OpenBSD Journal

Theo Responds to License Modification

Contributed by dwc on from the sharing-is-caring dept.

Theo de Raadt wrote a response (on misc@) to the recent licensing issues.

List:       openbsd-misc
Subject:    That whole "Linux stealing our code" thing
From:       Theo de Raadt
Date:       2007-09-01 1:40:52

[bcc'd to Eben Moglen so that people don't flood him]

I stopped making public statements in the recent controversy because
Eben Moglen started working behind the scenes to 'improve' what Linux
people are doing wrong with licensing, and he asked me to give him
pause, so his team could work.  Honestly, I was greatly troubled by
the situation, because even people like Alan Cox were giving other
Linux developers advice to ... break the law.  And furthermore, there
are even greater potential risks for how the various communities
interact.

For the record -- I was right and the Linux developers cannot change
the licenses in any of those ways proposed in those diffs, or that
conversation (http://lkml.org/lkml/2007/8/28/157).

It is illegal to modify a license unless you are the owner/author,
because it is a legal document.  If there are multiple owners/authors,
they must all agree.  A person who receives the file under two
licenses can use the file in either way....  but if they distribute
the file (modified or unmodified!), they must distribute it with the
existing license intact, because the licenses we all use have
statements which say that the license may not be removed.

Please see the Read More link for the entire message. It's worth your time.

Yes, we're starting at the beginning to get it in one shot, as written. So sue me.

List:       openbsd-misc
Subject:    That whole "Linux stealing our code" thing
From:       Theo de Raadt
Date:       2007-09-01 1:40:52

[bcc'd to Eben Moglen so that people don't flood him]

I stopped making public statements in the recent controversy because
Eben Moglen started working behind the scenes to 'improve' what Linux
people are doing wrong with licensing, and he asked me to give him
pause, so his team could work.  Honestly, I was greatly troubled by
the situation, because even people like Alan Cox were giving other
Linux developers advice to ... break the law.  And furthermore, there
are even greater potential risks for how the various communities
interact.

For the record -- I was right and the Linux developers cannot change
the licenses in any of those ways proposed in those diffs, or that
conversation (http://lkml.org/lkml/2007/8/28/157).

It is illegal to modify a license unless you are the owner/author,
because it is a legal document.  If there are multiple owners/authors,
they must all agree.  A person who receives the file under two
licenses can use the file in either way....  but if they distribute
the file (modified or unmodified!), they must distribute it with the
existing license intact, because the licenses we all use have
statements which say that the license may not be removed.

It may seem that the licenses let one _distribute_ it under either
license, but this interpretation of the license is false -- it is
still illegal to break up, cut up, or modify someone else's legal
document, and, it cannot be replaced by another license because it may
not be removed.  Hence, a dual licensed file always remains dual
licensed, every time it is distributed.

Now I've been nice enough to give Eben and his team a few days time to
communicate inside the Linux community, to convince them that what
they have proposed/discussed is wrong at a legal level.  I think that
Eben also agrees with me that there are grave concerns about how this
leads to problems at the ethical and community levels (at some level,
a ethos is needed for Linux developers to work with *BSD developers).
And there are possibilities that similar issues could loom in the
larger open source communities who are writing applications.

Eben has thus far chosen not to make a public statement, but since
time is running out on people's memory, I am making one.  Also, I feel
that a lot of Linux "relicencing" meme-talkin' trolls basically have
attacked me very unfairly again, so I am not going to wait for Eben to
say something public about this.

In http://lkml.org/lkml/2007/8/29/183, Alan Cox managed to summarize
what Jiri Slaby and Luis Rodriguez were trying to do by proposing a
modification of a Dual Licenced file without the consent of all the
authors.  Alan asks "So whats the problem ?".  Well, Alan, I must
caution you -- your post is advising people to break the law.

I will attempt to describe in simple terms, based on what I have been
taught, how one must handle such licenses:

- If you receive dual licensed code, you may not delete the license
  you don't like and then distribute it.  It has to stay, because you
  may not edit someone's else's license -- which is a three-part legal
  document (For instance: Copyright notice, BSD, followed by GPL).

- If you receive ISC or BSD licensed code, you may not delete the
  license.  Same principle, since the notice says so.  It's the law.
  Really.

- If you add "large pieces of originality" to the code which are valid
  for copyright protection on their own, you may choose to put a different
  and seperate (must be non-conflicting...) license at the top of the file
  above the existing license.

    (Warning: things become less clear as to what the combination of
    licenses mean, though -- there are ethical traps, too).

- If you wish for everyone to remain friends, you should give code back.

  That means (at some ethical or friendliness level) you probably do
  not want to put a GPL at the top of a BSD or ISC file, because you
  would be telling the people who wrote the BSD or ISC file:

     "Thanks for what you wrote, but this is a one-way street, you give
     us code, and we take it, we give you you nothing back.  screw off."

In either case, I think a valuable lessons has been taught us here in
the BSD world -- there are many many GPL loving people who are going
to try to find any way to not give back and share (I will mention one
name: Luis Rodriguez has been a fanatic pushing us for dual licensed,
and I feel he is to blame for this particular problem).  Many of those
same people have been saying for years that BSD code can be stolen,
and that is why people should GPL their code.

Well, the lesson they have really taught us is that they consider the
GPL their best tool to take from us!

GPL fans said the great problem we would face is that companies would
take our BSD code, modify it, and not give back.  Nope -- the great
problem we face is that people would wrap the GPL around our code, and
lock us out in the same way that these supposed companies would lock
us out.  Just like the Linux community, we have many companies giving
us code back, all the time.  But once the code is GPL'd, we cannot get
it back.

Ironic.

I hope some people in the GPL community will give that some thought.
Your license may benefit you, but you could lose friends you need.
The GPL users have an opportunity to 'develop community', to keep an
ethic of sharing alive.

If the Linux developers wrap GPL's around things we worked very hard
on, it will definately not be viewed as community development.

Thank you for thinking about this.

[I ask that one person make sure that one copy of this ends up on the
linux kernel mailing list]

(Comments are closed)


  1. By openbsd user () on

    Am I dreaming ? What is the GCC ? G++ ? and more ? Not giving what ? Money ? I think things are off track here. Theo check the copyright on most of your programming books. Check the origin of BSD. That all started before you were born. Look if you want to operate a business and you fear the GPL don't shoot it down. I don't see Stallman living the "rich" life. Do you ? I think once you sell out it is over.

    Go watch web-O-vision at tomgreen.com and chill out my friend.

    Rod Ross (you can find me if you want me )

    1. By Adam Karim (archite) on

      Please take a moment and review http://www.openbsd.org/policy.html before trolling. If you would like assistance in understanding this, I would be happy to explain to you OpenBSD's copyright policy as well as copyright law.

      The matter is not who gave money to whom; OpenBSD is not a business. I know of no OpenBSD developer living the "rich life." Do you have any facts to the contrary or are you just making blind accusations? Do you think that attacking the BSD community makes the GPL look better? Do you think that unlawfully stealing BSD code which could have been used legally makes the GPL a much more feasible solution for businesses that are thinking of going Open Source?

      I'm not trying to start a flame war, which it appears you are. All I would like to do is clear up the facts for you. Have a good one.

      > Am I dreaming ? What is the GCC ? G++ ? and more ? Not giving what ? Money ? I think things are off track here. Theo check the copyright on most of your programming books. Check the origin of BSD. That all started before you were born. Look if you want to operate a business and you fear the GPL don't shoot it down. I don't see Stallman living the "rich" life. Do you ? I think once you sell out it is over.
      >
      > Go watch web-O-vision at tomgreen.com and chill out my friend.
      >
      > Rod Ross (you can find me if you want me )

      1. By openbsd user () on

        Hi Adam,
        > Please take a moment and review http://www.openbsd.org/policy.html before trolling. If you would like assistance in understanding this, I would be happy to explain to you OpenBSD's copyright policy as well as copyright law.
        >
        > The matter is not who gave money to whom; OpenBSD is not a business.


        I am sorry but I disagree with you here. Please tell me what classification openbsd falls under ? Even a public trust is a business and must keep books.

        >I know of no OpenBSD developer living the "rich life." Do you have any >facts to the contrary or are you just making blind accusations?


        I never said OpenBSD developers were living the rich life. I was just making it clear that the heads within the fsf are not getting rich. My statement was not directed toward OpenBSD developers but rather to make a point that Stallman is not living a "rich" life but rather is more concerned with social issues see his political notes web page on his personal web site.


        >Do you think that attacking the BSD community makes the GPL look >better?


        I am part of the BSD user community. I have been using a Unix form of OS since my first computer was an AT&T 3B-1.


        >Do you think that unlawfully stealing BSD code which could have been >used legally makes the GPL a much more feasible solution for businesses >that are thinking of going Open Source?
        >


        My point was not to endorse stealing anything. And I think stealing is a very strong word. I wrote to Stallman more than a year ago when I read on one of the mailing lists where Theo was critical of the GPL. Stallman had nothing but praise for the Newer BSD licenses. He did not shoot it down. This is why I don't understand Theo taking the stance he is. If someone is "breaking the law" that is one thing but to extenuate that the GPL is the bad guy when it is just a license is wrong.

        > I'm not trying to start a flame war, which it appears you are. All I would like to do is clear up the facts for you. Have a good one.

        I am sorry if you feel I was trying to cause trouble. I simply am saddened that Theo would draw a line like he has because I don't see the GPL or BSD licenses as evil. Is this really what Theo thinks that Stallman and others with him think they would say ? This is what Theo said they might say:

        "Thanks for what you wrote, but this is a one-way street, you give
        us code, and we take it, we give you you nothing back. screw off."

        Again I think that personal emails such as these belong off this site. I did not write his email and so why should I read it here ? I think that once one man has more voice than the sum of the group then problems arise.

        You know the GPL is just a license not a group. And personally I have no problem with it. I also have no problems with the BSD license. I just hope that the law breakers will stop breaking the law. But we must remember that most all code has been written into even text books from which it was first learned and those books are copyrighted.

        Take Care....
        Cheers,
        Rod Ross

    2. By Anonymous Coward () on

      > Am I dreaming ? What is the GCC ? G++ ? and more ? Not giving what ? Money ? I think things are off track here. Theo check the copyright on most of your programming books. Check the origin of BSD. That all started before you were born. Look if you want to operate a business and you fear the GPL don't shoot it down. I don't see Stallman living the "rich" life. Do you ? I think once you sell out it is over.
      >
      > Go watch web-O-vision at tomgreen.com and chill out my friend.
      >
      > Rod Ross (you can find me if you want me )

      hmm, 1 link to ./
      2 break out the asbestos underwear

    3. By Can Acar () canacar@ on

      > Am I dreaming ? What is the GCC ? G++ ? and more ? Not giving what ?
      > Money ? I think things are off track here. Theo check the copyright on
      > most of your programming books. Check the origin of BSD. That all
      > started before you were born. Look if you want to operate a business
      > and you fear the GPL don't shoot it down. I don't see Stallman living
      > the "rich" life. Do you ? I think once you sell out it is over.

      Try to read it again and again (and again) try to understand.
      This is not an attack on GPL.
      This has nothing to do with money or fear either.

      This is about people who think they can change the copyright on a work to suit their needs. It is not legal, unless you add some significant contributions to make it a "derivative work" deserving a copyright of its own. Even when you can do it, it is not nice.

      Do read it again. Also notice the lack of the mention specific licenses in the above paragraph. Once people get used to deleting licenses, it does not matter whether it is BSD or GPL or MPL or whatever.

      1. By Graeme () on http://moneyterms.co.uk/

        > Do read it again. Also notice the lack of the mention specific licenses
        > in the above paragraph. Once people get used to deleting licenses, it
        > does not matter whether it is BSD or GPL or MPL or whatever.

        1) If I understand correctly, this is about dual BSD/GPL2 licensed code. Clause 1 of GPL2 gives permission to redistribute under GPLv2 provided that the GPL license and no warranty files are included.

        In other words, by dual licensing you are explicitly giving permission to distribute under GPL2 only.

        Of course whether doing that is the right thing to do is another matter!

        2) Can someone explain why the BSD is more restrictive of distribution of source than of binary distribution? What is the advantage of doing this?

        3) I had thought you could combine (other people's) GPL and BSD licensed code? How does this work when the GPL does not allow additional restrictions, and the BSD imposes some, so how do they mix?

    4. By Otto Moerbeek (otto) on http://www.drijf.net

      > Am I dreaming ? What is the GCC ? G++ ? and more ? Not giving what ? Money ? I think things are off track here. Theo check the copyright on most of your programming books. Check the origin of BSD. That all started before you were born. Look if you want to operate a business and you fear the GPL don't shoot it down. I don't see Stallman living the "rich" life. Do you ? I think once you sell out it is over.
      >
      > Go watch web-O-vision at tomgreen.com and chill out my friend.
      >
      > Rod Ross (you can find me if you want me )

      This is not about money. This is about sharing being a two-way process.

      If code that started with a BSD licence would become GPL-only code, (via the dual-license route), it would hinder out ability to take changes back. If the code remains dual-licensed, there is no such problem.

      Apart from that, it's illegal to change the license without consent from ALL the authors.

      1. By Tim Massingham () on

        >
        > This is not about money. This is about sharing being a two-way process.
        >
        But that isn't what the BSD licence is about. It is not about guaranteeing
        sharing, it is about guaranteeing attribution. If your intention is to
        guarantee that code is shared, you should really be using a different licence.

        1. By Otto Moerbeek (otto) on http://www.drijf.net

          > >
          > > This is not about money. This is about sharing being a two-way process.
          > >
          > But that isn't what the BSD licence is about. It is not about guaranteeing
          > sharing, it is about guaranteeing attribution. If your intention is to
          > guarantee that code is shared, you should really be using a different licence.

          Well there's two side to it: indeed, one is the legal thing, and that is indeed to be known as the author.

          The other is more an attitude/moral thing.

