Subject: Re: A few here may have an opinion on this
From: Bernard Lang <>
Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 22:00:18 +0200

or to put it another way

Brian's position is in complete opposition with the Bayh-Dole act,
which encourages appropriation of publicly funded research.

Appropriation may be by a private company, or by the GPL community.

The whole idea of the Bayh-Dole act is that more benefits will be
extracted from research if it is appropriated.
  One can well assert that for some software creations, there will be
more contribution and more uses, hence more benefit to the economy if
it is GPLed.

  You cannot have it both way.  GPL is just appropriation by the
public.  Either you encourage/allow appropriation, or you
discourage/disallow it.

   Actually, I do not mind having it both ways, as long as the public
is the winner over private interests (social contract, you know).  But
having a contradiction against the public ... isn't that going a bit


On Wed, Oct 23, 2002 at 11:55:39PM +0500, Benjamin J. Tilly  wrote:
> Brian Behlendorf <> wrote:
> > On Wed, 23 Oct 2002, Benjamin J. Tilly  wrote:
> > >
> > >
> > > A Washington State senator is trying to make it government
> > > policy to not support research that produces GPLed
> > > software because the GPL is a license that "would prevent
> > > or discourage commercial adoption" of technologies.
> > >
> > > Yeah, right.
> > 
> > Everyone knows my biases, but I think there's a pretty reasonable point
> > here.  A "university" license would, in my opinion, be the most
> > appropriate license for government-funded software to be released under.
> > Simply by virtue of being compatible with all other existing licenses,
> > Open Source or not, it makes the software more widely usable, and thus
> > more valuable to society as a whole.  Since a properly-formed university
> > license is compatible with the GPL, it would also not prevent government
> > funds from going to funds that are based on GPL software, for example the
> > Linux kernel.  If I were a senator I'd be tempted to sign onto such
> > legislation.  I'd look very closely, though, for any easter eggs left by
> > software vendors from Washington State.
> This movement is specifically aimed at keeping the
> government from distributing things like its security
> enhancements for the Linux kernel.  There are two issues
> here.
>  1) If the government wants to use open source
>     software, and that software does not meet the
>     government's needs, then it is reasonable for the
>     government to improve that software.
>  2) Governments are better suited than private
>     enterprise to address the tragedy of the commons.
>     Security in particular suffers from this, and
>     actions meant to improve computer security should
>     address popular software, regardless of license.
> Both of these are legitimate public policy concerns which
> make it appropriate for the government to do security
> work on open source projects like Linux and Apache.
> Microsoft doesn't want the government to do this work for
> the obvious reason that it legitimizes competition to
> Microsoft, and does it in an area where they are weak.
> As far as I am concerned, that is Microsoft's problem.
> When Microsoft sells to the government, they undoubtably
> are paid money for a contract that is contingent upon
> certain features being developed.  And the government
> spends money giving private companies - Microsoft
> included - feedback on security issues.  Why are these
> actions OK when a purely private interest (such as
> Microsoft) is the direct recipient of the public
> largess, but not when it is an open source community?
> Cheers,
> Ben
> -- 
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