Subject: Re: OSD#5 needs a patch?
From: Ian Lance Taylor <>
Date: 09 Oct 2003 12:42:24 -0700

 09 Oct 2003 12:42:24 -0700
John Cowan <> writes:

> Lawrence E. Rosen scripsit:
> >     51(b) All persons within the jurisdiction of this state are free and
> >    equal, and no matter what their sex, race, color, religion,
> >    ancestry, national origin, disability, or medical condition are
> >    entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages,
> >    facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of
> >    every kind whatsoever.
> So it's perfectly all right, at least under 51(b), for a California
> business to have a sign on the door that says "No admittance to persons
> who patronize our competitors", say, or "We do not serve people named
> George"?  This is what troubles me about all the lists that have been
> served up so far: it's just trivial to find cases where the spirit but
> not the letter is violated.

Yes, I think discrimination in law is quite different from the type of
discrimination we are talking about.  I would say that the law is
basically trying to protect the rights of minorities which have
historically been subject to abuse.  If there was a history of
discrimination against people named George, then there would very
likely be a law prohibiting that type of discrimination.

We want a different sort of definition, one which tries to ensure that
open source software is available to all, while simultaneously saying
that certain actions may be prohibited.  Maybe we could say something
along the lines of ``the license must permit anything which we do not
explicitly state may be forbidden.''

> >     51(c) This section shall not be construed to confer any right or
> >    privilege on a person that is conditioned or limited by law or that
> >    is applicable alike to persons of every sex, color, race, religion,
> >    ancestry, national origin, disability, or medical condition.
> This doesn't seem to parse.  Can you expound, or at least unpack it a bit?

It means that the fact that you aren't allowed to discriminate against
certain sorts of people doesn't therefore imply that they get any
extra rights.  You can't deny rights on a particular basis; you can
still deny rights, though, as long as you deny them to everyone.  It's
OK to say ``we do not accept checks;'' it's not OK to say ``we do not
accept checks from Lithuanians.''  Faced with ``we do not accept
checks,'' Lithuanians can't claim that they have a right to pay by
check on the argument that discrimination on the basis of national
origin is not permitted.

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