Re: GLib plans for the next cycle


On Mon, Apr 20, 2009 at 10:31 PM, Allin Cottrell <cottrell wfu edu> wrote:
> On Sun, 19 Apr 2009, Havoc Pennington wrote:
>> The license was written by a lawyer and is perfectly sane.
> "Sane" and "written by a lawyer" are surely orthogonal to
> desirability from the point of view of free software.

The contrast is with things like the Artistic 1.0 license, which is a
legal mess written by a non-lawyer. That is not desirable because the
license ends up vague (from a legal perspective) and difficult to
enforce in court.

AFL was written by an open source advocate (and lawyer) with input
from a lot of other open source people.

The point is, it's not some off-the-wall license made up over beers.
It was written by someone competent to do so and vetted by quite a few
others. It is an "approved license" on

> IANAL, but... Hypothesis: Monster Corp distributes D-BUS under
> AFL, while believing that DB in fact violates patents held by
> Monster Corp.  MC then sues users of DB.  MC can no longer
> distribute DB under AFL, but they don't care!  They have succeeded
> in causing trouble.  But as Havoc says, if Monster Corp had
> distributed DB under *GPL they would have effectively made a
> patent grant and given up the right to sue, making this scenario
> impossible.

Yes, you're right that the AFL imposes fewer restrictions than GPL,
just as any other MIT/X11 type of license imposes less restrictions
than GPL.

> OK, maybe there's no Monster Corp associated with D-BUS right now,
> but we know there _are_ such monsters around.  This seems to me a
> _major_ reason to see *GPL as superior to AFL from the p.o.v. of
> free software.

The discussion is not about whether AFL (or MIT/X11 type licenses in
general) are superior to GPL-type licenses philosophically. The
discussion is about whether there's a licensing "problem" with libdbus
that keeps GLib and GTK+ from relying on it. Last I checked, GTK+ at
least linked to quite a bit of code under MIT/X11 sort of licenses,
such as libX11.

You aren't saying anything here that doesn't also apply to libX11.


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