On 01/02/06, Gregory Brown <gregory.t.brown / gmail.com> wrote:
> On 2/1/06, Austin Ziegler <halostatue / gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> Not at all. My problem here is that WSS4R is under GNU GPL only, not
>>>> dually licensed. It is the GNU GPL that is a problem, not the Ruby
>>>> licence.
>>> That's really highly subjective. Outside of Ruby, I *always* use the
>>> GPL.
>> Hmmm. Not really subjective. The GNU GPL is explicitly a highly
>> restrictive licence. The GPLv3 is going to be even more restrictive,
>> although it looks like it might play better with open source licences.
> It is a highly protective license, yes.  All of it's restrictions are
> centered around ensuring permanent protection of the essential
> freedoms.

Um. Strictly speaking, once an open source package has been released
under *any* licence, that version is perpetually available under that
licence. The GNU GPL is more related to an "I'll show you mine if you
show me yours" sort of relationship. It ensures that no derivatives can
be anything but GNU GPL. But for any given version of a project, the
licence is perpetual (unless explicitly stated otherwise, and there's no
open source licence with a time limit).

>>> The license of Ruby only holds ground because the GPL is there. The
>>> terms and conditions that Matz wrote are highly permissive, but do
>>> very little to protect an authors rights.
[...]
> It's not a legal document.
[...]

I'm not sure that's true; I would be unsurprised if Matz's employer's
lawyers didn't go over the licence before release. It is not a common
*US* legal document, but that does not mean that it is not a legal
document or a licence agreement in any case. I can make a licence that
says:

  You may do anything with this software for any purpose whatsoever
  as long as you don't claim that you wrote it.

That sentence is a licence. It's a perfectly legal and enforceable
licence, too.

I suspect there are two reasons it doesn't qualify as an OSI open source
licence: I do not know if it has ever been submitted for analysis, and
OSI is attempting to reduce the number of available licences to reduce
licensing confusion.

I don't care if it's a "free software" licence; that's a copyleft
conceit that I find completely useless (and obfuscatory, since the word
"free" is definitely intended to mean something different than it
usually does when applied to copylefted software).

I, too, would like to see the Ruby source under the current Ruby licence
adapted to an MIT/BSD-style licence + GNU GPL disjunctive licence, but I
see no pressing need for it. I mostly want it to reduce the broad
confusion involving the number of possible licences.

[...]

>> I do maintain and will always maintain that my applications and
>> libraries released under an MIT-style licence will always be freer
>> than anything released under the GNU GPL, any version.
> Yes, you grant more freedom. But you do not ensure the protection of
> these freedoms.

As I noted above, I do in fact ensure the protection of those freedoms
by the fact that my software is licensed. I do not require that my
licensees, however, pass those freedoms along to their users. But the
freedoms and protections granted by my licence on *my* software are
permanent.

[...]

> If you mean, "I want my code to remain free forever", certainly, the
> GPL offers the strongest protection for this.

No, it doesn't. It means "I want my code and all of its possible
derivatives to remain freely available forever." The MIT/BSD guarantees
that the code will always be free.

I'm not trying to be difficult here; I'm trying to correct some
misperceptions that I've seen for the last seventeen years (when I first
encountered the GNU GPL in any form). The GNU GPL is a perfectly good
licence if you want to provide a tremendously strong restriction on the
access to source and its derivatives, but it isn't "more free" than
other licences. (My main problem with the GNU GPL is not its license
provisions; it is tied between (a) the nonsensical preamble which has
political implications that I do not support and (b) the
misappropriation of the concept of "freedom".)

-austin
--
Austin Ziegler * halostatue / gmail.com
               * Alternate: austin / halostatue.ca