Subject: Re: Why?
From: Rick Moen <>
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 2003 16:35:42 -0800

Quoting Jan Dockx (

> 3) I do not understand how the Lucent example relates to my question 
> about the difference between a permissible license such as BSD and 
> public domain. My main question here is: why are we so obsessed with 
> licenses? I understand for the FSF, and the copyleft issues, but what 
> are we trying to do with the permissible licenses, such as BSD, Apache, 
> Mozilla? What is the difference with public domain?

I can only suggest that you read the licence terms, to see what they

o  The BSD licence asserts the statutory right of attribution -- which
   can be either claimed or disavowed per copyright law, but is lost in
   the transition to public domain upon expiration or (theoretical)
   destruction of copyright title.  It conditions permission to use the
   covered work on a non-endorsement clause, and also upon disclaimer of

o  The Apache Licence does all of that, requires a specific form for the
   attribution statement in end-user documentation, and prohibits
   derivatives from being called "Apache" without permission.

o  Mozilla Public Licence 1.1 has somewhat more complex provisions, and
   you should read it for yourself, rather than expecting that to be
   explained to you.  Your apparent assumption that it's of a kind with
   the other two is incorrect.

> a) If so, you are in an excellent position to answer my question: why 
> did you or Lucent feel it necessary to do more than put the code in the 
> public domain? Why have you spend hours, if not days, as I understand 
> from your response, debating with highly skilled people over the 
> license? Which aspect of "public domain" were you not happy with?

So, here we have what I see as the essence of your position:  You'd 
rather make the whole mess go away, and resent having to deal with it.
This is what pracically all advocates of dedicating works to the public
domain say.

Well, fine.  Good luck to you.  Meanwhile, a lot of the rest of us feel
we have reason to believe that such declarations may well fail of their
intended effect, or do so differently and unreliably in different
jurisdictions.  We're also mystified at why one wouldn't want a
disclaimer of liability for something you allow to be used for basically
any purpose at no charge whatsoever.

> Hm. Sorry, but I'm not really convinced.

If you're seeking "Convince me" consulting services, kindly offer terms
of compensation for our time and trouble.  Otherwise, you're just yet
another guy with rhetorical questions and an attitude.

Cheers,        "A raccoon tangled with a 23,000 volt line, today.  The results
Rick Moen       blacked out 1400 homes and, of course, one raccoon."                                  -- Steel City News
license-discuss archive is at