Subject: Re: Patent-based dual-licensing open source business model
From: <stephen@xemacs.org>
Date: Fri, 15 Sep 2006 12:37:14 +0900

Thomas Lord writes:

 > It would be nice to begin thinking about vocabulary more carefully.

I have.  A plague on the OSI for commandeering an evocative phrase,
and then defining it redundantly.

 > "Free software" as in "software freedoms" is a pretty abstract ideal
 > originating from certain moral analyses.
 >
 > It isn't the same thing as....
 > 
 > "Software using what the FSF defines to be a free software
 > license," which is what you seem to refer to.

Ah, but it is.  Software is free software if it is distributed under a
licensing regime (ie, the set of licenses applying to all IP rights
necessary to exercise the software freedoms) which is entirely a free
software license, regardless of what other licensing regimes may be in
use.  There is consensus on that, I believe.  A "free software license
as defined by the FSF" (which is different from a "free software
license certified by the FSF") is a license that (at minimum) grants
all of the relevant software freedoms.  There is a rough consensus
among the major players in defining those freedoms (Debian, OSI, RMS).

Larry is not interested in granting those freedoms in their entirety,
at least not with respect to software practicing the claims of his
clients.  He says so explicitly: "this is not a free software
license".  It is a covenant to encourage development of software
practicing the claims ("experimentation, research, and teaching") and
(partially but very usefully) free distribution of that software.

More power to him, I say, and dollars (Canadian) to his client.

N.B.  IMO Ben Tilly is correct about inclusion in Debian main---it
won't happen.  But I hope this software can be included in Debian
non-free.  That may require some work and negotiation on the part of
International Characters.