          I give you something under a simple condition. You can of course go and do what you like with it as long as you adhere to that condition. But still, the intent is to make it possible to share things without hassle. The BSD license does that with as little strings attached as possible.

        2. By Anonymous Coward () on

          > >
          > > This is not about money. This is about sharing being a two-way process.
          > >
          > But that isn't what the BSD licence is about. It is not about guaranteeing
          > sharing, it is about guaranteeing attribution. If your intention is to
          > guarantee that code is shared, you should really be using a different licence.

          You are right, but you're missing the point. The GPL folks have taken bits of BSD licensed code, adding bits which are GPLed and are then saying: here world, have at our code.... except for you (pointing at the BSD folk), you can't have anything back.

          1. By Anonymous Coward () on


            > You are right, but you're missing the point. The GPL folks have taken bits of BSD licensed code, adding bits which are GPLed and are then saying: here world, have at our code.... except for you (pointing at the BSD folk), you can't have anything back.

            Not only that, but they're being self-rightious about it, they're bragging about how they're giving their code for free, when in many cases they barely contributed to the codebase itself.

          2. By Tim Massingham () on Tim Massingham

            > > >
            > > > This is not about money. This is about sharing being a two-way process.
            > > >
            > > But that isn't what the BSD licence is about. It is not about guaranteeing
            > > sharing, it is about guaranteeing attribution. If your intention is to
            > > guarantee that code is shared, you should really be using a different licence.
            >
            > You are right, but you're missing the point. The GPL folks have taken bits of BSD licensed code, adding bits which are GPLed and are then saying: here world, have at our code.... except for you (pointing at the BSD folk), you can't have anything back.

            But if a company took the BSD source, altered it and sold the the result under
            a commercial licence, it would be okay? I agree that the GPL folks are acting
            selfishly, but I don't think the BSD folks have a right to be offended about
            trapping the modifications under a difference licence, only that attribution has
            been removed. These threads seem to imply that the failure to sharing the
            modifications is the issue.

            1. By Deanna Phillips (deanna) on

              > I don't think the BSD folks have a right to be offended about
              > trapping the modifications under a difference licence, only that attribution has
              > been removed. These threads seem to imply that the failure to sharing the
              > modifications is the issue.

              The legal part is clear: they've attempted to break the law. But the ethical side is not so black and white. Of course they *can* do what they want with their code additions, but wouldn't you expect better from people who claim to be about sharing and good will? We have every right to be offended when people take advantage of us.

              1. By Anonymous Coward () on

                > The legal part is clear: they've attempted to break the law.

                For the BSD/MIT only licensed files, yes. For the dual licensed files, no.

                1. By Anonymous Coward () on

                  > > The legal part is clear: they've attempted to break the law.
                  >
                  > For the BSD/MIT only licensed files, yes. For the dual licensed files, no.

                  They relicensed the code without consulting the copyright holder. The situation is the same, in one its the BSD License, in the other its the Dual "Leffler" BSD/GPL License. Both were illegally removed.

                  1. By Anonymous Coward () on

                    > They relicensed the code without consulting the copyright holder. The situation is the same, in one its the BSD License, in the other its the Dual "Leffler" BSD/GPL License. Both were illegally removed.

                    The original file states that it can be relicensed under the GPLv2 provided that the terms of the GPL are met.

                    1. By Can Acar () canacar@ on

                      > > They relicensed the code without consulting the copyright holder. The situation is the same, in one its the BSD License, in the other its the Dual "Leffler" BSD/GPL License. Both were illegally removed.
                      >
                      > The original file states that it can be relicensed under the GPLv2 provided that the terms of the GPL are met.

                      No the original files stated that it can be _distributed_ under GPLv2
                      only the author has the right to change the license.

                      1. By Anonymous Coward () on

                        > > The original file states that it can be relicensed under the GPLv2 provided that the terms of the GPL are met.
                        >
                        > No the original files stated that it can be _distributed_ under GPLv2
                        > only the author has the right to change the license.

                        Yes, and the GPLv2 states that you can freely distribute modifications of the program as long as you comply with the terms of the GPLv2.

              2. By Anonymous Coward () on

                > > I don't think the BSD folks have a right to be offended about
                > > trapping the modifications under a difference licence, only that attribution has
                > > been removed. These threads seem to imply that the failure to sharing the
                > > modifications is the issue.
                >
                > The legal part is clear: they've attempted to break the law. But the ethical side is not so black and white. Of course they *can* do what they want with their code additions, but wouldn't you expect better from people who claim to be about sharing and good will? We have every right to be offended when people take advantage of us.
                >

                You are aware that they did, actually, release the changes to their code, under a free license? Nothing they've done is in any way contrary to the concept of "sharing and good will", so far as I can determine the only bad will being displayed here is by a group ALREADY IMPLICATED IN MORE SERIOUS COPYRIGHT VIOLATIONS (as in, did more than just post a proposed diff to a mailing list) who are conducting a smear campaign against a rival free software project the license of which they happen to be hysterically against.

    5. By Anonymous Coward () on

      > Am I dreaming ? What is the GCC ? G++ ? and more ? Not giving what ? Money ? I think things are off track here. Theo check the copyright on most of your programming books. Check the origin of BSD. That all started before you were born. Look if you want to operate a business and you fear the GPL don't shoot it down. I don't see Stallman living the "rich" life. Do you ? I think once you sell out it is over.
      >
      > Go watch web-O-vision at tomgreen.com and chill out my friend.
      >
      > Rod Ross (you can find me if you want me )

      I've read your reply, but I still fail to see your point. If as you say you are a BSD user then I'm sure you've come across Theo's prose before. This is as diplomatic as it gets. (Not criticism, Theo's stringent beliefs help provide the OS that you and I are free to use, or not.)

      For that matter RMS/FSF are not the same as Torvalds, Cox et al. AFAIK, RMS has not much to do with Linux kernel devel. All in all, RMS and Theo, though they go about it in different ways, actually want the same thing, Free Software.

      I very much doubt the people who designed the GPL intended it to enable licensing lock-in preventing the sharing of code between FOSS 'factions', it seems to me it was designed to prevent 'commercial' vendor appropriation. Which, whatever else you may think, has a certain logic to it.

      However, as demonstrated in this case, this seems to have hit a paradox when dealing with other FOSS licensing. And devolved into zeal and paranoia (anything non-GPL'ed is evil and open to subversion by lurking vendors.) Does anyone seriously believe atheros are going to appropriate partially functional reverse-engineered code? Right.

      The way I see it, the dual-licensing was intended as a courtesy to the GPL camp. To see Cox miss the point is somewhat scary, to be clear Jiri relicensed not only his changes but ALSO prior code. That's both illegal and not very nice, since it will prevent the original authors merging potentially useful changes.

      I'm looking forward to the FSF position on this.

  2. By openbsd user () on

    Hi Adam,

    > Please take a moment and review http://www.openbsd.org/policy.html before trolling. If you would like assistance in understanding this, I would be happy to explain to you OpenBSD's copyright policy as well as copyright law.
    >
    > The matter is not who gave money to whom; OpenBSD is not a business.


    I am sorry but I disagree with you here. Please tell me what classification openbsd falls under ? Even a public trust is a business and must keep books.

    >I know of no OpenBSD developer living the "rich life." Do you have any >facts to the contrary or are you just making blind accusations?


    I never said OpenBSD developers were living the rich life. I was just making it clear that the heads within the fsf are not getting rich. My statement was not directed toward OpenBSD developers but rather to make a point that Stallman is not living a "rich" life but rather is more concerned with social issues see his political notes web page on his personal web site.


    >Do you think that attacking the BSD community makes the GPL look >better?


    I am part of the BSD user community. I have been using a BSD form of OS since my first computer was an AT&T 3B-1.


    >Do you think that unlawfully stealing BSD code which could have been >used legally makes the GPL a much more feasible solution for businesses >that are thinking of going Open Source?
    >


    My point was not to endorse stealing anything. And I think stealing is a very strong word. I wrote to Stallman more than a year ago when I read on one of the mailing lists where Theo was critical of the GPL. Stallman had nothing but praise for the Newer BSD licenses. He did not shoot it down. This is why I don't understand Theo taking the stance he is. If someone is "breaking the law" that is one thing but to extenuate that the GPL is the bad guy when it is just a license is wrong.

    > I'm not trying to start a flame war, which it appears you are. All I would like to do is clear up the facts for you. Have a good one.

    I am sorry if you feel I was trying to cause trouble. I simply am saddened that Theo would draw a line like he has because I don't see the GPL or BSD licenses as evil. Is this really what Theo thinks that Stallman and others with him think they would say ? This is what Theo said they might say:

    "Thanks for what you wrote, but this is a one-way street, you give
    us code, and we take it, we give you you nothing back. screw off."

    Again I think that personal emails such as these belong off this site. I did not write his email and so why should I read it here ? I think that once one man has more voice than the sum of the group then problems arise.

    You know the GPL is just a license not a group. And personally I have no problem with it. I also have no problems with the BSD license. I just hope that the law breakers will stop breaking the law. But we must remember that most all code has been written into even text books from which it was first learned and those books are copyrighted.

    Take Care....
    Cheers,
    Rod Ross

    1. By Jason G () on

      > Hi Adam,
      >
      > > Please take a moment and review http://www.openbsd.org/policy.html before trolling. If you would like assistance in understanding this, I would be happy to explain to you OpenBSD's copyright policy as well as copyright law.
      > >
      > > The matter is not who gave money to whom; OpenBSD is not a business.
      >
      >
      > I am sorry but I disagree with you here. Please tell me what classification openbsd falls under ? Even a public trust is a business and must keep books.


      From a financial perspective, OpenBSD == Theo. There is a reason why donation cheques are required to be made out in his name.

      The implications of this include not being able to have many corporate and governmental entities give donations because their bylaws/regulations/internal practices require cash to flow between corporate parties, not from a corporate party to an individual. There is a reason we cogitated so much on how to put a front-end (now the OpenBSD Foundation) on the OpenBSD project. Yes, there have been hoops to jump through in order to get things put into more structure, but this effort is certainly an unintended consequence of the fork from NetBSD over a decade ago.

      Some developers have received money or gifts-in-kind over the years. Some of these have been paid by Theo, others through various 3rd parties direct to the developer. The point is that, other than a few circumstances, the developers are almost always 100% volunteers receiving no form of compensation from Theo or OpenBSD. They MAY be receiving compensation AS A RESULT OF their affiliation with OpenBSD through their daytime job or through some direct user donations.

    2. By Stephen Samuel () on http://www.bcgreen.com

      > Hi Adam, > I am part of the BSD user community. I have been using a BSD form of OS since my first computer was an AT&T 3B-1. The 3B1 ran AT&T system V . ... It was not a BSD system, AT&T did steal a lot of BSD code, rip out the BSD copyrights and put it into SYSV unacknowledged (rather like the instant scandal)
      The cute thing about that stunt is that, when AT&T sued Berkley over (I think it was) FreeBSD, the Berkley lawyers were able to point to all of the purloined code in the SYSV code base, and the AT&T lawyers were ultimately forced to quietly walk away with their tail held low (though not quite between their legs).

      > My point was not to endorse stealing anything. And I think stealing is a very strong word. I wrote to Stallman more than a year ago when I read on one of the mailing lists where Theo was critical of the GPL. Stallman had nothing but praise for the Newer BSD licenses. He did not shoot it down. This is why I don't understand Theo taking the stance he is. If someone is "breaking the law" that is one thing but to extenuate that the GPL is the bad guy when it is just a license is wrong.

      I think that Theo's main point was simply that taking BSD code, ripping off the BSD license and replacing it with any other license is not legal without the permission of the owners of the code. The BSD license is compatible with the GPL license, so there's no reason why the Linux kernel writers couldn't have simply used the BSD code as-is and left the license intact.

      I think that what the Linux coders did was, at best, a huge mistake.

      The simple point of the BSD license is that, while developers using BSD code in their projects are not required to release the source code back to the community, if they do, they are required to release it with the BSD license intact. If they got snarky about it, they could probably keep the BSD code under the BSD license and put the other code under some other random license .... but that's just a make-work project for lawyers.

      1. By Anonymous Coward () on

        > I think that Theo's main point was simply that taking BSD code, ripping off the BSD license and replacing it with any other license is not legal without the permission of the owners of the code.

        But he's not talking about BSD code. He's talking about code that the author permits to be redistributed under the BSD license _or_ the GPL.

  3. By dingo () on

    What if ssh were gpl licensed?

    Scary, isn't it?

    1. By Martin Schröder () martin@oneiros.de on http://www.oneiros.de

      > What if ssh were gpl licensed?

      Such a beast exists: http://www.lysator.liu.se/~nisse/lsh/ :-{

  4. By Tom Brown () on

    I'm just an observer here, with no axe to grind on either the GPL or the BSD side, but it seems to me that the proponents of the GPL do so in the interest of freedom. The goal is to share with others in the community any changes that are made for the benefit of all. This laudable goal is at odds with the business model of proprietary software. But, if removing the BSD half of a dual license is acceptable, how is it that these GPL proponents are any better than the proprietary software vendors they're criticizing?

    IMHO, if they do not wish to give their changes back to the BSD community, they shouldn't use the dual licensed code in the first place. They should write their own, from scratch. IANAL, so I don't know if changing the license is legal or not, but it certainly isn't the right thing to do. If somebody's willing to gave you a hand up, you don't respond by smacking them in the face afterwards.

    I know there is a lot of bad blood between BSD and GPL programmers, but the change that was made to the license was just wrong on so many levels. Those on both sides need to acknowledge that fact, and move on in an amicable fashion.

  5. By Anonymous Coward () on

    From http://lkml.org/lkml/2007/8/28/157 - if I understand this correctly, he basically took 'free' code (BSD) and made it 'semi-free' code (GPL) and by removing the BSD clause, he's trying to take all the credit too???

    What's wrong with this guy? Has he no ethical morals and respect for others work? Has he not taken a shower in months?

    http://lkml.org/lkml/2007/8/29/183 - Alan is no better, IMO...

