Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Github Finally Agrees Public Repos Should Have Explicit Licenses

Unknown Lamer posted 1 year,12 days | from the largest-open-community-running-on-nonfree-platform dept.

Open Source 120

WebMink writes "After strong criticism last year, Github has finally accepted the view that public repositories with no open source license are a bad thing. Self-described as the 'world's largest open source community,' a significant number of GitHub projects come with no rights whatsoever for you to use their code in an open source project. But from now on, creators of new repositories will have to pick from a small selection of OSI-approved licenses or explicitly opt for 'no license'. In Github's words, 'please note that opting out of open source licenses doesn't mean you're opting out of copyright law.'" A quick scan of their new choose a license site reveals at least a few flaws: they present simplicity, caring about patents, and sharing improvements with others as mutually exclusive points when they clearly are not (e.g. the Apache license and the GPLv3 both help with patent concerns, but only Apache is mentioned; and the MIT/X license is listed as the simple license when BSD-style is more prevalent). They also imply it is entirely optional to actually note your copyright in your files, when it is really bad practice not to unless you really want to make it impossible for people to understand the copyright history when e.g. merging your code into another project. Their list of licenses does provide a nice overview of the features of each, but regrettably encourages the use of the GPLv2 (without the "or later version" clause), listing the GPLv3 and all versions of the LGPL in league with seldom used licenses like the Perl Artistic license.

cancel ×

120 comments

I'm surprised (4, Informative)

msobkow (48369) | 1 year,12 days | (#44295041)

I'm surprised GitHub didn't require one to specify a code license of some kind when publishing code. The default if no license is specified is not "public domain", but private with all rights implicitly reserved for the owner of the code.

Re:I'm surprised (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44295143)

"Public domain" is not a thing in many countries. In the UK for example, it is simply impossible to give up your copyrights while inside their term. The closest you can come is to license them under the WTFPL.

Re:I'm surprised (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,12 days | (#44295215)

Even where it is a thing, I don't know of a single jurisdiction where it is the default thing. Arguably, something with no license information at all is probably on the bottom of the heap in terms of utility; because you don't even know who to call to beg for a license. At least 'conventional' proprietary code sometimes has a sales rep you can implore if you really need the stuff.

Re:I'm surprised (1)

larry bagina (561269) | 1 year,12 days | (#44296177)

Works of the US government are, by default, public domain.

Re:I'm surprised (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | 1 year,12 days | (#44296669)

And when did GitHub become a work of the US Government? Git was originally one of Linus Torvalds' projects (when he got fed up with Bitkeeper), and GitHub offers both free and private repositories.

Re:I'm surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44298079)

And when did GitHub become a work of the US Government? Git was originally one of Linus Torvalds' projects (when he got fed up with Bitkeeper), and GitHub offers both free and private repositories.

I like logical fallacies as much as the next guy but ...what does this have to do with anything?

Re:I'm surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44295281)

The list now has CC0 on it, which is just a very long-winded version of WTFPL.

Re:I'm surprised (2)

game kid (805301) | 1 year,12 days | (#44295547)

It would be just a long-winded WTFPL, if WTFPL had explicit waivers of specific rights and a minimal-license fallback for places that don't have a public domain (or worse, dump rights-waived works into the hands of RIAA-like industry groups).

CC0 is, sadly, necessary for those regions, to properly leave works to the people.

Re:I'm surprised (1)

Millennium (2451) | 1 year,12 days | (#44298033)

CC0 is probably as close as you can get to having no license, given the existence of jurisdictions where you can't actually have no license.

Re:I'm surprised (1)

Njovich (553857) | 1 year,12 days | (#44295213)

Well, it's just about copyright. You still allow github to distribute the code, and anyone can use it, commercially and otherwise, as using something doesn't have any implication on copyright.

No, you can't use it. (1)

dwheeler (321049) | 1 year,12 days | (#44295303)

Nope, github by default lets you "view" and "fork" the code. No "use" rights were granted.

