Subject: Re: IPL as a burden
From: Ian Lance Taylor <>
Date: 16 Jan 2001 08:58:04 -0800

Manfred Schmid <> writes:

> It is indeed interesting that GPL does not address the matter ofrunning
> a GPLed program.

As others have noted, this is not the case: the GPL does require
permission to run the program.

> From a legal standpoint it might be interesting, if the
> OSD is an inegral part of GPL or not.

It's not.  The GPL precedes the OSD by many years.

> Still I do not see IPL being incompliant with the OSDs. we explicitely
> address the matter of running an IPLed program and state that license
> fees may apply.

At this point I do not not know if we have a language problem, or if
you are being deliberately obtuse.

License fees are incompatible with the OSD.

Fees required for execution of the program are incompatible with the

The IPL as presented is not an open source license.

The IPL as presented will not receive OSI approval.

(I am not on the OSI board, and I have no say in which licenses are
deemed open source.  However, I believe that I understand the area
sufficiently to make the above categorical statements.)

> We do not feel that the license is an obstacle. Free Software mens free
> speach, not free beer (adopted from
> All you will have to do is pay the price asked for, if applicable.

Your program is not free speech.  Free speech means that I can say
what I choose even if you don't like it.  In software it means that I
can change your program as I choose even if you don't like it.  In
particular, it means that I can remove your licensing code, it means
that I can copy your program to a hundred computers, and I can run it
on all of them.

> > If I want to run your program on several different computers, then
> > removing the license information is clearly an improvement for me.
> > With open source programs, you don't get to define what an improvement
> > is.  I do.
> You do have to stick to the license terms and the definition of an
> improvement is not totally up to you. 

For open source software, the definition of an improvement certainly
is up to me.  Just as with free speech I can say what I want, with
free software I can improve what I want.

> Lets take great GPLed software and try to illegally ask for license
> fees. The easiest "improvement" would be to take out any copyright
> notice and licensing information (or change it). You are not allowed to
> do this, and there is a good reason for that.

You are being ambiguous here, confusing the meaning of ``license'' as
in software license and ``license'' as in ``license fees.''  Perhaps
this is a language problem.  The GPL prohibits removing information
about the software license.  It is silent on the matter of license

I will start calling ``license fees'' ``execution fees'' to try to
avoid any possible language problem.

> Again, we think the matter is not free beer but free speach. If you
> would like to run IPLed software on several different computers, the
> price may be higher, but we do not put any license matters in your way.

The higher price is a execution fee.  It is not compatible with the

> > > We do not want to start any religious wars or piss somebody off. We only
> > > want to take commercial Open Source Development one step further.
> > 
> > That one step is taking you out of the realm of open source.
> I still do not understand why that should be the case.

I have no idea how to make it more clear.

You may not restrict my ability to run, modify, or redistribute the
software, except in very limited ways which are explicitly spelled out
in the OSD.

> > I want to stress that I am not saying that you should not use the
> > license.  I am saying that you should not call this license ``open
> > source.''
> > 
> Besides being able to "officially" call it Open Source and get the
> license approved, we think it is a good step to open the source and make
> it publicly available. We have thought a lot about it and feel it is the
> best for all the parties involved.

I agree that opening the source and making it publically available is
a good course.  You don't need to use an open source license to do
that.  Again I refer you to Bitkeeper.

> Still we would like to get approval.

You won't get it.