  6. By Andrés Delfino () adelfino@gmail.com on

    http://www.openbsd.org/cgi-bin/cvsweb/~checkout~/src/usr.bin/sendbug/sendbug.c?rev=1.50&content-type=text/plain

    /*
    * Written by Ray Lai <ray@cyth.net>.
    * Public domain.
    */

    Lovely.

    1. By Anonymous Coward () on

      What's your point?

      1. By Anonymous Coward () on

        > What's your point?

        they're part of the 'public domain is better than any of your licenses' group that has been popping up on here recently.

        1. By gwenhwyfaer () on

          > > What's your point?
          >
          > they're part of the 'public domain is better than any of your licenses' group that has been popping up on here recently.

          *sigh* Is there no human opinion whatsoever that someone won't cart off, build a religion around, and start abusing "heathens" in the name of...?

    2. By clvrmnky () on

      > http://www.openbsd.org/cgi-bin/cvsweb/~checkout~/src/usr.bin/sendbug/sendbug.c?rev=1.50&content-type=text/plain
      >
      > /*
      > * Written by Ray Lai <ray@cyth.net>.
      > * Public domain.
      > */
      >
      > Lovely.

      Oh come on. Some code is so simple and basic that it ought to be public domain.

      As the author of a work you are *allowed* to place things in the public domain, which is where many copyrighted works will end up eventually, anyway.

      Unless you are trying to make some other point, in which case perhaps you should try to communicate more clearly?

  7. By Anonymous Coward () on

    This simple question cuts to the heart of the matter: do you believe you cannot use dual GPL/BSD licensed code in closed source binaries without releasing the source? Because that's the obvious implication if you believe that for dual licensed code you must satisfy the conditions of both licenses. Think about this, this would make dual licensed code more restrictive than either GPL or BSD licensed code.

    1. By Anonymous Coward () on

      > This simple question cuts to the heart of the matter: do you believe you cannot use dual GPL/BSD licensed code in closed source binaries without releasing the source? Because that's the obvious implication if you believe that for dual licensed code you must satisfy the conditions of both licenses. Think about this, this would make dual licensed code more restrictive than either GPL or BSD licensed code.

      The pair of licences must remain, but depending on the terms of the licence (the wording in each case makes a difference), you may comply with one licence or all licences.

      The actual heart of the matter is if you can remove the licence that you're not complying with, and the answer is no, you didn't make that software, so you don't have the right to remove the licence, only the original licencer can do so.

      1. By Anonymous Coward () on

        > The actual heart of the matter is if you can remove the licence that you're not complying with, and the answer is no, you didn't make that software, so you don't have the right to remove the licence, only the original licencer can do so.

        That's nonsense because there's no actual law to back that. You can in fact change or cut out the text of any license of in any source file you encounter, and nobody can sue you for for "modifying a license" or "changing a legal document" or some other make-believe law that Theo invented on the spot. If you disagree, feel free to cite the appropriate law. The only thing that you can and will be sued for is *copyright infringement*.

        Now if the wording of a dual licensed source code is such that you can copy and modify the file, provided that you (A) keep the the attribution and the wording of license (A) or *alternatively* (B) keep the source available if you distribute binaries, then you're free to cut out the entire text of (A) in any modifications you make. If you disagree with that, think carefully about what you could be sued for if you do that.

        1. By Anonymous Coward () on

          > If you disagree, feel free to cite the appropriate law. The only thing that you can and will be sued for is *copyright infringement*.

          It's called copyright, it gives rights to people, only specific rights. But, a licence goes with the copyrighted item, a licence is a legal document, the violation you're pretending doesn't exist is called tampering.

          Tampering with legal documents is illegal, in what I am pretty sure is every country I have ever heard of.

          1. By Anonymous Coward () on

            > > If you disagree, feel free to cite the appropriate law. The only thing that you can and will be sued for is *copyright infringement*.
            >
            > It's called copyright, it gives rights to people, only specific rights. But, a licence goes with the copyrighted item, a licence is a legal document, the violation you're pretending doesn't exist is called tampering.
            >
            > Tampering with legal documents is illegal, in what I am pretty sure is every country I have ever heard of.

            Pretend for a minute that I when ahead and did just that. That is, pretend we have a file which states that I can modify and distribute it provided that (A) I retain attribution and clause (A), or alternatively (B) that I must provide the source code and retain clause (B). Now pretend that I went ahead and deleted (A) in my modified file. What would you sue me for? Which "tampering with legal documents" law do you believe is appropriate here?

            1. By Jason G () on

              > > > If you disagree, feel free to cite the appropriate law. The only thing that you can and will be sued for is *copyright infringement*.
              > >
              > > It's called copyright, it gives rights to people, only specific rights. But, a licence goes with the copyrighted item, a licence is a legal document, the violation you're pretending doesn't exist is called tampering.
              > >
              > > Tampering with legal documents is illegal, in what I am pretty sure is every country I have ever heard of.
              >
              > Pretend for a minute that I when ahead and did just that. That is, pretend we have a file which states that I can modify and distribute it provided that (A) I retain attribution and clause (A), or alternatively (B) that I must provide the source code and retain clause (B). Now pretend that I went ahead and deleted (A) in my modified file. What would you sue me for? Which "tampering with legal documents" law do you believe is appropriate here?
              >

              You guys are arguing over an example that is too simplistic, as it would likely never be challenged. While correct, at least be pragmatic.

              In a real-world example, terms and conditions are typically wrapped up in a signed contract document which puts additional terms and conditions in place over and above license terms in a file header (a.k.a. will involve both parties agreeing that certain terms will supercede others).

              1. By Anonymous Coward () on

                > You guys are arguing over an example that is too simplistic, as it would likely never be challenged. While correct, at least be pragmatic.
                >
                > In a real-world example, terms and conditions are typically wrapped up in a signed contract document which puts additional terms and conditions in place over and above license terms in a file header (a.k.a. will involve both parties agreeing that certain terms will supercede others).

                But Theo and others in this thread appear to be think that in this simplistic case they actually have a case for a lawsuit, so I'm curious about exactly which law they think has been actually violated.

                1. By Jason G () on

                  > > You guys are arguing over an example that is too simplistic, as it would likely never be challenged. While correct, at least be pragmatic.
                  > >
                  > > In a real-world example, terms and conditions are typically wrapped up in a signed contract document which puts additional terms and conditions in place over and above license terms in a file header (a.k.a. will involve both parties agreeing that certain terms will supercede others).
                  >
                  > But Theo and others in this thread appear to be think that in this simplistic case they actually have a case for a lawsuit, so I'm curious about exactly which law they think has been actually violated.


                  Oh, for Christ's sake, there will be no lawsuit. Do you guys live in the real world?

                  IANAL but why is everyone focusing on Copyright Law? When you use someone else's licensed software, YOU ARE ENTERING A CONTRACT.

                  The offer is the use of the software. The term is the license. Using the software is the acceptance of the terms.

                  1. By Jason G () on

                    > > > You guys are arguing over an example that is too simplistic, as it would likely never be challenged. While correct, at least be pragmatic.
                    > > >
                    > > > In a real-world example, terms and conditions are typically wrapped up in a signed contract document which puts additional terms and conditions in place over and above license terms in a file header (a.k.a. will involve both parties agreeing that certain terms will supercede others).
                    > >
                    > > But Theo and others in this thread appear to be think that in this simplistic case they actually have a case for a lawsuit, so I'm curious about exactly which law they think has been actually violated.
                    >
                    >
                    > Oh, for Christ's sake, there will be no lawsuit. Do you guys live in the real world?
                    >
                    > IANAL but why is everyone focusing on Copyright Law? When you use someone else's licensed software, YOU ARE ENTERING A CONTRACT.
                    >
                    > The offer is the use of the software. The term is the license. Using the software is the acceptance of the terms.
                    >

                    Replying to myself... more specifically, I have the offer and the acceptance reversed.

                    It should be:

                    The ability to use is an invitation to treat.
                    The offer is from the user to accept the license terms in order to use the software
                    The acceptance is implied from the owner of the software that the user will adhere to the terms.

                    1. By Anonymous Coward () on

                      > > Oh, for Christ's sake, there will be no lawsuit. Do you guys live in the real world?
                      > >
                      > > IANAL but why is everyone focusing on Copyright Law? When you use someone else's licensed software, YOU ARE ENTERING A CONTRACT.
                      > >
                      > > The offer is the use of the software. The term is the license. Using the software is the acceptance of the terms.
                      > >
                      >
                      > Replying to myself... more specifically, I have the offer and the acceptance reversed.
                      >
                      > It should be:
                      >
                      > The ability to use is an invitation to treat.
                      > The offer is from the user to accept the license terms in order to use the software
                      > The acceptance is implied from the owner of the software that the user will adhere to the terms.


                      Ok, now I'm seeing your code and I just ignore everything in the comments, which includes all your license jibberish. In fact, I have software that strips it off automatically. What are you going to sue me for? Breach contract, the terms of which I've never even seen, let alone agree to? No, for copyright infringement, of course.

                      1. By Anonymous Coward () on

                        > > > Oh, for Christ's sake, there will be no lawsuit. Do you guys live in the real world?
                        > > >
                        > > > IANAL but why is everyone focusing on Copyright Law? When you use someone else's licensed software, YOU ARE ENTERING A CONTRACT.
                        > > >
                        > > > The offer is the use of the software. The term is the license. Using the software is the acceptance of the terms.
                        > > >
                        > >
                        > > Replying to myself... more specifically, I have the offer and the acceptance reversed.
                        > >
                        > > It should be:
                        > >
                        > > The ability to use is an invitation to treat.
                        > > The offer is from the user to accept the license terms in order to use the software
                        > > The acceptance is implied from the owner of the software that the user will adhere to the terms.
                        >
                        >
                        > Ok, now I'm seeing your code and I just ignore everything in the comments, which includes all your license jibberish. In fact, I have software that strips it off automatically. What are you going to sue me for? Breach contract, the terms of which I've never even seen, let alone agree to? No, for copyright infringement, of course.


                        Don't you think it's plausible that the terms of the contract could also be the copyright license terms?

                        Do you not think that it's beyond the realm of the lawyers to mess with the legal terms so that they could be one and the same for multiple applications?

                        If it's only a copyright notice in many licenses, then why are disclaimers of warranty, liability, etc included?

                        Is it beyond comprehension that most legal language is meant to defend the rights of the creator AND to offer a large degree of tactics to "strongly encourage" people who find value in the work and want to use it adhere to the terms, or at least make an effort to find a mutually-beneficial arrangement? You have to remember that the vast majority of violations never make it to proceedings because a solution is found beforehand. To encourage expediency is the point. While going after a person for breach of contract may be pointless, it is possible to imply that someone has broken both a contract and a copyright simultaneously. "The terms of the contract were that you had to adhere to the terms of the copyright." Most people served with this type of notice would probably get wide eyes. Those who wanted to validate the legal stance and get into "playing the game" and that is going to come at the expense of money, time and attention/distraction.

                        Map this into the world of commercial software... are you going to be sued for copyright infringement or contract breach? Contract breach, most certainly.

                        What happens if you use a binary distribution with the clear "as-is" disclaimer (but have access to the open source but didn't choose to look at it) and it ruins your company and you come back and try to sue me for damages? My strongest defense is to say that you didn't adhere to the terms of the contract which is that the software isn't warrantied and is as-is. Those were the terms. I don't need to have a signed letter indicating that you agree.

                        So given that all lawyers aren't self-serving and narrow, is it possible that the terms of some software licenses are such that they are succinct enough to be used to make an academic argument that they can apply without or with minimal modifications to both copyright and contract law?

                        Don't get me wrong... I don't see anyone actually putting up the dollars to gnash out the miniscule details in front of a court. The whole point is to avoid all this wrangling beforehand and to get back to productive work. Who actually wants to take something the full term to court? Only the lawyers benefit from that. Just about everyone else loses.

                        1. By Jason G () on

                          So I decided to make a few general inquiries to people smarter than me...

                          Paraphrasing:

                          You can't use the upholding of public law as consideration. Ok, mea culpa.

                          Prior to 1989, there are implications with copyrighted works and some of the notice requirements.

                          Clever wording of terms could put some parties at distinct advantages (or disadvantages, as the case may be). Subtle wording changes can turn a benign document into a weapon (or vice-versa) or can change the intent entirely.

                          Clever wording of terms could create a contract, but then the argument of proving the existence of the contract for one party or another comes into play.


                          Then the clincher comments:

                          "Is this a software-related thing?" I'm asked. "Because computer guys seem to kick up more of a stink about this stuff. And they can't seem let it go."

                          I'll publically retract my initial statement about creating a contract from the copyright terms (or at least, based on the terms everyone believes they're parsing in their heads). I will still stand by the arguments that a huge (and unnecessary) waste of time and resources occurs when battles like GPL vs. BSD licensing crop up and that twisting words can have significant implications if people aren't paying attention.

                          And last piece of 3rd party commentary:

                          "If there was any question at any time about the interpretation of the wording, why didn't they just ask a lawyer first instead of plowing ahead? Did they think they were going to save some time and money because this has clearly eaten up thousands of man-hours of time and value already and there's no hard conclusion yet. And given what you've told me about past interactions from 2 entrenched camps, a flare-up should have been a reasonably foreseeable implication."





                          1. By Anonymous Coward () on

                            > "If there was any question at any time about the interpretation of the wording, why didn't they just ask a lawyer first instead of plowing ahead? Did they think they were going to save some time and money because this has clearly eaten up thousands of man-hours of time and value already and there's no hard conclusion yet. And given what you've told me about past interactions from 2 entrenched camps, a flare-up should have been a reasonably foreseeable implication."


                            Well, Theo has apparently asked the FSF lawyer about it, but decided he didn't want to wait for his interpretation, but just post whatever he thought about it himself :)

                    2. By gwenhwyfaer () on

                      > > IANAL but why is everyone focusing on Copyright Law? When you use someone else's licensed software, YOU ARE ENTERING A CONTRACT.

