitful collaboration...


> >[...]
>
> Kind regards,
>
> Hannah.

cu
Adrian

[1] http://lkml.org/lkml/2007/9/1/102
[2] The fact that Alan didn't notice that part of Jiri's patch touched
non-dual-licenced code is the mistake I already mentioned - but
this mistake is not what Theo is ranting about.

--

"Is there not promise of rain?" Ling Tan asked suddenly out
of the darkness. There had been need of rain for many days.
"Only a promise," Lao Er said.
Pearl S. Buck - Dragon Seed

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