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[Fsfe-uk] Re: Freedom to take freedom

From: Alex Hudson
Subject: [Fsfe-uk] Re: Freedom to take freedom
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2008 14:43:58 +0000

On Tue, 2008-01-22 at 14:03 +0000, MJ Ray wrote:
> Lee Braiden wrote:
> > You know... with most things in the free software movement, I'm right 
> > there, 
> > in total agreement with Stallman and the FSFE and all.  Sometimes I wonder 
> > though... if we agree in principle that some freedoms (such as the freedom 
> > to 
> > enslave) should not be given, on the basis that they take freedom from 
> > others... then why do we flat-out reject additional restrictions?
> Do we flat-out reject additional restrictions?  As I understand
> the emails from Dave Crossland, it's that Red Hat used the GPLv2
> (which forbids additional restrictions) and then contradicted it
> by adding one, leaving others with no valid licence.  Basic error.

I'm not sure that's correct; GPLv2 only says licensees may not add
additional restrictions (sec. 6). It doesn't talk about the licensor, I
can't think of a way in which Red Hat have "broken" the GPL given they
framed their extension as additional text, not a change to the GPL
itself (hence it's a verbatim copy also). 

While the end result is obviously more restrictive than the GPLv2, I
don't think it's invalid or self-contradictory in anyway - though I'd
love to hear other reasons why. 

> I didn't think additional restrictions were a problem themselves.

I think they are in a couple of ways, the main ones being license
proliferation and unintended side-effects: you can mitigate against
those problems, but it's a sort of "guilty until proven innocent"
situation, if you see what I mean.

I agree with you in general though; additional restrictions (or, better,
more finely-tuned permissions) are not always a bad thing. I suspect in
this case the main issue is the use of the noun "exception" in a way
which makes a native speaker utterly confused. Getting past that
indistinction is the first problem :)



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