Subject: Re: Exploring the limits of free software: Cygnus, and GPL
From: Russell Nelson <>
Date: 24 May 1999 12:56:48 -0000

Stephen J. Turnbull writes:
 > >>>>> "rn" == Russell Nelson <> writes:
 >     rn> If I take a piece of unowned code (which is what BSD-licensed
 >     rn> code effectively is) and mix my labor with it, it becomes my
 >     rn> property.  Proprietary property.
 > If you call the police they will arrest and prosecute somebody on your
 > land; but it is you who would be liable for a jail term for false
 > arrest if you convinced the police to do the same with users of the
 > original BSD-licensed code.

Right, well, that's where the analogy breaks down.  It doesn't mean
that the analogy is false, merely that it's just an analogue.

 > The BSD code incorporated in your program is _not_ your property in
 > any normal sense.

Sure it is.  I control who gets a copy of it.  Ownership in the
intellectual property world means control.

This has definite implications for a free software business.  I view a
significant portion of the value of the code I distribute as
advertising.  If someone else gets to restrict that advertising, I

Worse, the BSD license says that I have to acknowledge the source of
the code that I'm using, but it doesn't say that I have to retain the
quality of it.  I don't want someone using my brand on code I haven't

-russ nelson <>
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