Re:No, you can't use it. (3, Informative)

VGPowerlord (621254) | 1 year,12 days | (#44295413)

Forking is a "use" right.

Re:No, you can't use it. (3, Informative)

nedwidek (98930) | 1 year,12 days | (#44295687)

From their terms of use:
"We claim no intellectual property rights over the material you provide to the Service. Your profile and materials uploaded remain yours. However, by setting your pages to be viewed publicly, you agree to allow others to view your Content. By setting your repositories to be viewed publicly, you agree to allow others to view and fork your repositories."

So yes you can view and fork, but you don't get clone rights. The instant you do that, you infringe the copyright. So if you have no license that allows you to put out on your machine and use it, how useful is it? Until copyright or the Berne convention are changed, this is the world we live in.

Re:No, you can't use it. (1)

Njovich (553857) | 1 year,12 days | (#44296015)

What is a "clone" right? You can clone it all you want. Copyright is about distribution. So if you mean distribute it in violation of copyright? Yes that is not allowed.

"So if you have no license that allows you to put out on your machine and use it, how useful is it? "

You can use it all you want, you just can't distribute it (ie. to others). If someone gives you a book, they don't have to give you a 'read' right. Under copyright you can use it for anything you want, you just can't make copies and give them to others. You can even distribute it in some cases, depending on copyright law in your country.

Given that you can still fork and modify it on github, and use github as the distribution channel (but you can not distribute it yourself), I would say pretty useful.

Re:No, you can't use it. (1)

IRWolfie- (1148617) | 1 year,12 days | (#44296057)

If you copy the code for your own use without distribution you have infringed the copyright. Distribution does not even come into it.

Re:No, you can't use it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44296701)

You're getting confused with the GPL when you bring "distribution" into it. The GPL makes a distinction between distributed works and non-distributed works, i.e. if a work is distributed and it contains or links to GPL code, the entire work itself must be made available in source form.

Other than the GPL and any other license which makes a clear distinction upon the act of distribution, distribution has no relevance whatsoever to copyright. In order to put it on your machine and use it, you have to copy it. You don't have the right to copy it unless it has been explicitly granted to you. The GPL is one of the licenses that will grant you this right, but that has no relevance to other licenses or to cases where no license was specified.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. Do not rely on this comment to make legal decisions. Seek your own legal advice.

No, copyright is about copying (3, Informative)

dwheeler (321049) | 1 year,12 days | (#44297025)

Distribution is only part of the story. IANAL, but let's focus on US law, starting with the software-relevant portions of 17 USC 106 [cornell.edu] :

"The owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following: (1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords; (2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work; (3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;"

A common interpretation is that copies from storage to RAM are copies, and thus, you have to get a copyright holder's permission to run the software. I HATE this interpretation, I think it's a vile distortion of the original intent. However, it was upheld in "MAI Systems Corp. v. Peak Computer, Inc., 991 F.2d 511 (9th Cir. 1993)". For more about this controversial but widespread interpretation, see A new perspective on temporary copies: The Fourth Circuit's Opinion in Costar v. Loopnet (Band and Marcinko) [stanford.edu] . After the MAI decision, Congress then added 17 USC 117 [cornell.edu] : "it is not an infringement for the owner of a copy of a computer program to make or authorize the making of another copy or adaptation of that computer program provided: (1) that such a new copy or adaptation is created as an essential step in the utilization of the computer program in conjunction with a machine and that it is used in no other manner, ..." Basically, Congress said that even if copying to RAM would be considered a copyright violation (which it pointedly did not rescind), there's a special exception that it's okay to do if you're the owner of a copy of a computer program.

