Subject: Re: Free Software vs. Open Source
Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2002 10:39:10 -0500

Simon Cozens wrote:
> > 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
> > 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

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:

A description from you of exactly what you were facing duplicating:

Your reaction to the thought of having to duplicate this work:

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.)

(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.