Re: Open Source licensing, Take 2

From: Edward Cherlin <cherlin_at_pacbell_dot_net>
Date: Tue May 10 2005 - 15:40:36 CDT

On Tuesday 10 May 2005 12:28, Alan Dechert wrote:
> David,
>
> >> http://www.mass.gov/Aitd/docs/quickrefchart.xls
> >
> > Without looking, I know that 45-50 of those are meaningless
> > distractions that some company or project pushed for vanity
> > reasons. There are a small number of open source licenses
> > that might merit our serious attention. Like maybe 4-5,
> > tops.

Yes.

> >> Still, processes, threat model, motivations, legal
> >> compliance (highly variable in election code), distribution
> >> model, business model, etc., are likely to be sufficiently
> >> different that straight GPL is unlikely to have all the
> >> features we need.
> >
> > I doubt this also. I never bought Doug's reasoning about
> > the extra clause in EVMPL. The code audit/history issue is
> > really a different question than the licensing, and
> > shmushing them together doesn't really do anything for us in
> > practice.

Avionics software requiring government certification can be
GPLed. Why is our case different?

> I think we want something more like BSD than GPL. RAND for
> copying and distribution, and not viral. I doubt that a viral
> license will work for us since election law is changing and
> legislators are just beginning to think about open source
> election software.

Virality is a chimera, part of the Microsoft FUD campaign (Fear,
Uncertainty, and Doubt). They claim that the GPL will destroy
the software industry, that it is unAmerican, even Communist,
and a good deal of other nonsense. The GPL requires that changes
distributed in binary must also be distributed in source. That's
it. The fear of contamination of other software is greatly
overblown. For software that is meant to be combined with other
software, there is the LGPL (Lesser GPL, formerly Library GPL).

I would object strenuously to a BSD license, which permits a
vendor to take a nominally Open Source product private, as Apple
has done with the BSD foundation of OS X.

I am willing to consider BSD as a fallback if political option to
the GPL materializes, but I am not prepared to give it up in
advance on a supposition.

> Alan D.

-- 
Edward Cherlin
Generalist & activist--Linux, languages, literacy and more
"A knot! Oh, do let me help to undo it!"
--Alice in Wonderland
http://cherlin.blogspot.com
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Received on Tue May 31 23:17:32 2005

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