But wait! That means you have to be the "owner of a copy of a computer program" to use the program (or get the owner's permission). Did github say you were the owner of a copy? No, it said that you could "view" and "fork". "View" sure isn't "owner of a copy", and it's dubious that "fork" means that either. Note that the github TOS doesn't define "fork", so it has no clear legal definition. Yes, technically there's no "use" right in copyright law, but under at least some common US law interpretations you can't use the software in US if the code is just posted on github. Many software EULAs claim you aren't the owner, and then grant you permission to run the program through contracts, but if there's no license you can't claim that a license gave you such permission.

If you don't clearly give a right in a copyrighted work you create, then some judge gets to decide what rights (if any) are granted to users. You will probably not like what the judge says, especially since most judges don't understand software at all (there are glorious exceptions, but they're exceptional). Maybe "fork" gives users enough rights... but I wouldn't count on it. And since legal cases cost a lot of money, wise users will avoid software without licenses; they're not worth the legal risk. I hope that the "RAM copy as copy" interpretation is completely overturned someday, but that has not yet happened, and I wouldn't count on it happening soon.

Lots of people have worked out software licenses for sharing software. Just pick a common open source software license (MIT, BSD 3-clause, Apache 2.0, LGPL 2.1 or 3, GPL 2+ or 3+).

Re:No, copyright is about copying (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | 1 year,12 days | (#44299657)

A common interpretation is that copies from storage to RAM are copies, and thus, you have to get a copyright holder's permission to run the software. I HATE this interpretation, I think it's a vile distortion of the original intent.

Which is why 17 USC 117 [cornell.edu] exists. It's pretty clear that 117(a)(1) in intended to refers to a copy in RAM, but it's worded vaguely enough that it could refer to copies installed to a hard disk during installation as well.

Make no mistake, in US Copyright law, a EULA exists to take the end user's rights away, not give them permission to run the program.

Re:No, copyright is about copying (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | 1 year,12 days | (#44300175)

Note to self: Read entire parent post before replying.

Re:No, you can't use it. (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | 1 year,12 days | (#44299579)

> Copyright is about distribution.

No, its about copying (which is why its called "copyright" and not "distributionright".)

Re:No, you can't use it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44296047)

How big of a difference must you have before a fork is considered a fork and not a clone?

Re:No, you can't use it. (1)

DickBreath (207180) | 1 year,12 days | (#44297525)

Forking may involve at least two of the rights that belong exclusively to the copyright owner.
1. Copying
2. Derivative Works

Re:No, you can't use it. (1)

Njovich (553857) | 1 year,12 days | (#44295917)

They don't have to grant a 'use' right. There is no such thing as a 'use' right. Why would you not be allowed to use it? Do you live in North Korea with some insane laws or such?

Re:No, you can't use it. (1)

r_a_trip (612314) | 1 year,12 days | (#44296387)

*** Why would you not be allowed to use it? ***

Because to make effective use of the code on github, you have to make a copy of it. You duplicate what is on github and store it on a different medium. This, for the purpose of copyright, constitutes a copy and that is strictly forbidden without permission.

So no license, no duplication, as you don't have the permission to make the duplicate. That is copyright in most countries and under the Berne Convention. So we all live in a draconian regime when it comes to sharing intellectual works.

Re:No, you can't use it. (1)

dwheeler (321049) | 1 year,12 days | (#44297083)

US law, as interpreted by many courts.

The copyright law doesn't have a "use" right per se, but under many US districts making a copy from storage to RAM is considered a copy, and thus running software is forbidden unless specifically permitted by the copyright holder. You can thank the horrifically bad ruling "MAI Systems Corp. v. Peak Computer, Inc., 991 F.2d 511 (9th Cir. 1993)" for this travesty. See my post above for more.

Misleading on substance of MAI Systems v. Peak (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | 1 year,12 days | (#44299761)

This is a misleading statement of the holding in MAI Systems v. Peak Computer; at the time, US software law already had an exception for the owner of a copy of a copyright-protected work making a copy as necessary to use the work (as is the case with making a copy to RAM from storage), which was put in place specifically because this kind of thing was clearly viewed as copying before MAI Systems even if it had never been an issue in a case; the real substantive issue with regard to copyright law was that Peak was *not* the owner of the copies in the machines storage, since it was a third-party repair/maintenance firm. (And, a new exception was created specifically to address this case in response to the MAI Systems v. Peak ruling.)

