Subject: Re: Choardic Commons
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen@xemacs.org>
Date: 26 Jun 2002 18:56:00 +0900

>>>>> "Kragen" == Kragen Sitaker <kragen@pobox.com> writes:

    Kragen> I'm sorry --- I was under the mistaken impression that
    Kragen> JXTA was licensed under some variant of the SCSL and was
    Kragen> therefore proprietary software.

And even if it were ...?

Serious question.  Scott et al clearly want free[tm] dissemination of
their products, as much as possible.  There are two strategic
dimensions.  One is working on the "intensive" frontier, ie, having a
consistent licensing policy for a given product which is "as free as
possible."  Ghostscript, ssh, and Berkeley db come to mind as
relatively pure examples of this strategy.  Another is working on the
"extensive" frontier, dividing your products into "truly free" and
"unabashedly proprietary", and working to put more of them in the
"truly free" category.  While the Apache Foundation is clearly about
free software, most members are just as clearly using consortium
membership to divide their free and proprietary activities in a
productive, collaborative way.

I can't agree with Tim's "license is a smokescreen" formulation.[1]
Licensing really does indicate _and implement_ intent, and if the
"source available" software is just a tease with the intent to lock in
the unwary, it's antithetical to free software.  Offering a general
public license is a commitment.  What kind of license is strong
evidence about kind and degree of commitment.

So IMO FSB should be able to work with, and even welcome, those who
have made _real_ commitments to freeing some portion of their product
line, or some aspects of all products, and are working to _extend_
that commitment.

That doesn't mean we have to _like_ the SCSL---of course we should
continue to deprecate it.  Just that to the extent that SCSL users are
(a) moving more software from proprietary/closed to SCSL status or (b)
actively looking for licenses with freer terms that preserve enough of
the commercial advantage of the SCSL to keep them in business, we can
work with them.

The only prerequisite is that if they want to collaborate _on FSB_,
they have to acknowledge that SCSL isn't good enough, it's nowhere
near free[tm] yet, and they should strive for more freedom than that.
Visibly.


Footnotes: 
[1]  I'm not quarreling with his intent.  I just think "smokescreen"
is far too easy to take out of context.

-- 
Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences     http://turnbull.sk.tsukuba.ac.jp
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
 My nostalgia for Icon makes me forget about any of the bad things.  I don't
have much nostalgia for Perl, so its faults I remember.  Scott Gilbert c.l.py