                      > The ability to use is an invitation to treat.
                      > The offer is from the user to accept the license terms in order to use the software
                      > The acceptance is implied from the owner of the software that the user will adhere to the terms.

                      Where's the consideration?

    2. By Aminorex () akobj@southoftheclouds.net on

      "Dual licensed" is not very well defined. It can mean one of (a) conjunctive or (b) exclusive disjunctive license combinations. If the dualism is conjunctive then the most restrictive construction applies. If the dualism is exclusive disjunctive, then each licensor must (albeit perhaps implicitly) select one or the other license, but they cannot flip between them at their convenience: Once the usage has determined the license which was implicitly selected, the terms of that license control the case.

    3. By Anonymous Coward () on

      > This simple question cuts to the heart of the matter: do you believe you cannot use dual GPL/BSD licensed code in closed source binaries without releasing the source? Because that's the obvious implication if you believe that for dual licensed code you must satisfy the conditions of both licenses. Think about this, this would make dual licensed code more restrictive than either GPL or BSD licensed code.

      no, of course you can, as long as you provide the 'NO WARRANTY' warranty or copyright notice or whatever is required by that particular variant of BSD/ISC/etc. You have met your obligations under the BSDL as the license ("Dual License") requires. This does not invalidate the requirement to include the full text of the dual license as you received it in your distribution. The license you choose to distribute the code under (if you do choose to) does not affect the requirement to keep that license intact (unless you are the copyright holder).

      1. By Anonymous Coward () on

        > > This simple question cuts to the heart of the matter: do you believe you cannot use dual GPL/BSD licensed code in closed source binaries without releasing the source? Because that's the obvious implication if you believe that for dual licensed code you must satisfy the conditions of both licenses. Think about this, this would make dual licensed code more restrictive than either GPL or BSD licensed code.
        >
        > no, of course you can, as long as you provide the 'NO WARRANTY' warranty or copyright notice or whatever is required by that particular variant of BSD/ISC/etc. You have met your obligations under the BSDL as the license ("Dual License") requires. This does not invalidate the requirement to include the full text of the dual license as you received it in your distribution. The license you choose to distribute the code under (if you do choose to) does not affect the requirement to keep that license intact (unless you are the copyright holder).

        "include the full text of the dual license in the source" that is

        1. By Anonymous Coward () on

          > no, of course you can, as long as you provide the 'NO WARRANTY' warranty or copyright notice or whatever is required by that particular variant of BSD/ISC/etc. You have met your obligations under the BSDL as the license ("Dual License") requires.

          Then as long as you meet the requirements of the GPLv2, you can modify the file as you wish, which includes stripping out any non-GPL requirements.


          > This does not invalidate the requirement to include the full text of the dual license as you received it in your distribution. The license you choose to distribute the code under (if you do choose to) does not affect the requirement to keep that license intact (unless you are the copyright holder).
          >
          > "include the full text of the dual license in the source" that is

          Please cite the actual law to back up this "requirement". Oh, wait, you can't, because there isn't any.

    4. By Anonymous Coward () on

      > This simple question cuts to the heart of the matter: do you believe you cannot use dual GPL/BSD licensed code in closed source binaries without releasing the source? Because that's the obvious implication if you believe that for dual licensed code you must satisfy the conditions of both licenses. Think about this, this would make dual licensed code more restrictive than either GPL or BSD licensed code.

      How is that surprising?

      Dual licensed code has presumably two authors, and to satisfy both of them.

      If the first line is written by someone who believes in GPL code, and the second in BSD code, alternating, till the end. How would you tell which one's restrictions can be dropped? You can't, BOTH restrictions have to be met. The only way to (ethically) remove restrictions is to clean-room reimplement the code.

      So if it was possible, having a three or four license mix, would be more restrictive than 2, etc... You slice the same pie of freedom into more slices, each piece is smaller.

      1. By Anonymous Coward () on

        > How is that surprising?
        >
        > Dual licensed code has presumably two authors, and to satisfy both of them.

        Dual licensed code can be written by one author, where he stipulates that the file may be redistributed under the BSD license, or alternativly under the GPL. Presumably someone who wants to fork a branch can opt to do so under GPL-only or BSD-only at his own discretion.

        1. By benoitc () on

          > > How is that surprising?
          > >
          > > Dual licensed code has presumably two authors, and to satisfy both of them.
          >
          > Dual licensed code can be written by one author, where he stipulates that the file may be redistributed under the BSD license, or alternativly under the GPL. Presumably someone who wants to fork a branch can opt to do so under GPL-only or BSD-only at his own discretion.
          >
          >

          Is this difficult to understand . You should keep the dual license terms in the file. So dual license could continue to exist and be applied to the code in the file. You add some parts under another license, just add your license if it comply with others licenses in the file. This is what a license or any copyright law is designed for. If you removed dual license terms how could it continue to exist ? ....

          1. By Anonymous Coward () on

            > Is this difficult to understand . You should keep the dual license terms in the file. So dual license could continue to exist and be applied to the code in the file. You add some parts under another license, just add your license if it comply with others licenses in the file. This is what a license or any copyright law is designed for. If you removed dual license terms how could it continue to exist ? ....

            Actually, no. Sam Leffner, the author of one of the dual licensed files has spoken up, and stated that he explicitly allows it to be made GPL-only:

            http://uwsg.indiana.edu/hypermail/linux/kernel/0709.0/0159.html

  8. By Stig Kristiansen () stig@srk-holding.com on

    IANAL: But what Theo de Raadt wrote here got to be the biggest pseudo legal bullshit I have ever read.

    As I said I'm not a lawyer but I spoken with our company's lawyers about this (the legal firm is specializing in copyright, brand and patent law) and this is basically what they told me:

    There is nothing in the law that prevents you from removing one of the licenses (either BSD or (L)GPL) from a dual licensed work.

    The only thing the law prevents you from - is to copy someones else's work without a license (any license will do), hence the word copyright.

    If the author(s) said, preferably in writing somewhere, that you can use either of the licenses then that is fine and just what you can do.

    Which means if you use the choose the GPL license you have to live with the consequences (must open source derivative works).

    On the other hand if you choose the BSD you can ignore the GPL and even use the product in a commercial closed source program. But then you cannot remove the license from any source files and have to reproduce it somewhere in a binary distribution (manual, about-box, readme or similar). This is because the BSD license require you to do so to give credit to the original authors, NOT because any law tells you to.

    Please note that the law does not require you to follow the BSD license or any other specific license, it only require you to have a valid license to copy the work in question. This means you are only bound by the license in order to copy the work and if the author offers the choice between multiple licenses where you can choose one, then you can completely ignore any other.

    If Mr. Theo De Raadt can produce any law text or references to legal precedents that says other ways I would really like to hear about it.

    Going a bit off on a tangent:

    Mr. Theo also writes:

    <quote>
    That means (at some ethical or friendliness level) you probably do
    not want to put a GPL at the top of a BSD or ISC file, because you
    would be telling the people who wrote the BSD or ISC file:

    "Thanks for what you wrote, but this is a one-way street, you give
    us code, and we take it, we give you you nothing back. screw off."
    </quote>

    Well guess what, that is EXACTLY what the BSD license allows you to do. It is even by design.

    The only thing the BSD license requires, is that you give credit to whoever wrote the original stuff. You can even close source a derivative work like Microsoft did with their TCP/IP stack. Guess where they lifted that from the day they discovered they needed one. Hint the credit is in a text file on the setup CD's, at least it used to be in Windows 2000.

    The fact is that this was exactly what the writers of the BSD license had in mind, they obviously meant that source code is only free if you can do whatever you damn well please with it. The GPL guys disagreed and created the GPL.

    If you cannot live with the consequences of your choice of source code license please choose another one and stop bitching about it! The GPL was in fact created to address that fact among other things.

    Mr. Theo de Raadt seems to be quite ignorant about both the licenses he writes about and copyright law in general.

    Best regards,
    Stig R Kristiansen

    1. By Ray Percival (sng) on http://undeadly.org/cgi?action=search&sort=time&query=sng

      > The only thing the BSD license requires, is that you give credit to whoever wrote the original stuff. You can even close source a derivative work like Microsoft did with their TCP/IP stack. Guess where they lifted that from the day they discovered they needed one. Hint the credit is in a text file on the setup CD's, at least it used to be in Windows 2000.

      Of course, the thing that started all the trouble is that they ripped the block giving credit out. The rest is just about being nice and playing well with others. I find it very interesting that everything said here is basically "well you picked a license that lets them fuck you over so don't cry when they do". Yeah, everybody knows this and nobody's bitching about it. Just pointing out that folks who claim to be all about "freedom" and "ethics" and "morals" are fucking others over. Sure they have the right to. Still doesn't make it right.

      But in this case he went ahead and did the one thing that he's not allowed to do.

      1. By Ray Percival (sng) on http://undeadly.org/cgi?action=search&sort=time&query=sng

        > > The only thing the BSD license requires, is that you give credit to whoever wrote the original stuff. You can even close source a derivative work like Microsoft did with their TCP/IP stack. Guess where they lifted that from the day they discovered they needed one. Hint the credit is in a text file on the setup CD's, at least it used to be in Windows 2000.
        >
        > Of course, the thing that started all the trouble is that they ripped the block giving credit out. The rest is just about being nice and playing well with others. I find it very interesting that everything said here is basically "well you picked a license that lets them fuck you over so don't cry when they do". Yeah, everybody knows this and nobody's bitching about it. Just pointing out that folks who claim to be all about "freedom" and "ethics" and "morals" are fucking others over. Sure they have the right to. Still doesn't make it right.
        >
        > But in this case he went ahead and did the one thing that he's not allowed to do.
        >

        And, yes, it's lame to respond to myself. But I forgot.

        Reyk's stuff was NEVER dual licensed.

        1. By Anonymous Coward () on

          > > > The only thing the BSD license requires, is that you give credit to whoever wrote the original stuff. You can even close source a derivative work like Microsoft did with their TCP/IP stack. Guess where they lifted that from the day they discovered they needed one. Hint the credit is in a text file on the setup CD's, at least it used to be in Windows 2000.
          > >
          > > Of course, the thing that started all the trouble is that they ripped the block giving credit out. The rest is just about being nice and playing well with others. I find it very interesting that everything said here is basically "well you picked a license that lets them fuck you over so don't cry when they do". Yeah, everybody knows this and nobody's bitching about it. Just pointing out that folks who claim to be all about "freedom" and "ethics" and "morals" are fucking others over. Sure they have the right to. Still doesn't make it right.
          > >
          > > But in this case he went ahead and did the one thing that he's not allowed to do.
          > >
          >
          > And, yes, it's lame to respond to myself. But I forgot.
          >
          > Reyk's stuff was NEVER dual licensed.

          It's not as lame as Stig Kristiansen at all.

          Why do people start talking like this anyway? "He sucks" "He's dumb" bla bla bla....

          How should we determine the truth? Should Theo sue Alan Cox for spreading *bullshit* course of missunderstandings? A law case would be for sure a way to finaly find it out but I personaly think that writing a mail to remind people to plain facts is a better way.

          Theo said he gave them time to discuss about this issue but it's taking too long. I wouldn't know if I would be that "friendly" at all of ir I would have simply sued those guys 'course talking about it always rises the problems of Morons who just say/comment something because they dislike "me" personaly and not because they don't angree with my point of view.

          Theo may should realy consider to simlly sue those guys but then it would become like world war one and the community would finaly "splitt" into GPL and BSD lovers.

          I hope this speeds up the removement of GPL'ed code in the base system.
          But that's a personaly wish 'course chances are good that people get pissed off about GPL'ed code right now. :)

          1. By Steven () on

            > > > > The only thing the BSD license requires, is that you give credit to whoever wrote the original stuff. You can even close source a derivative work like Microsoft did with their TCP/IP stack. Guess where they lifted that from the day they discovered they needed one. Hint the credit is in a text file on the setup CD's, at least it used to be in Windows 2000.
            > How should we determine the truth? Should Theo sue Alan Cox for spreading *bullshit* course of missunderstandings? A law case would be for sure a way to finaly find it out but I personaly think that writing a mail to remind people to plain facts is a better way.
            >
            I think calmer heads on both sides are working to avoid a law suit. Despite what some people claim, Theo appears to be one of those calmer heads.

            > Theo said he gave them time to discuss about this issue but it's taking too long. I wouldn't know if I would be that "friendly" at all of ir I would have simply sued those guys 'course talking about it always rises the problems of Morons who just say/comment something because they dislike "me" personaly and not because they don't angree with my point of view.
            >
            It demonstrates a measure of Theo's character and personal strength, I'd say. The fact that Theo, the supposed hothead, is rationally facing hotheaded outbursts and personal umberages, has a certain ironic satisfaction.

            Note: I said rationally, not calmly as the two are _not_ necessarily inclusive. Still, Theo does appear to be keeping his temper in control.

            > Theo may should realy consider to simlly sue those guys but then it would become like world war one and the community would finaly "splitt" into GPL and BSD lovers.
            >
            Let's hope not. Despite their differences, the open-source community is comprised primarily of GNU/Linux users, with *BSD users somewhere in second place. If the open-source community were reduced to nothing but $LICENSE-zealots, we might see the likes of Theo, Linus, et el leaving in disgust.

            Then who'd use the software?

            > I hope this speeds up the removement of GPL'ed code in the base system.

            That's a lot of extra work for our favorite O/S's devs for a very small return. I think most of the GPL'd stuff works well enough. Just because some people are asses and abuse licenses just to promote their own agendas is probably a poor reason to rip out the GPL'd code without a suitable replacement on hand.

            > But that's a personaly wish 'course chances are good that people get pissed off about GPL'ed code right now. :)

            Again, though I'm not a GPL fan, I hope not as it'd only hurt the community at large. Still, if it does the GPL zealots only have themselves to blame.

            I'm not counting on it, but I'm hoping that more reasonable people in the GPL camp prevail and can put a stop to this nonsence.

