Subject: Re: Exploring the limits of free software: Cygnus, and GPL
From: Russell Nelson <nelson@crynwr.com>
Date: 24 May 1999 04:01:40 -0000

Stephen J. Turnbull writes:
 >     John> If they want to give people the option to make my code
 >     John> proprietary, sorry; they'll have to rewrite it.
 > 
 > You should rewrite that sentence.  You cannot make BSD licensed code
 > proprietary, as far as I know.  Not even the copyright holder can, I
 > suspect, at least as a practical matter.  You can, of course, use it
 > as a component (even the whole) of a proprietary product, but the
 > original code is still available to the public.

You can mix proprietary code with BSD licensed code, though.  The
proprietary code is just as viral as the GPL.  If you mix 10%
proprietary code with BSD licensed code, it all becomes proprietary.
If you mix 10% GPLed code with BSD licensed code, it all becomes
GPL'ed.  It's odd how advocates of the BSD license view the latter as
a bug and the former as a feature.

The standard theory of how private property (real estate) is created
is that one mixes their labor with it.  If I take a piece of unowned
property (for example, a piece of swamp which appears on nobody's deed 
in the St. Lawrence County Clerk's office) and mix my labor with it
(by paying the taxes), then it becomes my property.  If I take a piece 
of unowned code (which is what BSD-licensed code effectively is) and
mix my labor with it, it becomes my property.  Proprietary property.

-- 
-russ nelson <rn-sig@crynwr.com>  http://crynwr.com/~nelson
Crynwr supports Open Source(tm) Software| PGPok | Good parenting creates
521 Pleasant Valley Rd. | +1 315 268 1925 voice | an adult, not a perfect
Potsdam, NY 13676-3213  | +1 315 268 9201 FAX   | child.