Subject: Re: Successful FSBs
From: Rich Morin <>
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 2002 15:30:03 -0700

At 10:36 PM +0100 9/27/02, Simon Cozens wrote:
>Wait! I'm an ORA author. I was asked under what terms I wanted my work to
>be available. There was no coercion. If ORA restricts the IP, it's on my

I didn't say that ORA coerced _you_.  The fact remains, however, that the
vast majority of material published by ORA (and most other publishers) is
copyrighted with "All Rights Reserved".  If Tim gives authors the chance
to make their own decisions, that's great; most publishers don't (I do :-).

>>  So, I don't really accept Tim's assertion.  The FSF's coercion is
>>  pretty tame by comparison to the well-documented predations of M$.
>Again, untrue. The FSF's coercion strategy has changed over the years, but
>the current one is to coerce software projects to license themselves under
>the "GPL version 2.0 or any future versions".

RMS certainly attempts to persuade software authors, by essays, verbal
arm-twisting, etc.  In fact, I have had a number of conversations with
RMS over the years about licensing issues and such.  But he has NEVER
done anything to me that I would characterize as coercion.

>Of course, since the FSF writes any future versions, you're expected to
>license your work in perpetuity to any terms the FSF decides to set in the
>future. That's one hell of a commitment.

Again, it's an entirely voluntary one.  Many authors (apparently) trust in
the good intentions of the FSF and are willing to give them a "proxy" to
keep the license up to date (responding to legal issues, etc.).  But, if
you don't trust the FSF, you don't have to use their license at all, let
alone give them some sort of "blank check" for future licenses.

>You claim the FSF wants to restrict the manner in which their IP gets used.
>This isn't true. They want to restrict the manner in which *your* and *my*
>IP gets used.

What they want isn't the issue; it's what they _do_ that matters.  If they
convince me, through force of argument, that the GPL is the best license
for a particular project, _I_ will make the decision to use it.  Argument
isn't coercion.

>Not even Microsoft stoops so low.

Didn't Microsoft issue a restriction a while back on the kinds of licenses
that developers can use?  IIRC, it basically said "BSD OK; GPL NG"...

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