      2. By Anonymous Coward () on

        > Of course, the thing that started all the trouble is that they ripped the block giving credit out.

        Which is permitted if you copy and modify a file under the GPL. Since the text of the dual licensed files was that you can copy and modify the file under the BSD license, or *alternatively* under the GPL I don't see what the problem is. Someone chose to distribute a modification of the file under the terms of the GPL, which does not contain the restriction that the BSD attribution must remain. Others may modify and distribute the file under the terms of the BSD license and distribute it in binary-only form, and cut out the GPL.

        * Note, all this only pertains the dual-licensed files. For the BSD (or MIT) only files, the attribution clause must obviously remain.

        1. By Ray Percival (sng) on http://undeadly.org/cgi?action=search&sort=time&query=sng

          > > Of course, the thing that started all the trouble is that they ripped the block giving credit out.
          >
          > Which is permitted if you copy and modify a file under the GPL. Since the text of the dual licensed files was that you can copy and modify the file under the BSD license, or *alternatively* under the GPL I don't see what the problem is. Someone chose to distribute a modification of the file under the terms of the GPL, which does not contain the restriction that the BSD attribution must remain. Others may modify and distribute the file under the terms of the BSD license and distribute it in binary-only form, and cut out the GPL.
          >
          > * Note, all this only pertains the dual-licensed files. For the BSD (or MIT) only files, the attribution clause must obviously remain.

          Ignoring the legal question. What I've been told and read says that you're wrong but we're not qualified to argue that and, because of that, it's a pointless argument.

          Do you really think that when somebody has given their code freely and the only thing they ask is that you leave in a copyright notice giving them credit for writing it that it's right and good to rip that out? Note that this isn't a legal question. This is a question about morals and ethics. Something even a selfish bastard like me groks.

          1. By Anonymous Coward () on

            > Do you really think that when somebody has given their code freely and the only thing they ask is that you leave in a copyright notice giving them credit for writing it that it's right and good to rip that out? Note that this isn't a legal question. This is a question about morals and ethics. Something even a selfish bastard like me groks.

            No, that's wrong, both legally and ethically. However, if someone has given up their code freely and they allow you to modify and distribute it provided that (A) You retain the attribution and clause (A) or *alternatively* (B) You provide the source code whenever you distribute binaries and retain clause (B), then I believe it's ethically and legally OK if you
            - sell a closed source binary without providing the source, but do retain the attribution
            - modify and distribute the file in source form while only retaining clause (B)

            1. By Ray Percival (sng) on http://undeadly.org/cgi?action=search&sort=time&query=sng

              > > Do you really think that when somebody has given their code freely and the only thing they ask is that you leave in a copyright notice giving them credit for writing it that it's right and good to rip that out? Note that this isn't a legal question. This is a question about morals and ethics. Something even a selfish bastard like me groks.
              >
              > No, that's wrong, both legally and ethically. However, if someone has given up their code freely and they allow you to modify and distribute it provided that (A) You retain the attribution and clause (A) or *alternatively* (B) You provide the source code whenever you distribute binaries and retain clause (B), then I believe it's ethically and legally OK if you
              > - sell a closed source binary without providing the source, but do retain the attribution
              > - modify and distribute the file in source form while only retaining clause (B)
              >
              >

              That's a fairly fucked up world view. But OK. At least you're honest about not giving a shit about other's wishes.

              Also. Bear in mind that Reyk's code was NOT dual licensed. So even you agree that what was done there was wrong.

              1. By Anonymous Coward () on

                > That's a fairly fucked up world view. But OK. At least you're honest about not giving a shit about other's wishes.

                Why do you think it's a fucked up world view if the author explicitly states that he's OK with either option?


                > Also. Bear in mind that Reyk's code was NOT dual licensed. So even you agree that what was done there was wrong.

                Which is why I wrote that it only pertains the dual licensed files. Changing the BSD/MIT only licenses files is obviously wrong, but that's not what Theo is talking about here, is it?

              2. By Michael T. Babcock () mtb-bsd@mikebabcock.ca on http://mikebabcock.ca/code

                > > No, that's wrong, both legally and ethically. However, if someone has given up their code freely and they allow you to modify and distribute it provided that (A) You retain the attribution and clause (A) or *alternatively* (B) You provide the source code whenever you distribute binaries and retain clause (B), then I believe it's ethically and legally OK if you
                > > - sell a closed source binary without providing the source, but do retain the attribution
                > > - modify and distribute the file in source form while only retaining clause (B)
                > >
                > That's a fairly fucked up world view. But OK. At least you're honest about not giving a shit about other's wishes.

                That's why the GPL exists, in case you didn't think about it that long before. GPL people don't want the possibility of these things happening to their code so they use a more restrictive license that prevents restrictions on others' freedom at the expense of one's own.

                The BSD license allows this type of unethical silliness, but since it does so explicitly, its hard to really justify calling it unethical, isn't it?

                1. By Ray Percival (sng) on http://undeadly.org/cgi?action=search&sort=time&query=sng

                  > > > No, that's wrong, both legally and ethically. However, if someone has given up their code freely and they allow you to modify and distribute it provided that (A) You retain the attribution and clause (A) or *alternatively* (B) You provide the source code whenever you distribute binaries and retain clause (B), then I believe it's ethically and legally OK if you
                  > > > - sell a closed source binary without providing the source, but do retain the attribution
                  > > > - modify and distribute the file in source form while only retaining clause (B)
                  > > >
                  > > That's a fairly fucked up world view. But OK. At least you're honest about not giving a shit about other's wishes.
                  >
                  > That's why the GPL exists, in case you didn't think about it that long before. GPL people don't want the possibility of these things happening to their code so they use a more restrictive license that prevents restrictions on others' freedom at the expense of one's own.
                  >
                  > The BSD license allows this type of unethical silliness, but since it does so explicitly, its hard to really justify calling it unethical, isn't it?

                  This is why the convo is pointless. Ah well. I tried.

          2. By Anonymous Coward () on

            >
            > Do you really think that when somebody has given their code freely and
            > the only thing they ask is that you leave in a copyright notice giving
            > them credit for writing it that it's right and good to rip that out?

            Not a single copyright attribution was ever removed, only the BSD-like part of license was (removed).

    2. By Epine () on

      > IANAL: But what Theo de Raadt wrote here got to be the biggest pseudo legal bullshit I have ever read.
      >
      > As I said I'm not a lawyer but I spoken with our company's lawyers about this (the legal firm is specializing in copyright, brand and patent law) and this is basically what they told me:

      If lawyers had such a capacity to clearly explain this contraption they have created known as law, the rest of us clever monkeys would not be permanently ambered in IANAL-purgatory-hell.

      In this case we are talking about license text embedded into the work in question. In most cases the desired statement in writing from the author of the work that a license can be applied is incorporated into the program header as a pre-amble to the license itself. Or does that preamble in this case become melded with the license itself, or worse, does the license itself reference back to the pre-ample under the scope of what must remain intact? The problem with law--the reasons we wish to drown them all--is that every time you seek advice, from a different lawyer or even the same lawyer, is that you get a massively different spin on the same legal "facts". Hence the IANAL disclaimer meme. There is some special handshake involved in promulgating never-the-same-answer-twice that is excluded to the uninitiated. If the answer would stay put, we could safely repeat it without applying the IANAL meme. But it never does.

      Theo claims to represent an opinion on the matter of practical courses of action with respect to the law related to him by Eben Moglen. I hope Eben chooses to speak out on this in his own words. I think Theo is using the word illegal in the colloquial sense of a course of action that could get you into hot water. If the fuel boiling the caudron happens to be the copyright act, I don't think that particularly matters until the water is near to roiling. I don't think a tidbit of first-principles insight into the copyright act renders Theo's second-hand portrayal of Eben's position (who understands this precise context better than anyone) into pseudo-legal twaddle. Nor do I think Theo wishes to put himself into a situation where Eben goes on record saying "Theo distorted my positions out of all recognition". Theo's version is twaddle becausely because of the IANAL effect: any second hand account of the law is twaddle.

      What a great racket.

    3. By rmg () on http://rmgraham.blogspot.com/

      > IANAL: But what Theo de Raadt wrote here got to be the biggest pseudo legal bullshit I have ever read.
      >
      > As I said I'm not a lawyer but I spoken with our company's lawyers about this (the legal firm is specializing in copyright, brand and patent law) and this is basically what they told me:

      Please go back to these lawyers and tell them that the licenses in question both have clauses that state, in no uncertain terms, that the license must be distributed with the works in question.

      Now ask them what they think.

      ~Ryan

      1. By Anonymous Coward () on

        > Please go back to these lawyers and tell them that the licenses in question both have clauses that state, in no uncertain terms, that the license must be distributed with the works in question.
        >
        > Now ask them what they think.
        >
        > ~Ryan

        Yes, and the text in between those two licenses states that you can choose under which of the two sets of conditions you wish to redistribute modifications. Again, I pose this question: do you believe you are allowed to redistribute binary-only derivations of these dual-licensed files?

        1. By rmg () on http://rmgraham.blogspot.com/

          > Yes, and the text in between those two licenses states that you can choose under which of the two sets of conditions you wish to redistribute modifications. Again, I pose this question: do you believe you are allowed to redistribute binary-only derivations of these dual-licensed files?

          "dual-licensed" is used in a few different ways.. for the case where there is a choice between 2 licenses like you imply, all copyright holders first have to agree. If that is all true, then yes, you can distribute it under the BSD license and include the copyright notice and disclaimer in an about dialog or some such.

          In the case of this software though, there isn't consensus by all the copyright holders on the terms of the licensing. A point Theo covers. In this case, both licenses have to be followed.

          ...I've got more to say, but I already said it on my blog the other day, and I don't feel like quoting or paraphrasing it all.

          1. By Stig R Kristiansen () stig@srk-holding.com on

            >In this case, both licenses have to be followed.

            That would be more like a composite license than dual license. It would also raise the interesting question about which license counts on points where they are not compatible.

            If the authors really messed up this bad that they didn't agree on dual licensing as in you can choose either of them then this source code was fubared license wise long before this issue.

    4. By Jason G () on

      > IANAL: But what Theo de Raadt wrote here got to be the biggest pseudo legal bullshit I have ever read.
      >
      > As I said I'm not a lawyer but I spoken with our company's lawyers about this (the legal firm is specializing in copyright, brand and patent law) and this is basically what they told me:


      Ask your lawyers how many companies they believe are shipping products with code that is inappropriately licensed (knowingly or unknowingly) but continue to ship because they understand inherently that, even in the event of a legal booboo, the costs of rectifying the issue are much smaller than the revenue made through the sale of the products. That is, if a lawsuit is ever filed.

      Ask your lawyers about the reasoning behind so few wireless drivers being shipped with source code.

      Ask your lawyers if it is a reasonable possibility that vendors have been refusing to ship anything other than binary blobs or pre-compiled kernel drivers is because many vendors are infringing on other vendors' patents and intellectual property rather than trying to safeguard their own.

      I want to know if you actually spoke with a lawyer for more than 6 minutes (the standard 1/10th of an hour billing interval) about licensing or if you've actually sat down and had a few hours of their time and this was a written legal opinion. I've had both forms of discussion and the one where I was on the hook for thousand worth of billable time has a decidedly different outcome and position than the 6-minute commentary from the armchair.

      The same types of outcomes occur for my own clients. A few minutes of analysis is significantly different than a full design package with stamped and signed engineering drawings and associated narrative. The cost is also proportionate.

    5. By wtf? () on

      Time to get some new lawyers, I think yurs are broken. Okay, lets refresh:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BSD_license

      The part I'm interested in is:

      <begin copy/paste>
      Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without
      modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:
      * Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
      <end>

      So, when your lawyers said it's okay to remove the license, did they read this or did they find some form of loop hole that said they could? No, really, I'm interested in this.

      Brendan

      1. By Anonymous Coward () on

        > Time to get some new lawyers, I think yurs are broken. Okay, lets refresh:
        >
        > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BSD_license
        >
        > The part I'm interested in is:
        >
        > <begin copy/paste>
        > Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without
        > modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:
        > * Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
        > <end>
        >
        > So, when your lawyers said it's okay to remove the license, did they read this or did they find some form of loop hole that said they could? No, really, I'm interested in this.
        >
        > Brendan

        Yes, we all agree that you cannot remove the BSD conditions from BSD-only files, but that's not what Theo is talking about. The dual licensed files say that you can alternatively modify and distribute it under the terms of the GPL, and the GPL does not require you to retain the BSD clauses.

        1. By Anonymous Coward () on

          >
          > Yes, we all agree that you cannot remove the BSD conditions from BSD-only files, but that's not what Theo is talking about. The dual licensed files say that you can alternatively modify and distribute it under the terms of the GPL, and the GPL does not require you to retain the BSD clauses.

          The reason the files are Dual Licensed in the first place is because the version of the BSD License used by Sam Leffler is NOT compatible with the GPL ('obnoxious advertising clause')

          Yes, you can modify the code under the terms of the GPL, but that doesn't imply that you can modify the terms of the license. If you make enough modifications to the code where you feel you can add your copyright to the file and license your modifications under the GPL, part of the original license allows you to do that. So you put your GPL license block at the top with your copyright and then include the original copyrights and license (the dual license, not the BSDL or GPL exclusively) prefaced by a description as to what part of the code they cover. The code as a whole is now distributable under the GPL and some portion of it remains distributable under the Dual License. In fact instead of the GPL you could use any license to which either the BSDL or GPL is compatible.

          1. By Anonymous Coward () on

            > Yes, you can modify the code under the terms of the GPL, but that doesn't imply that you can modify the terms of the license.

            But the original file also stipulates the conditions under which you *can* modify the terms of the license.

      2. By Anonymous Coward () on

        > Time to get some new lawyers, I think yurs are broken. Okay, lets refresh:
        >
        > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BSD_license
        >
        > The part I'm interested in is:
        >
        > <begin copy/paste>
        > Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without
        > modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:
        > * Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
        > <end>
        >
        > So, when your lawyers said it's okay to remove the license, did they read this or did they find some form of loop hole that said they could? No, really, I'm interested in this.
        >
        > Brendan

        Try reading what I wrote once more and read the whole thing this time.