Re: No, you can't use it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44297667)

I would argue an implicit license in court. But forcing explicit licenses is better.

I think it would be hard to argue that posting source code to github without a license doesn't grant a whole list of implicit rights, including using and modifying.

Re:I'm surprised (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | 1 year,12 days | (#44295249)

You're failing to appreciate the contempt people have for copyright law. It's all just "blah blah blah".

Contempt for copyright law (3, Insightful)

dwheeler (321049) | 1 year,12 days | (#44295353)

We can thank the RIAA and MPAA for the contempt many people have for copyright law. And I agree that copyright law needs a serious overhaul.

But releasing code without a copyright license isn't "sticking it to the man", it's polluting the world with software that is not legal for users to use. Even if YOU won't sue, no one can be sure of that. If you die (see: Seth Vidal), whoever controls your estate can sue your users.

Releasing software without a license is just another way of setting up an extortion scam. It may be unintentional, but that's still the effect. We already have patent trolls, porn trolls, and so. Really, we have enough extortion scams, thank you.

Re:Contempt for copyright law (1)

odigity (266563) | 1 year,12 days | (#44296711)

Just remember that you're blaming the victim.

I didn't create the government or it's absurd copyright laws. When I post some code with no license, I'm not the one threatening to sue. I'm not the one creating a situation where you have to constantly fear me suing no matter how much I assure I won't.

So now I have to go and slap a stupid label on my shit just so that you can feel safe and stop poking me with your but-the-government stick.

The fact is, you're bitching at developers for not using licenses because you *can*. Unlike the real villain of this piece, OSS developers are small enough for you to bully.

tl;dr: "If you don't do this, massa might beat me, and that makes me mad at YOU!"

Re:Contempt for copyright law (1)

DickBreath (207180) | 1 year,12 days | (#44297613)

I didn't create the government or it's absurd copyright laws. When I post some code with no license, I'm not the one threatening to sue. I'm not the one creating a situation where you have to constantly fear me suing no matter how much I assure I won't.

You are right. It's not your fault. Yet the situation exists and is unlikely to change.

You write:

. . . . you have to constantly fear me suing no matter how much I assure I won't.

Let me make it easy for you. If you don't care what people do with your code, just slap a BSD or MIT style license on it. Pick one. You only have to do it once. Nobody will then fear you suing them. You won't have to continually assure anyone. The license itself IS that continuous assurance that you will not sue.

So it sounds like your last sentence is actually complaining about something that you can easily fix. But I'll say it again. You are right that it is a sad situation that the world has bad people in it and they cause you inconvenience.

Re:Contempt for copyright law (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44298235)

So it sounds like your last sentence is actually complaining about something that you can easily fix.

As should be obvious to anyone having any experience in software development, a hack is not a fix. Just because it works doesn't make it right.

Patching worldwide laws (1)

dwheeler (321049) | 1 year,12 days | (#44300301)

A hack is not a fix, true. The fix (from this viewpoint) is to change all copyright laws, worldwide, so that the default is no copyright. That will not happen in less than 20 years, and I bet it'll take even longer. If it even happens.

Would your users rather you "hack in" a solution now, by adding a license file? Or would your users rather wait 20+ years, with no guarantee it'll ever get fixed, and risk getting sued?

I don't even think it's a hack. All you're doing is making it clear to everyone what they can do. That's making things clearer, not a hack.

what if i cannot choose a single license? (1)

nevbear666 (1530271) | 1 year,12 days | (#44295057)

lets say i wrote something, included code from proprietary but free to use in private, and want my own sourcecode to be gpl'd?

