Subject: Re: vi update?
To: Chris G. Demetriou <>
From: Miles Nordin <carton@Ivy.NET>
List: current-users
Date: 02/22/2000 16:16:51
On 22 Feb 2000, Chris G. Demetriou wrote:

> Bill Studenmund <> writes:

> > The only way for us to drop the advertizing clauses is to either re-write
> > the files from scratch, or get the author to drop the advertizing clause.
> > Note that Berkeley has done the latter. :-)
> Is even the "you must include this notice in your documentation"
> clause allowable under the GPL?

IIRC the GPL is written to say something like ``you may have the code
under this license, or, at your option, any later version.''  The authors
of the GPL anticipated (learned from?) the dilemma that Berkeley did not.

So, the question becomes, why are the advertising and documentation
clauses (hyopthetically) so unacceptable to the FSF that 
BSD-licensed code is ocnsidered ``less free than the GPL?''

Note, we are not asking them to offer their code under the BSD license
that doesn't ensure the freeness of future versions.  Nor are we asking
them to in effect add an advertising/documentation clause to the GPL--the
BSD license is not ``viral'' in that respect, to the extent that you can:

 1. Link GPL'ed code with BSD code
 2. Modify the GPL'ed code while it is part of the half-BSD-licensed
 3. Remove the GPL'ed code and distribute it without the encumberance of
    an advertising clause

If they want to prevent us from tacking on a BSD license above their GPL
license, that makes sense.  But, why would it be an ideological problem to
explicitly declare (within the GPL) that ``BSD-ish advertising clauses
fitting the following template are not considered `unfree' for the
purposes of linked executables, as long as the GPL'ed portion of the
aggregate project's source code is made available for separate
redistribution without the encumberance of an advertising clause.  The
linked or aggregated work, however, _may_ be encumbered by this _specific_
clause so long as the GPL'ed _source_ code within the aggregation is
offered separately and without the encumberance.''

This is crufty and complicated, but would produce a considerable social
good.  Does anyone know to what extent BSD developers have opened a
dialogue with the FSF, regarding whether or not this
minimum-useful-adjustment fits with their idealogy?  They are in a much
better position to change their license than we are.

Miles Nordin / v:+1 720 841-8308 fax:+1 530 579-8680
555 Bryant Street PMB 182 / Palo Alto, CA 94301-1700 / US