Subject: Re: copyright questions
To: Ted Lemon <email@example.com>
From: Phil Knaack <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 06/12/1997 20:14:35
>> I want it to be easy for them to use. I don't want to make them
>> "jump through hoops" to use it.
Ted Lemon <email@example.com> wrote:
>Nobody wants this. It's too bad a few bad actors have made it
I've been hearing this over and over, that it was "necessary."
I can understand Chris's comments about why he did it, and I do not doubt
that from the perspective he described, it was in fact necessary.
However, I don't really understand the reasons which inspired
that perspective. Chris seems disappointed with the credit he has recieved
in the past, and I'd wager (but not assert) that in particular he is ..
"disappointed" with OpenBSD/alpha's credit (since it was mentioned three
times in that one note).
Of course, I see from looking at www.openbsd.org/alpha.html that
quite a lot of credit is given to him for OpenBSD/alpha, in fact very
little is given to anyone else.
This copyright, you must admit, is a rather drastic move, and
you do admit that "Nobody wants this." If that copyright is what it takes
to keep Chris working on NetBSD, then so be it, because as you said NetBSD
gets the gain of keeping Chris on as a developer.
Chris wrote in a separate message:
>Perhaps you didn't notice, but putting a standard berkeley copyright
>on a piece of code _already_ requires a few hoops. I just made them a
>bit better defined, and required credit in a few more cases.
Oh yes. Credit is always a good thing, I am not disagreeing with
you there. You certainly deserve a great amount of credit for the work
you have done, and no doubt the work you will do in the future. I am
not disagreeing with you about credit.
However, what bothers me is the combination of part 4a, the
"in any medium" part of 1b, and the extensive list of communication
types in part 2 (advertising, marketing, informational, publicity materials,
in print, electronic, or other media) is not "better defined" than the
BSD copyright, it is extends well beyond the bounds of the BSD copyright.
"This license applies to all copies of the Software, whether
partial or whole, original or modified" in tandem with the above means that
the range of communications affected is .. almost unlimited! The wording
is such as to be interpretable in a vast array of ways, meaning that you
could prosecute someone in ways that never would have been even possible
under the BSD copyright. Even I, with my limited legalese, can see the
loopholes you've left yourself in this document.
This is why I feel that, as good as this is for you, this damages
NetBSD. Why? Because even though you have written this code, you did
give this code to NetBSD. This document seems to convey that you should
be treated differently than other people who have written code for NetBSD,
as noone else has a copyright this encompassing. Almost as if ... you wish
to be considered separate from NetBSD -- here is NetBSD over here, supporting
N-1 architectures developed by M-1 developers, and there is NetBSD/alpha over
there, developed by Chris. You can distribute NetBSD using policy X, but
if you distribute or use code from NetBSD/alpha, you had better be using
policy Y, lest you face punishment.
I'm exaggerating, but not that much. Yes, you felt it was necessary,
and I respect that. I certainly hope that this copyright brings you
the fulfillment you seek -- your continued work on NetBSD (not just /alpha)
is a tremendous advantage to the Project. However, there's a number of us
who feel this copyright was a bit excessive.
Phillip F Knaack
Systems Administrator, Information Development for Extension Audiences (IDEA)
Iowa State University Extension