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Re: [Tinycc-devel] Do we want a BSD license for tinycc?

From: Graham Swallow
Subject: Re: [Tinycc-devel] Do we want a BSD license for tinycc?
Date: Wed, 1 May 2013 04:33:33 +0100

Re: [Tinycc-devel] Do we want a BSD license for tinycc?

I'm personally not much bothered about someone using my portions
of code in some private or commercial project.   If anything at
all I'm interested in the best future for the tinycc code base

In that sense, let's think positive:
1) how would/could it help to switch to BSD?
2) how would/could it help to stay with LPGL?

Commercial use is good.
More testing, 
More people familiar with api,
More eyes on the security holes,
More contributors, (even if some delayed)
More returned benefits,
More demand for support within eco-system,
More use,
More, more, more

With LGPL you can already statically link, provided you supply a kit
which allows relinking with a modified/replaced lib.
But that exposes a lot of (un-)stripped symbols of the rest of the program.
Static linking is also an issue with embedded, size, signing, and so on.

With an exemption clause, you could fix that,
"as long as the exact source used, of the libXXX.a was published".
I have seen (somewhere) GPL used with a massive broad sweeping exemption,
that turned GPL into LGPL into BSD, as long as the modified code of this library component
was fully published, But the lack of a well known exception clause, is irritating.

The LGPL is supposedly well known, easily recognised, tested, etc, but ...
The LGPL document is long, rambling, varies with version.
Even the title of the LGPL is indecisive, and derogatory to itself.
It spends so much time fighting with itself, it finally declares a draw.
"Library" LGPL makes good sense: you can ask a lay jury to seek meaning in the title,
"Lesser" LGPL is like a dunces cap, what is the intention?

The GPL (and I guess the LGPL too) provides PATENT PROTECTION.
EG Oracle cannot easily assert a patent that is in MySQL,
because they agreed for it to be and remain GPL when they took over Sun.
and continue to issue new versions, under GPL.
They cant easily say that they didnt realise it was there, and in use. They know.
Without that, they could find some sweet thing, and stop MariaDB.

You might say 'prior art' but patent lawers are evolving. (...ermm...)
This is happening with salt-resistant-seeds, which have existed in nature for 1000's of years
being patented as being salt-resistant, because noone wrote that down.
The first person to claim it gets it. Others get the right to fight for their rights.

Obviously this only applies within the circle drawn around the libXXX.a code,
but can you imagine a fight over floating point register allocation techniques for ARM64-2020.
Some company encourages that patent to be coded in, then pulls the harpoon out.

That said, there is a growing trend for BSD-2-clause in the javascipt groups.
Lifes too short to read all that small-print. (or is that what they want us to say ...)


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