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Re: The company that wants to contribute (was Re: [Duplicity-talk] Vers

From: Gregory Maxwell
Subject: Re: The company that wants to contribute (was Re: [Duplicity-talk] Version 0.5.07 Released)
Date: Thu, 5 Feb 2009 10:24:48 -0500

On Thu, Feb 5, 2009 at 8:04 AM, Quim Gil <address@hidden> wrote:
> You can ask about Nokia's behavior in other community projects around
> GNOME, freedesktop.org, WebKit, Mozilla, Xorg, Linux Kernel... and now
> KDE after the Trolltech acquisition. They tend to have good opinions for
> what I can tell.

Since you suggested it— I can speak up with a view from another project:

Nokia's patent FUD and promotion of patent encumbered media codecs to
the W3C has been incredibly harmful to the adoption of free formats on
the web. 
 (although, fortunately, at least Mozilla has apparently determined
that Nokia's sabre rattling is without merit)

This activity is consistent with Nokia's long term advocacy for
software patents in Europe:

One of the primary purposes of GPLv3 over GPLv2 is assuring that
contributors and distributors do not later assert patents over the
distributed software.  The GPLv3 represents years of development
including extensive consultation with industry.  If Nokia's council is
has specific concerns related to GPLv3 doing something other than the
publicly stated purposes of protecting free software, than I'm sure
the FSF would be interested in correcting any such flaws in the
license.  In the absence of a public statement about how the GPLv3 is
doing something other than accomplishing its stated mission, it would
be reasonable to assume that someone who asks a project to avoid v3 is
interested in violating the stated mission of the license, or at least
preserving the possibility for the future.

Regardless of the good and honest intentions of the Nokia Maemo team
here legalese exists because honest intentions are not durable:
Honest intentions don't prevent a later rights holder from turning
patent troll. etc.

I would strongly encourage the duplicity developers to take broader
advice on this subject— I'm sure the FSF would be willing to provide
their take on the subject (and, I've found them to be quite reasonable
in the past, for example they recommended the X11 license for a
project rather than the GPL),  and the Software Freedom Law Center
(http://www.softwarefreedom.org/), an independent law firm for Free
Software/Open source projects may be willing to provide some advice.

As GPLv3 adoption increases more projects will likely receiver similar
requests.  While the final decision of licensing is a personal one for
the developers— many of the factors worth considering are common
across many projects.  By taking the time to make a considered and
informed decision here you may save other projects time and risk.


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