Subject: Re: Free Software vs. Open Source
From: Ben_Tilly@trepp.com
Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2002 10:39:10 -0500


Simon Cozens wrote:
> Ben_Tilly@trepp.com:
> > For example Larry Wall has gone to lengths with Perl to make it clear
> > that he thinks it is fine for people to take what he has given away and
> > use it within proprietary products they resell.  Indeed Larry's beliefs
> > on this are strong enough that the Perl community has had to go well
out
> > of its way to duplicate work that exists in the GPLed world just to
> > avoid being bound by that license.
>
> You are so far off base I don't know whether to collapse in hysterics
> of rage or hysterics of anger.

Off base on which part of what I said?

Am I wrong that Larry Wall has made it clear that it is fine to use his
work within proprietary products that you resell?  Look at section 8 of
the Artistic License which he wrote and he applied to his code:

  8. Aggregation of this Package with a commercial distribution is always
  permitted provided that the use of this Package is embedded; that is,
  when no overt attempt is made to make this Package's interfaces visible
  to the end user of the commercial distribution.  Such use shall not be
  construed as a distribution of this Package.

Seems pretty clear to me.  As for Larry's motivations for doing so, you
will have to ask Larry.  My understanding of that is shaped by
http://www.xray.mpe.mpg.de/mailing-lists/perl5-porters/2000-08/msg01317.html

As for the duplication of work point, my understanding on that was based
on my interpretation of a discussion you were in that made a strong
impression on me.  More on that in a second.

> What next, would you like to claim that FreeBSD has deliberately gone
> "well out of its way" to create a non-GPLed Unix, duplicating work
> that exists in the GPLed world? Would you like to show me a GPLed CPAN
> the we duplicated "just to avoid being bound by that license"?

I suspect that what I meant to communicate and what you read are rather
different statements.  What I meant is that people in the Perl world
have had to do otherwise unnecessary work to avoid licensing issues.  I
did not intend to claim that this work constituted the bulk of Perl, or
even a significant overall portion of Perl.

After a brief search, here are some links to the discussion that I had
tagged with the label, "Perl people have spent energy duplicating work
because of licensing issues."

First evidence that you have had to do extra work:
  http://archive.develooper.com/bootstrap@perl.org/msg00208.html

A description from you of exactly what you were facing duplicating:
  http://archive.develooper.com/bootstrap@perl.org/msg00199.html

Your reaction to the thought of having to duplicate this work:
  http://archive.develooper.com/bootstrap@perl.org/msg00203.html

And my understanding was that this episode was responsible for your
Sapphire project.  To my eyes that is one of the best demonstrations
that I have ever seen of the value of lowering licensing barriers to
code reuse and taking full advantage of open development techniques.
(Anybody who is considering a business model involves dual-licensing
arrangements should read this.)
  http://archive.develooper.com/bootstrap@perl.org/msg00818.html

(Incidentally re-reading that thread I don't find a couple of things
that I thought I misremembered.  I thought that you had duplicated
work for the 5.7 series, but I don't see evidence of that there.)

> You are wrong, completely wrong, and I would urge you to apologise.

If the way I phrased things made it easy to misunderstand my intent, I
apologize for that.  If there are relevant details about this example
that I have misunderstood, then I apologize for that misunderstnading
and would appreciate detailed correction.

However I do not apologize for having described what I understood to be
true, and should I prove to be mistaken about this example, then I would
be happy to instead use examples from other projects.  My underlying
point is definitely true.  There are developers who use non-GPLed
licensing policies, and some of them have demonstrated that they care by
accepting doing extra work rather than changing their licensing.

Cheers,
Ben