Subject: Re: Studies
From: Russell Nelson <nelson@crynwr.com>
Date: 29 Nov 1997 14:26:57 -0000

Adam J. Richter writes:
 > Russ Nelson writes:
 > >With some examination of the FPL, you can see that it imposes no
 > >restrictions over the GPL on people who are writing gratis software.
 > 
 > It makes it illegal to write derivative gratis software that you want
 > others to be able to distribute for profit.  For example, if I want
 > to incorporate a printer driver from Alladin Ghostscript into an
 > image manipulation program that I make available for anonymous FTP,
 > I am prohibited from allowing that software also to be included on
 > CDROM's that are sold for profit, greatly reducing the distribution
 > that the software will receive.

There is an exception for CDROMs which contain 100% libre software
(actually, I'm not sure about that; it maybe be gratis software, and
I'm too lazy to look it up since I think the distinction is small in
this instance).

And if you want the highest possible distribution of your software,
why use any copyright at all?  A copyright serves only to restrict
distribution.  By the measure of your paragraph above, copyrights are
bad, period.

 > It is instructive to remember that the purpose for the development of
 > the FPL was not direct public benefit, but rather so that Alladin could
 > charge for some of the rights granted by the GPL but not the FPL.

The freedoms included in the GPL include the ability to profit from
proprietary software using GPL'ed software.  For example, MANY vendors
of proprietary software have included my GPL'ed packet driver
collection in their packages.  The FPL discourages proprietary
software, and encourages libre software.  This is a direct public
benefit, no?

 > In fairness to Aladdin, I should mention that, as I understand it,
 > FPL'ed versions of Aladdin Ghostscript revert to the GPL after a
 > specific amount of time (I forget when exactly), and that conversion
 > is a tremendous contribution to the Libre software pool.

Yes, but that is solely because of a private agreement between Peter
and rms.

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