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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.
* ...

<-- 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.


[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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