        That part of the BSD license only apply *IF* you copy and redistribute the work under the BSD license.

        The discussion is about dual licensed work where you can choose to redistribute under either the BSD *or* the GPL. If you choose the GPL license then it does not matter a flying f**k what the BSD license says.

  9. By Anonymous Coward () on

    Dual licensed files:
    I don't know how many times it has to be repeated, but the point of dual-licensing is that you can follow either one. If one requires you to do action A, and the other requires action B that is fine. You are not required to keep both simultaneously, or it would be pointless. Therefore regardless of what you may say, or ethically appeal to the license allows you to choose a license, and by extension, because one of those licenses doesn't permit extra terms(GPL), therefore you can remove the BSD license. This is not tampering but following of the license(s)!

    Non-dual licensed files:
    These must remain under a BSD license, quite simply. These files should be marked and rewritten if necessary under the GPL, or the original copyright owners could relicense the files as being under both licenses(BSD & GPL).

    BTW: It seems that Theo doesn't read comments, and that the community is a bunch of flamers and it is quite lame. I'm never trying OpenBSD, because I really don't want to get involved in idiotic repetitious nuttery. It seems like a publicity stunt at best, but now I'm never going to contribute financially to OpenBSD, because I'm not giving money to closed-minded illiterates.

    BTW, the title in Slashdot is deceiving and the description, he didn't think about the issue and give a well-informed response, he just repeated his ignorance.

    Bye forever

    1. By Anonymous Coward () on

      Are you retarded? You don't need everything to be under the GPL you spunk bucket. There is no need to rewrite something that is BSD so you can have a GPL version, quite the opposite.

      You can add the GPL to BSD code, you just can't remove the BSD from it after that, that's what all the fuss is about, it's illegal to remove a licence from code unless you originally put the damned licence there, or have direct permission from the original licencer.

      Christ, how hard is this for you to understand?

      1. By Anonymous Coward () on

        > Are you retarded? You don't need everything to be under the GPL you spunk bucket. There is no need to rewrite something that is BSD so you can have a GPL version, quite the opposite.
        >
        > You can add the GPL to BSD code, you just can't remove the BSD from it after that, that's what all the fuss is about, it's illegal to remove a licence from code unless you originally put the damned licence there, or have direct permission from the original licencer.
        >
        > Christ, how hard is this for you to understand?
        >
        You proved my key point about people just repeating non-nonsensical gibberish, because this has already been discussed in the comments of both this and other threads and isn't worth responding to. The GPL doesn't allow additional terms, which includes keeping a BSD copyright notice, but the GPL can be used exclusively as can the BSD license. To be in compliance to this license, you must remove the BSD license. Both cannot be kept simultaneously in this case. This is referring to dual-licensed code, or course.

        1. By Anonymous Coward () on

          > You proved my key point about people just repeating non-nonsensical gibberish, because this has already been discussed in the comments of both this and other threads and isn't worth responding to. The GPL doesn't allow additional terms, which includes keeping a BSD copyright notice, but the GPL can be used exclusively as can the BSD license. To be in compliance to this license, you must remove the BSD license. Both cannot be kept simultaneously in this case. This is referring to dual-licensed code, or course.

          "dual licensed" code is not licensed under either the GPL or the BSDL (in this case), it is licensed under the "Dual License" which allows you to pick your set of terms. Removing part of the license block is relicensing, which neither license "requires" and is not allowed by someone other than the copyright holders. The BSD license (the modified form without the 'obnoxious advertising clause') is not incompatible with the GPL (feel free to check with the FSF if you don't believe me: http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/index_html#ModifiedBSD ) and code licensed in that way has been included in GPLed projects (including the Linux kernel). The reason Sam Leffler dual-licensed his code is his version of the BSD license DOES include the 'obnoxious advertising clause' and is therefore GPL-incompatible.

      2. By Anonymous Coward () on

        > Are you retarded? You don't need everything to be under the GPL you spunk bucket. There is no need to rewrite something that is BSD so you can have a GPL version, quite the opposite.
        >
        > You can add the GPL to BSD code, you just can't remove the BSD from it after that, that's what all the fuss is about, it's illegal to remove a licence from code unless you originally put the damned licence there, or have direct permission from the original licencer.
        >
        > Christ, how hard is this for you to understand?
        >
        The permission to remove the BSD license was granted when the original copyright owner granted a dual-license(I'm speaking of only those parts of the code that do), because in doing so, he allowed people to follow the GPL. By granting permission to follow the GPL, which, if followed, doesn't permit extra licensing terms, which would include the BSD, the original copyright owner gave direct permission to remove the BSD license for licensors who chose to use the GPL in lieu of the BSD license.

        1. By Anonymous Coward () on

          > > Are you retarded? You don't need everything to be under the GPL you spunk bucket. There is no need to rewrite something that is BSD so you can have a GPL version, quite the opposite.
          > >
          > > You can add the GPL to BSD code, you just can't remove the BSD from it after that, that's what all the fuss is about, it's illegal to remove a licence from code unless you originally put the damned licence there, or have direct permission from the original licencer.
          > >
          > > Christ, how hard is this for you to understand?
          > >
          > The permission to remove the BSD license was granted when the original copyright owner granted a dual-license(I'm speaking of only those parts of the code that do), because in doing so, he allowed people to follow the GPL. By granting permission to follow the GPL, which, if followed, doesn't permit extra licensing terms, which would include the BSD, the original copyright owner gave direct permission to remove the BSD license for licensors who chose to use the GPL in lieu of the BSD license.
          >

          Author! Author!

          1. By Anonymous Coward () on

            > Author! Author!

            The author has already given permission to relicense the work, provided the conditions of the GPL are met:

            "Alternatively, this software may be distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License ("GPL") version 2 as published by the Free Software Foundation."

            1. By Anonymous Coward () on

              > > Author! Author!
              >
              > The author has already given permission to relicense the work, provided the conditions of the GPL are met:
              >
              > "Alternatively, this software may be distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License ("GPL") version 2 as published by the Free Software Foundation."
              >
              >

              Distributed != relicensed

      3. By celtic_hackr () on

        > Are you retarded? You don't need everything to be under the GPL you spunk bucket. There is no need to rewrite something that is BSD so you can have a GPL version, quite the opposite.
        >
        > You can add the GPL to BSD code, you just can't remove the BSD from it after that, that's what all the fuss is about, it's illegal to remove a licence from code unless you originally put the damned licence there, or have direct permission from the original licencer.
        >
        > Christ, how hard is this for you to understand?
        >
        Exactly! Allowing a person to choose to use a piece of code under the GPL, you have specifically given that person the option to not use the BSD license. Have you ever read, I mean really read to the point of understanding the GPL?
        By dual licensing, you give a person the option to choose which license to use. Unless there is something in the licensing that states you may choose to use one, but must redistribute with both. Which would by it's mere fact void the possibility of using the GPL and thus defeat the idea of dual licensing. Personally, I don't see how you can realistically release code under both licenses simultaneously.

        1. By Anonymous Coward () on

          > > Are you retarded? You don't need everything to be under the GPL you spunk bucket. There is no need to rewrite something that is BSD so you can have a GPL version, quite the opposite. > > > > You can add the GPL to BSD code, you just can't remove the BSD from it after that, that's what all the fuss is about, it's illegal to remove a licence from code unless you originally put the damned licence there, or have direct permission from the original licencer. > > > > Christ, how hard is this for you to understand? > > > Exactly! Allowing a person to choose to use a piece of code under the GPL, you have specifically given that person the option to not use the BSD license. Have you ever read, I mean really read to the point of understanding the GPL? > By dual licensing, you give a person the option to choose which license to use. Unless there is something in the licensing that states you may choose to use one, but must redistribute with both. Which would by it's mere fact void the possibility of using the GPL and thus defeat the idea of dual licensing. Personally, I don't see how you can realistically release code under both licenses simultaneously. > http://www.undeadly.org/cgi?action=article&sid=20070901041657&pid=69&mode=expanded

    2. By Ray Percival (sng) on http://undeadly.org/cgi?action=search&sort=time&query=sng

      > Dual licensed files:
      > I don't know how many times it has to be repeated, but the point of dual-licensing is that you can follow either one. If one requires you to do action A, and the other requires action B that is fine. You are not required to keep both simultaneously, or it would be pointless. Therefore regardless of what you may say, or ethically appeal to the license allows you to choose a license, and by extension, because one of those licenses doesn't permit extra terms(GPL), therefore you can remove the BSD license. This is not tampering but following of the license(s)!
      >
      > Non-dual licensed files:
      > These must remain under a BSD license, quite simply. These files should be marked and rewritten if necessary under the GPL, or the original copyright owners could relicense the files as being under both licenses(BSD & GPL).
      >
      > BTW: It seems that Theo doesn't read comments, and that the community is a bunch of flamers and it is quite lame. I'm never trying OpenBSD, because I really don't want to get involved in idiotic repetitious nuttery. It seems like a publicity stunt at best, but now I'm never going to contribute financially to OpenBSD, because I'm not giving money to closed-minded illiterates.
      >
      > BTW, the title in Slashdot is deceiving and the description, he didn't think about the issue and give a well-informed response, he just repeated his ignorance.
      >
      > Bye forever

      Don't forget to stop using OpenSSH.

      1. By Anonymous Coward () on

        > Don't forget to stop using OpenSSH.
        >

        Why would you stop using OpenSSH? That would be as silly as stop using GCC, wouldn't it?


        1. By Ray Percival (sng) on http://undeadly.org/cgi?action=search&sort=time&query=sng

          > > Don't forget to stop using OpenSSH.
          > >
          >
          > Why would you stop using OpenSSH? That would be as silly as stop using GCC, wouldn't it?
          >
          >
          >

          Given that it's a core OpenBSD project created and led by Theo and that he hates all things having to do with OpenBSD and the OpenBSD project and we're all morons I would think it would make a lot of sense given his statement that he doesn't want anything to do with us filthy morons that he stop using said project.

    3. By Anonymous Coward () you on

      > Dual licensed files:
      > I don't know how many times it has to be repeated, but the point of dual-licensing is that you can follow either one. If one requires you to do action A, and the other requires action B that is fine. You are not required to keep both simultaneously, or it would be pointless. Therefore regardless of what you may say, or ethically appeal to the license allows you to choose a license, and by extension, because one of those licenses doesn't permit extra terms(GPL), therefore you can remove the BSD license. This is not tampering but following of the license(s)!
      >
      ...
      >
      > BTW, the title in Slashdot is deceiving and the description, he didn't think about the issue and give a well-informed response, he just repeated his ignorance.
      >
      > Bye forever
      This AC obviously is new to the /. crowd. I don't think sane articles are allowed on /.

      I'm saddened by all this riff about GPL and BSD licensing. I don't see what makes a GPL program unacceptable to a BSD based system. Clearly, if a program is dual licensed then a person can choose to use either one, or to dual license the derivative. If you want to force the retainment of the Dual license, then obviously you must specify that when the code is redistributed it must retain both licenses, specifying that only an end user can choose which license to use, but of course this is what we like to call an infinite loop. Ergo, dual licenses are bunk. It was definitely wrong to strip the accreditation from the code. If this is in fact what happened. I haven't looked at any of the code. I'm flabbergasted that Theo can say that the GPL doesn't give back. That's all it does is give it back, and makes everyone that uses it give it back also.

      If you don't want to give it back, then by all means use the BSD license, which allows you to hide it. Personally, I like having the code.
      That way I can rebuild it against new libraries if needed.

      Also, too much name calling amongst people who aught to know better. This is not how you improve society (by name calling and abusive postings). But then , we're dealing with highly intelligent geeks - and we are not known for our social graces, or small egos. Not to mention it's so much easier to bully and name call someone via a keyboard. ;')

      Ah, well. Another day in the life of a geek.

      Peace out,

      AC - Celtic_hackr

      P.S. MNSHO

      1. By Anonymous Coward () on

        You can relicense under these two licences because the original author explicitely granted you this right with the EITHER clause.

        He still retains his copyright, but you have the option to CHOOSE which license to FOLLOW.

    4. By she () she@hot.com on

      Dual license leads to confusion.

      Stick to one license guys.
      One.
      Only one.

      This dual license HURTS more than it helps.



      And by the way, you can NEVER change the license someone else gives YOU unless this person specifically PERMITS you to do so:

      Which dual license HAS given you by EXPRESSIVELY stating you can use EITHER of the two licenses!

    5. By Stig R Kristiansen () stig@srk-holding.com on

      My point exactly!

    6. By Anonymous Coward () on

      Twat.

  10. By Anonymous Coward () on

    This still doesn't answer the fundamental question: (*)

    If *both* licenses are required, but they're not compatible with each other, how can dual-licensing actually work at all?

    The GPL and BSD licenses have contradictory clauses. They *cannot* be in operation at the same time on the same piece of code. Therefore, how can you be bound by both of them?


    The thing is, that if this code is bound by both licenses in the way that Theo has claimed here, that would mean if it's used in the BSD world, it would have to include the GPL license... which surely makes it incompatible here as well, even before the Linux people started working with it?

    The only answer I can see is that the author intended to allow either license to be used, at the discretion of the user. The other license, is therefore irrelevant. The user should still be able to distribute it with the package (to allow users further down the line to also make the same choice) if he chooses, and as long as it doesn't contradict any other licenses in place, but he doesn't have to do so -- once you've chosen your license, that's the only one you have to be bound by or redistribute, as long as the license you've chosen doesn't say anything about retaining the other.

    Either dual-licensing allows you to pick one or other license as you see fit, or else the whole concept of dual-licensing (at least as it applies to GPL+BSD) is impossible.



    (*) fundamental question == the question that is bugging me about this whole sorry saga.

