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Re: lynx-dev Re: Licensing Lynx (fwd)

From: Brett Glass
Subject: Re: lynx-dev Re: Licensing Lynx (fwd)
Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 10:24:19 -0600

At 08:16 AM 9/27/99 +0100, David Woolley wrote:

> > Worse still, the license under which Lynx is CLAIMED to be distributed
> > cannot be applied to several parts of it. So, one might say, it is
> > "out of control" -- there IS no license, really.
>You are using a recent standard attack on the GPL here, 

Actually, it's not "standard" (this situation is unique to Lynx), nor
is it an "attack." Rather, we're trying to puzzle out what we might
actually be able to do with which portions of the code, and are finding
conflicting statements within the Lynx documentation and source code!
The GPL, in particular, conflicts with all of the other licenses within
the package.

>Incidentally, the implication of no licence would still be the same for
>you, as the default for no licence is that no-one can copy it to use it.

It would mean that we would have to solicit licenses from the developers --
which is, still, what we're trying to do.

>It wouldn't surprise me if the courts would consider the spirit behind
>the licences, and might particularly note that the advertising clause
>has now been removed from the Berkeley license, 

Berkeley has revoked the "advertising clause" only on code which it
owns. Other people who used the Berkeley license -- even if they used
it verbatim -- may choose not to do that. 

Also, the advertising restrictions on the Bellcore code in Lynx are
not the same ones that Berkeley revoked. Berkeley and Bellcore BOTH
still prohibit the use of their names to promote products containing
their open source code. This means that the GPL still cannot be applied
to either.

> > Again, we need to create commercial code, not GPLed code.
>Generally when people create things under the GPL they don't necessarily
>fully understand the consequences of what they are doing, 

Very true.

>but it is a
>reasonable assumption that many of them don't want to have the code 
>commercially exploited in your way, 

Most recognize that companies such as Red Hat will be able to get quite
rich off it. Developers like ourselves will probably never achieve anywhere
near the richesse of Red Hat (whose market cap is -- what -- nearly a billion?).
And, because we'd be starting with something that's available for free, any
money we WOULD make would have to be for the value we added. In short, not
only do we want to make an honest living by adding unique value, but we HAVE
to. If we do not add genuine value, people will use the free version instead.

To put it another way, it simply makes sense to use the code for which one can 
get zero dollars as a baseline, rather than "starting out negative" by having 
regenerate that code. Richard Stallman, who preachest that the concept of 
intellectual property is morally wrong, believes that the purpose of open 
code should be to handicap developers, preventing them from making an honest
living from their work by putting them behind in this way. But I think that most
of us (especially those who write code for a living) are less apt to try to
sabotage our colleagues and would rather help them. At least I hope so.


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