Subject: Re: EROS license
From: Ian Lance Taylor <>
Date: 28 Jun 1999 21:14:19 -0400

   From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
   Date: Tue, 29 Jun 1999 09:50:14 +0900 (JST)

   Perhaps because they specifically encourage modification and
   redistribution?  That is going to look awfully weird to that
   hypothetical jury; your heirs' and assignees' lawyers are going to
   argue contributory negligence at the very least, whatever the truth
   about the Fred Flintstone patch.

A typical free software license also says something along the lines of
``you didn't pay for this, so you assume all risk.''

   Anyway, it does not matter.  _You_ have license willies that can't be
   justified rationally (nor vice-versa, of course), why can't Jonathan
   (or his lawyer) have a different set of license willies?

I should have known that I would get in trouble with the way I was
arguing.  I don't think I have license willies.  I think my preference
for contributing to non-dual-licensed projects is rationally
defensible given that I must make choices among many projects to which
I could contribute.  In my long response to Russ, I was not discussing
my beliefs so much as I was discussing what people who release open
source packages should consider if they want to encourage
contributions.  I do not concede that anybody has demonstrated that my
feelings about licenses are irrational.

(In case you throw my feelings about the Aladdin license back at me,
I'm going to quote myself from last Wednesday:

>Hmmm, something has gone astray here.  I never meant to say that Peter
>wouldn't publish my hypothetical patch.  I said that it would be
>``non-free and effectively hidden.''  You were correct in objecting to
>``effectively hidden.''  But I believe it would be temporarily
>non-free, and that is all I meant (I should have said something like
>``non-free and effectively, temporarily, useless to the free software
>community'').  You indicated that I could require it to be under the
>GPL, but that is more awkward for all concerned.  Rather than increase
>awkwardness, I would most likely simply not bother to submit the


   You simply
   have to take his worries at face value (he's not going to take your
   advice over his lawyer's, I surely hope not), and construct a license
   that looks like it might address his concerns.

Anyhow, I certainly do agree with this.  However, I am still trying to
understand his worries.  To me it seems as though they apply just as
well to a traditional proprietary license as they do to a free
software license.  Giving anything to anyone incurs a potential
liability; if anything, giving them something for free should if
anything incur less.  I certainly don't see why it should incur more.

The proper conclusion might be to simply not distribute the package; I
don't see why it would be to only distribute it under a proprietary