    1. By Anonymous Coward () on

      > This still doesn't answer the fundamental question: (*)
      >
      > If *both* licenses are required, but they're not compatible with each other, how can dual-licensing actually work at all?

      They aren't required. They are available to everybody. You can take QT from Trolltech and distribute under the terms of the GPL. However the people who receive it from you can chose the commercial licenses and distribute it closed source. You as the non-owner of the software in question cannot say "Well, everybody who receives it from me must use license GPL."

      The confusion is that everybody is thinking there are two licenses on this code when there really isn't. There's one license that allows you to pick your set of terms.

      1. By Ray Percival (sng) on http://undeadly.org/cgi?action=search&sort=time&query=sng

        > > This still doesn't answer the fundamental question: (*)
        > >
        > > If *both* licenses are required, but they're not compatible with each other, how can dual-licensing actually work at all?
        >
        > They aren't required. They are available to everybody. You can take QT from Trolltech and distribute under the terms of the GPL. However the people who receive it from you can chose the commercial licenses and distribute it closed source. You as the non-owner of the software in question cannot say "Well, everybody who receives it from me must use license GPL."
        >
        > The confusion is that everybody is thinking there are two licenses on this code when there really isn't. There's one license that allows you to pick your set of terms.
        >

        Thank you. Great point well made.

      2. By celtic_hackr () on

        > > This still doesn't answer the fundamental question: (*)
        > >
        > > If *both* licenses are required, but they're not compatible with each other, how can dual-licensing actually work at all?
        >
        > They aren't required. They are available to everybody. You can take QT from Trolltech and distribute under the terms of the GPL. However the people who receive it from you can chose the commercial licenses and distribute it closed source. You as the non-owner of the software in question cannot say "Well, everybody who receives it from me must use license GPL."
        >
        > The confusion is that everybody is thinking there are two licenses on this code when there really isn't. There's one license that allows you to pick your set of terms.
        >
        So what you're saying is that the code is issued under a different license that allows the user to choose to use either license A or License B. Do you have an example of this license? I've not seen it, but then I don't spend a lot of time browsing the code looking for licenses. I read them when they are presented to me or on code I'm working on.

        If what you say is truly the case, then clearly the code musst be redistributed under this third license and is not really issued under BSD or GPl, but another license altogether.

        1. By Anonymous Coward () on

          > > > This still doesn't answer the fundamental question: (*)
          > > >
          > > > If *both* licenses are required, but they're not compatible with each other, how can dual-licensing actually work at all?
          > >
          > > They aren't required. They are available to everybody. You can take QT from Trolltech and distribute under the terms of the GPL. However the people who receive it from you can chose the commercial licenses and distribute it closed source. You as the non-owner of the software in question cannot say "Well, everybody who receives it from me must use license GPL."
          > >
          > > The confusion is that everybody is thinking there are two licenses on this code when there really isn't. There's one license that allows you to pick your set of terms.
          > >
          > So what you're saying is that the code is issued under a different license that allows the user to choose to use either license A or License B. Do you have an example of this license? I've not seen it, but then I don't spend a lot of time browsing the code looking for licenses. I read them when they are presented to me or on code I'm working on.
          >
          > If what you say is truly the case, then clearly the code musst be redistributed under this third license and is not really issued under BSD or GPl, but another license altogether.
          >
          >
          Correct,

          For an example see the license on Sam Leffler's work before Jiri Slaby got a hold of it. Also in /usr/src/sys/dev/ic/aic79xx.c:

          /*
          * Core routines and tables shareable across OS platforms.
          *
          * Copyright (c) 1994-2002, 2004 Justin T. Gibbs.
          * Copyright (c) 2000-2003 Adaptec Inc.
          * All rights reserved.
          *
          * Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without
          * modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions
          * are met:
          <3-Clause BSD License Conditions follows>
          *
          * Alternatively, this software may be distributed under the terms of the
          * GNU General Public License ("GPL") version 2 as published by the Free
          * Software Foundation.
          *
          * NO WARRANTY
          <Warranty Conditions follow>
          * Id: //depot/aic7xxx/aic7xxx/aic79xx.c#246
          *
          * FreeBSD: src/sys/dev/aic7xxx/aic79xx.c,v 1.33 2004/11/18 20:22:30 gibbs Exp
          */

          This license (not licenses) applies to only part of the code in that file as indicated by the heading. The rest is licensed under the (2-clause) BSD License.

      3. By celtic_hackr () on

        > > This still doesn't answer the fundamental question: (*)
        > >
        > > If *both* licenses are required, but they're not compatible with each other, how can dual-licensing actually work at all?
        >
        ...
        >
        > The confusion is that everybody is thinking there are two licenses on this code when there really isn't. There's one license that allows you to pick your set of terms.
        >
        No confusion here, read the files and see for yourself. Analysis follows. If you don't believe me do as they do at Groklaw, and read it for yourself.

        After careful analysis of the 8 affected files. Five have only BSD licenses and three have a BSD license with an alternative clause allowing redistribution under GPL. Nowhere in any of these files does it require the redistribution where it must state both licenses. Clearly, in five of the files he had no legal right to change the notice; in the other three he certainly was allowed.

        Still, if it had been me, I'd have added my name to the copyright line under the other authors, or above them (depending on the amount of code I added/changed) and left the licensing alone. Just as a matter of good
        citizenship and respect.

        1. By Anonymous Coward () on

          > > > This still doesn't answer the fundamental question: (*)
          > > >
          > > > If *both* licenses are required, but they're not compatible with each other, how can dual-licensing actually work at all?
          > >
          > ...
          > >
          > > The confusion is that everybody is thinking there are two licenses on this code when there really isn't. There's one license that allows you to pick your set of terms.
          > >
          > No confusion here, read the files and see for yourself. Analysis follows. If you don't believe me do as they do at Groklaw, and read it for yourself.
          >
          > After careful analysis of the 8 affected files. Five have only BSD licenses and three have a BSD license with an alternative clause allowing redistribution under GPL. Nowhere in any of these files does it require the redistribution where it must state both licenses. Clearly, in five of the files he had no legal right to change the notice; in the other three he certainly was allowed.

          except that as he is not the sole (or in some cases, at all) copyright holder, he has no right to relicense the code, which is what he did.

          As he made modifications to the code, he is able to license his modifications under the GPL (not a very nice thing to do, but not illegal), but that doesn't grant him the right to change the license on the original code as only the original copyright holder can do that. It's as simple as putting his GPL license block at the top and including the existing license with 'Portions copyright etc'.

          >
          > Still, if it had been me, I'd have added my name to the copyright line under the other authors, or above them (depending on the amount of code I added/changed) and left the licensing alone. Just as a matter of good
          > citizenship and respect.
          >
          >

          1. By Anonymous Coward () on

            > except that as he is not the sole (or in some cases, at all) copyright holder, he has no right to relicense the code, which is what he did.
            >
            > As he made modifications to the code, he is able to license his modifications under the GPL (not a very nice thing to do, but not illegal), but that doesn't grant him the right to change the license on the original code as only the original copyright holder can do that. It's as simple as putting his GPL license block at the top and including the existing license with 'Portions copyright etc'.
            >

            And what if the original file contains a clause that permits it to be relicensed, provided certain conditions are met? Can you relicense it if you meet those conditions?

      4. By Anonymous Coward () on

        > > This still doesn't answer the fundamental question: (*)
        > >
        > > If *both* licenses are required, but they're not compatible with each other, how can dual-licensing actually work at all?
        >
        > They aren't required. They are available to everybody. You can take QT from Trolltech and distribute under the terms of the GPL. However the people who receive it from you can chose the commercial licenses and distribute it closed source. You as the non-owner of the software in question cannot say "Well, everybody who receives it from me must use license GPL."
        >
        > The confusion is that everybody is thinking there are two licenses on this code when there really isn't. There's one license that allows you to pick your set of terms.
        >

        Excellent summary.

    2. By Anonymous Coward () on

      The BSD license ("Modified BSD License") and the ISC license favourted by OpenBSD devs is not incompatible with the GPL as it adds no restrictions or burdens not already in the GPL (obviously the reverse does not apply).

      "The Original BSD License" and Sam Leffler's version of the BSD license are both incompatible as they contain the 'obnoxious advertising clause': "Neither the name of the above listed copyright holders nor the names of any contributors may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without written permission." This is the likely reason the code was relicensed to be dual (GPL/LefflerBSD) licensed as it otherwise would not be able to be used in Linux. Obviously the copyright holders together are the only party able to relicense the code (Jiri Slaby is neither the sole copyright holder where his copyright exists nor does he hold any copyright, therefore any right to relicense the code, in the rest).

      1. By Anonymous Coward () on

        > "The Original BSD License" and Sam Leffler's version of the BSD license are both incompatible as they contain the 'obnoxious advertising clause': "Neither the name of the above listed copyright holders nor the names of any contributors may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without written permission."


        I believe the advertising clause in question is actually the following:

        All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software must display the following acknowledgement:

        This product includes software developed by the University of California, Berkeley and its contributors.

      2. By Anonymous Coward () on

        Actually then, if they lied about the copyright of the original files, then this whole matter is confused because they would be the first to hold accountable for faking copyright which isn't theirs.

  11. By Alex T () on

    Err BSD gets used in commercial things with no one seeing it but if people use the GPL license option in a dual situation they are expected to hand it back in BSD license form. That makes no sense as people choosing the GPL will be usually choosing it in preference to the BSD in order to not have their work disappear into the black hole of commercial realms.

    1. By Anonymous Coward () on

      > Err BSD gets used in commercial things with no one seeing it but if people use the GPL license option in a dual situation they are expected to hand it back in BSD license form. That makes no sense as people choosing the GPL will be usually choosing it in preference to the BSD in order to not have their work disappear into the black hole of commercial realms.

      From your posting, I can see that you really don't understand the whole thing or even the basic point(s). Please, understand before posting or at least read the BSD license... No offense intended.

      Besides, licensing models are all about 'choice' and those who choose to use one or another are free to choose what they see best fit or prefer; they're the ones who do the work, not others.


    2. By Anonymous Coward () on

      > Err BSD gets used in commercial things with no one seeing it but if people use the GPL license option in a dual situation they are expected to hand it back in BSD license form. That makes no sense as people choosing the GPL will be usually choosing it in preference to the BSD in order to not have their work disappear into the black hole of commercial realms.

      They still have the option of not using the BSD code at all, just like they have the option of not using proprietary code that does not permit them to relicense it GPL.

  12. By Harry Johnston () on

    The core of Theo's argument seems to be this:

    "It is illegal to modify a license unless you are the owner/author,
    because it is a legal document."

    I'm not aware of any law that requires you to retain copyright notices in a derivative work, unless the license under which you create the derivative work requires you to do so.

    If Theo (or anyone else) *is* aware of such a law they should say so, and reference the exact legislation. Otherwise this argument is just FUD.

    Harry.

    1. By Anonymous Coward () on

      > The core of Theo's argument seems to be this:
      >
      > "It is illegal to modify a license unless you are the owner/author,
      > because it is a legal document."
      >
      > I'm not aware of any law that requires you to retain copyright notices in a derivative work, unless the license under which you create the derivative work requires you to do so.
      >
      > If Theo (or anyone else) *is* aware of such a law they should say so, and reference the exact legislation. Otherwise this argument is just FUD.
      >
      > Harry.


      You hit the nail on its head. Of course, nobody is going to actually cite such any law, they're just going to mod you down. People have the tendency to confuse actual laws with how they think laws *should* be.

      The programmers analog is if someone claims that you cannot make an ISO-C compiler that interprets shorts, ints, longs all as 64-bit values, and when you ask for where exactly in the standards it states that, you only get replies like "of course you can't do that, look it up in the standards".

      1. By Anonymous Coward () on

        I can't help but wonder if the both of you just missed all the super-fun-happy-clarifying text up above just to post.

        1. By Anonymous Coward () on

          > I can't help but wonder if the both of you just missed all the super-fun-happy-clarifying text up above just to post.

          If anyone in this entire thread has cited any actual law (e.g., US Code Title 17 Ch 1.103), as opposed to something that sounds like it ought to be a law (e.g., "it is still illegal to break up, cut up, or modify someone else's legal document"), I have indeed missed it. Care to point out which law I should be looking at?

    2. By Can Acar () canacar@ on

      > The core of Theo's argument seems to be this:
      >
      > "It is illegal to modify a license unless you are the owner/author,
      > because it is a legal document."
      >
      > I'm not aware of any law that requires you to retain copyright notices in a derivative work, unless the license under which you create the derivative work requires you to do so.

      Well, the BSD and ISC licenses (and GPL) do require that. From the ISC license:

      * Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this software for any
      * purpose with or without fee is hereby granted, provided that the above
      * copyright notice and this permission notice appear in all copies.

      That is, you can modify (thus, create derivative works) only if you keep the license text. Simple, no?

      Now, if you actually create a derivative work, you can put any license on top of that, but the license does not allow you to remove it. It is considered good form (ethics etc.) to keep the license as it is, to respect the wishes of the original author, but it is not legally necessary.

      1. By Harry Johnston () on

        >> I'm not aware of any law that requires you to retain copyright notices in a derivative work, unless the license under which you create the derivative work requires you to do so.

        > Well, the BSD and ISC licenses (and GPL) do require that.

        The BSD license does. The GPL doesn't. And the dual license in question specifically allows you to choose the GPL instead of the BSD license.

        Harry.

        1. By Anonymous Coward () on

          > >> I'm not aware of any law that requires you to retain copyright notices in a derivative work, unless the license under which you create the derivative work requires you to do so.
          >
          > > Well, the BSD and ISC licenses (and GPL) do require that.
          >
          > The BSD license does. The GPL doesn't. And the dual license in question specifically allows you to choose the GPL instead of the BSD license.
          >
          > Harry.
          >

          GPL v2 Paragraph 1 says:
          "1. You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's
          source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you
          conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate
          copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty; keep intact all the
          notices that refer to this License and to the absence of any warranty;
          and give any other recipients of the Program a copy of this License
          along with the Program."

          You didn't have to read the whole damn thing to find out you were just another ignorant dickhead with big opinions and no expertise.

          Keep intact all the notices.....

          They have classes for the reading impared but I'm not sure they have any for extricating foot from mouth.

          1. By Anonymous Coward () on

            > GPL v2 Paragraph 1 says:
            > "1. You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's
            > source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you
            > conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate
            > copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty; keep intact all the
            > notices that refer to this License and to the absence of any warranty;
            > and give any other recipients of the Program a copy of this License
            > along with the Program."
            >
            > You didn't have to read the whole damn thing to find out you were just another ignorant dickhead with big opinions and no expertise.
            >
            > Keep intact all the notices.....
            >
            > They have classes for the reading impared but I'm not sure they have any for extricating foot from mouth.
            >

            In the GPL clause "keep intact all the notices that refer to this License and to the absence of any warranty", "this License" refers to the GPL license. Reading impared indeed.

            1. By Anonymous Coward () on

              > > GPL v2 Paragraph 1 says:
              > > "1. You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's
              > > source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you
              > > conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate
              > > copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty; keep intact all the
              > > notices that refer to this License and to the absence of any warranty;
              > > and give any other recipients of the Program a copy of this License
              > > along with the Program."
              > >
              > > You didn't have to read the whole damn thing to find out you were just another ignorant dickhead with big opinions and no expertise.
              > >
              > > Keep intact all the notices.....
              > >
              > > They have classes for the reading impared but I'm not sure they have any for extricating foot from mouth.
              > >
              >
              > In the GPL clause "keep intact all the notices that refer to this License and to the absence of any warranty", "this License" refers to the GPL license. Reading impared indeed.
              >

              So? Read the fucking comment I was replying to.
              It said:
              "> >> I'm not aware of any law that requires you to retain copyright notices in a derivative work, unless the license under which you create the derivative work requires you to do so.
              >
              > > Well, the BSD and ISC licenses (and GPL) do require that.
              >
              > The BSD license does. The GPL doesn't. And the dual license in question specifically allows you to choose the GPL instead of the BSD license."

              Now your point was?

          2. By Harry Johnston () on

            >>>> I'm not aware of any law that requires you to retain copyright notices in a derivative work, unless the license under which you create the derivative work requires you to do so.

            >>> Well, the BSD and ISC licenses (and GPL) do require that.

            >> The BSD license does. The GPL doesn't.

            > GPL v2 Paragraph 1 says: [...]

            OK, you may have a point here. I'd looked up GPLv3 which makes the intent in this regard very clear in section 5b:

            b) The work must carry prominent notices stating that it is
            released under this License and any conditions added under section
            7. This requirement modifies the requirement in section 4 to
            "keep intact all notices".

            GPLv2 has (IMO) the same intent, but the phrasing is ambiguous enough that you *could* interpret "notices referring to this license" to include the entire dual-licensing section. Sorry; I hadn't noticed that this particular case was GPLv2. I don't believe this is the intent of the license, but I can understand that it could be interpreted that way.

            > You didn't have to read the whole damn thing to find out you were just another ignorant dickhead with big opinions and no expertise.

            Do you really think the attitude adds anything to the discussion? Let's not get unduly emotional; it's just a bit of code, it's not your first-born child.

            In any case, Theo's theory as stated isn't that the GPL requires you to retain the copyright notice and all licensing terms; it's that the licensing terms are a "legal document" and "can't be modified". I still see no basis for this claim. If you can present one, please do!

            Harry.

            1. By Anonymous Coward () on

              > GPLv2 has (IMO) the same intent, but the phrasing is ambiguous enough that you *could* interpret "notices referring to this license" to include the entire dual-licensing section. Sorry; I hadn't noticed that this particular case was GPLv2. I don't believe this is the intent of the license, but I can understand that it could be interpreted that way.

              It would be ambiguous if they pasted the text of the GPL in the dual licensed files, but they didn't. They referred to an external GPLv2 document, and it's hard to argue that the scope of "this license" in that document extends beyond it.


              > In any case, Theo's theory as stated isn't that the GPL requires you to retain the copyright notice and all licensing terms; it's that the licensing terms are a "legal document" and "can't be modified". I still see no basis for this claim. If you can present one, please do!
              >
              > Harry.
              >

              Theo's theory is bunk and he knows it. There's nothing illegal about changing the text or removing the license by default. That's whole reason why there are "retain this license" clauses in the BSD and GPL in the first place. Retaining the BSD text is only mandated by the BSD portion of the dual license, just like retaining the GPL text and the conditions of the GPL (specifically the closed-source prohibitions) are only mandated by the GPL portions.

              But Theo doesn't want to state that the *conditions* of both licenses must always apply, since that would make dual licensed files effectively GPL (no closed-source). He wants to have his cake (the text of the dual license must always remain, so you can always ignore the conditions of the GPL) and eat it too (you can't ignore the conditions of the BSD license). Stating outright that you can ignore the GPL conditions but not the BSD conditions would make him look like a hypocrite, so he has to invent some law external to the BSD license that forbids you to alter or remove any license.

  13. By Anonymous Coward () on

    Why does Theo post these opinions of his and masquerade it as facts? I honesty believe he is wrong, but IANAL of course, and since he does not present the reasoning behind his opinions there is nothing for me to critisize or discuss.

    Is he not interested in getting his point across? Or is his ego simply so big that he thinks his opinions ARE the facts? Either way, it is with sadness I see OpenBSD become more and more marginalized, since I use it a lot and deeply respect the freedom it stands for.

    1. By Dusty () on

      > Why does Theo post these opinions of his and masquerade it as facts? I honesty believe he is wrong, but IANAL of course, and since he does not present the reasoning behind his opinions there is nothing for me to critisize or discuss.
      >
      > Is he not interested in getting his point across? Or is his ego simply so big that he thinks his opinions ARE the facts? Either way, it is with sadness I see OpenBSD become more and more marginalized, since I use it a lot and deeply respect the freedom it stands for.

      I think he's a bit too busy actually writing high quality code.
      I think we should all be busy doing the same thing.

  14. By Leonardo Rodrigues () on

    This was posted on misc@ by Gregg Reynolds
    It actually points to laws.

    On 9/2/07, Dave Anderson <dave@daveanderson.com> wrote:

    > IIRC this is true for any country which has adopted the Berne
    > Convention, which is currently almost every country which has any
    > copyright law in place. It includes the U.S.

    Yes. For the dimwits pontificating on this useless thread who can't
    be bothered to check facts on their own, here's the relevant text
    (http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html):

    "Copyright protection subsists from the time the work is created in
    fixed form. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately
    becomes the property of the author who created the work. Only the
    author or those deriving their rights through the author can
    rightfully claim copyright...

    "The way in which copyright protection is secured is frequently
    misunderstood. No publication or registration or other action in the
    Copyright Office is required to secure copyright.

    "The use of a copyright notice is no longer required under U.S. law,
    ... Use of the notice may be important because it informs the public
    that the work is protected by copyright, identifies the copyright
    owner, and shows the year of first publication. Furthermore, in the
    event that a work is infringed, if a proper notice of copyright
    appears on the published copy or copies to which a defendant in a
    copyright infringement suit had access, then no weight shall be given
    to such a defendant's interposition of a defense based on innocent
    infringement in mitigation of actual or statutory damages..."

    "Copyright is a personal property right,..."

    "Any or all of the copyright owner's exclusive rights or any
    subdivision of those rights may be transferred, but the transfer of
    exclusive rights is not valid unless that transfer is in writing and
    signed by the owner of the rights conveyed or such owner's duly
    authorized agent. Transfer of a right on a nonexclusive basis does not
    require a written agreement."

    "Transfers of copyright are normally made by contract..."

    "In general, copyright registration is a legal formality intended to
    make a public record of the basic facts of a particular copyright.
    However, registration is not a condition of copyright protection..."

    I had thought that the only remedy against infringement is legal
    action by the injured party. Law enforcement doesn't get involved,
    normally, since it's a civil matter. However, it turns out that isn't
    quite true. Check this out
    (http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap5.html):

    "(c) Fraudulent Copyright Notice. - Any person who, with fraudulent
    intent, places on any article a notice of copyright or words of the
    same purport that such person knows to be false, or who, with
    fraudulent intent, publicly distributes or imports for public
    distribution any article bearing such notice or words that such person
    knows to be false, shall be fined not more than $2,500."

    "(d) Fraudulent Removal of Copyright Notice. - Any person who, with
    fraudulent intent, removes or alters any notice of copyright appearing
    on a copy of a copyrighted work shall be fined not more than $2,500."

    That's criminal infringement, folks. A federal crime.

    From which we can conclude, among other things:

    1) appearance of the copyright _notice_ on BSD or any other code is
    irrelevant. The creator owns the copyright from the get-go. Removing
    a copyright notice has no legal effect, although it's easy to imagine
    a practical effect, to wit, a good lawyer could use it to show malice
    and win a larger settlement. Although it's possible that licensing
    terms affect this; this is where we should all shut up and ask Real
    Lawyers.

    2) nonexclusive transfer of rights is "normally" a matter of
    contract law; however, my understanding is whether software licensing
    falls under contract law is a murky area in the law right now.

    3) the original author of the code in question might well be able
    to seek criminal charges against the people who removed the license.

    This "Rui" is obviously a troll; can we please stop taking the bait
    and bring this thread to a close?

    1. By Harry Johnston () on

      > "(d) Fraudulent Removal of Copyright Notice. - Any person who, with
      > fraudulent intent, removes or alters any notice of copyright appearing
      > on a copy of a copyrighted work shall be fined not more than $2,500."

      Note that the copyright attribution wasn't removed in this case. Are the licensing terms part of the copyright notice in terms of this law?

      Are derivative works (as opposed to copies) affected in the same way?

      Would fraudulent intent apply if the changes accurately describe the licensing terms that apply to the derivative work?

      Harry.

  15. By Ricardo () on

    It is WRONG to assume that you in dual-license code you're "free" to
    choose one license and ignore the other.
    Then it would be possible to circumvent the BSD license just by modifying
    the code a little, add the GPL license and then strip the BSD one.

    My sympathy for Theo for naming things like it is because it's called
    stealing...

    1. By Harry Johnston () on

      > It is WRONG to assume that you in dual-license code you're "free" to
      > choose one license and ignore the other.
      > Then it would be possible to circumvent the BSD license just by modifying
      > the code a little, add the GPL license and then strip the BSD one.

      No you couldn't, because you aren't entitled to change the BSD license to a dual license (of the "alternately" sort) unless you are the original copyright owner(s).

      If the original license is alternate GPLv3 and BSD, the GPLv3 license option allows you to drop the BSD license. Dual GPLv2 and BSD (this case) is less clear, as the phrasing of GPLv2 could be interpreted to prohibit removing the entire dual license notice.

      Harry.

  16. By Petrus () on

    From a lot of what I've seen, the belief that exists in the minds of most GPL zealots (and I'm also guessing Eben Moglen himself, privately if not publically) is that the GPL is the only license with the inherent right to exist at all. These people also feel that they have a moral duty to relicense everything possible under the GPL.

    I really worry about how the BSDs and the BSD license can survive, since I've seen a lot of sentiment expressed by GPL advocates that suggests that they would like to see it erradicated entirely. I used to read Slashdot myself a lot, but recently it's become a lot more difficult to, because I am honestly caused an enormous amount of emotional pain by what seems to be the predominant attitude among GPL advocates and Linux users. They seem to be dominated by fear, anger, bitterness, and a desire to utterly destroy anything which deviates in any way from the dictates of Richard Stallman. It's actually caused me to feel that I need to distance myself from using open source in general, and I get the feeling that the recent resurgence of the FSF, and the release of the GPL 3 has caused a lot of other people to feel the same way; I don't think I'm the only one.

    The one thing I truly wish I had the technical knowledge to do is write another C compiler, because then from what I've read it would be possible for a form of open source UNIX to exist that could be genuinely divorced from the FSF entirely. Unfortunately however, I don't...I wouldn't even know where to begin...and so the only real option for someone who feels as strongly opposed to the FSF as I do is to walk away from using open source in general.

    1. By Harry Johnston () on

      > The one thing I truly wish I had the technical knowledge to do is write another C compiler, because then from what I've read it would be possible for a form of open source UNIX to exist that could be genuinely divorced from the FSF entirely.

      Just for the record, operating systems do not /have/ to ship with compilers. :-)

      Even if you need to use GNU compilers to compile the operating system and/or its applications, this won't have any impact on the licensing of your OS (provided that you avoid using copylefted libraries). The output of FSF compilers is not automatically subject to GPL.

      Harry.

  17. By Bob Beck () beck@openbsd.org on


    A whole bunch of people are trolling away here over dual licensing.
    That's sam leffler's code, which is *not* the issue because sam leffler has given his permission to relicense it under the gpl. without that, that would not be legal.

    Reyk's code however, is not dual licensed. Lots of people keep spouting
    off about dual licensing, and it's bunk. Go read reyk's post to lkml on the subject. Reyk has never said his code is dual licensed. period.

    1. By Kiriakos Mountakis () ph lab softnet tuc gr on

      >
      > A whole bunch of people are trolling away here over dual licensing.
      > That's sam leffler's code, which is *not* the issue because sam leffler has given his permission to relicense it under the gpl. without that, that would not be legal.
      >
      > Reyk's code however, is not dual licensed. Lots of people keep spouting
      > off about dual licensing, and it's bunk. Go read reyk's post to lkml on the subject. Reyk has never said his code is dual licensed. period.
      >
      >
      Exactly.
      Only if the author put the code under two _alternative_ licenses right from the original publication gives one the right to rip of one of the licenses.In case the code was originally put under the BSD license, then it wouldn't make any sense appending the GPL, just because:
      free + (not-really-free) = free
      Now, all you rms fan-club people, try not to distract some serious people from the joy of high-quality coding, and keep it a clean game.

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