Re:what if i cannot choose a single license? (2)

gl4ss (559668) | 1 year,12 days | (#44295121)

you'll need to distribute them somehow separated anyhow then.

Re:what if i cannot choose a single license? (1)

Njovich (553857) | 1 year,12 days | (#44295193)

The pirate bay? Depending on how you would do this, this is not compatible with GPL.

Re:what if i cannot choose a single license? (1)

Gwala (309968) | 1 year,12 days | (#44295217)

Anyone redistributing your code (e.g. Github, Sourceforge, etc.) would be in violation of the GPL.

You would only be able to redistribute your code under something more permissive - the LGPL would probably be OK, if you built a library-level barrier between them; but really for everyone's sake - just pick MIT/BSD/Apache.

Re:what if i cannot choose a single license? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | 1 year,12 days | (#44295297)

Is it his responsibility what other people are in violation of if they redistribute his code?

Re:what if i cannot choose a single license? (1)

Immerman (2627577) | 1 year,12 days | (#44296547)

That depends. If he has integrated proprietary code into software that he releases under the GPL without having acquired the rights to do so then then he's committing fraud. If on the other hand he is releasing code under the GPL that requires libraries incompatible with the GPL then he's just being a bit of a jerk*, as it then becomes impossible for anyone else to redistribute working code/binaries without replacing the proprietary components with a GPL compatible alternative. As such it's less likely that someone would wish to collaborate.

* only a bit of a jerk - he is still giving away his own code under the GPL after all. It's possible that parts of it are still useful enough in and of themselves that someone might extract them for use in another project, but its probably not realistic to expect that.

Either way in such a situation the GPL probably isn't the license to use.

Re:what if i cannot choose a single license? (1)

nevbear666 (1530271) | 1 year,12 days | (#44298465)

thank you and all the others for the heads up. i think i may have to remove the 3rd party from my project then.

Re:what if i cannot choose a single license? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | 1 year,12 days | (#44298409)

No it wouldn't, moron.

He can do what the fuck ever he wants with his own code, even if its GPL'd. GPL'd code applies to people other than the copyright owner. You really need to get a clue.

And they block screwball licenses, YAY!!!! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44295151)

We've seen what happens with screwball licenses: anyone remember why qmail, djbdns, and daemontools never made it into major software distributions, despite being noticeably better than their alternatives? Because Dan J. Bernstein saddled them with a license where you couldn't publish your modified code or binaries from it, you had to publish *his* source and your diffs against it and let people build their own binaries locally. He finally got a clue and released it all as public domain, but it was too late. Inferior products (such as Postfix, BIND, and systemd) had evolved to the point where it wasn't worth investing any effort in Dan's technically and conceptually superior tools. I was in a stack of meetings where I had to explain that we couldn't get vendor support from those tools on our operating systems because Dan's license prohibited the vendors from shipping the tools.

Hooray for reducing license wackiness!!!!!

Re:And they block screwball licenses, YAY!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44296251)

but it was too late

Well not quite true, they can be found in major distributions now:
http://packages.debian.org/daemontools
http://packages.debian.org/qmail

So you're still free to use them now if you want to, if there really is a use-case for using them over the alternatives.

Re:And they block screwball licenses, YAY!!!! (1)

DickBreath (207180) | 1 year,12 days | (#44297669)

It was never too late if you wanted to be the oddball.

But it IS too late for this to now ever become mainstream. Or if it does become mainstream, it will take time. The license wackiness was a disservice to everyone. It may not have been intended that way. But that was the net effect.

Re:And they block screwball licenses, YAY!!!! (2)

RevDisk (740008) | 1 year,12 days | (#44296427)

I used qmail for a surprisingly long period of time. It's good, but I got the feeling he thought "This is perfect, no updates". Great security, good architecture, not great on diverse functionality. Had to move to postfix to support as many virtual domains as I was running.

I could have modified qmail, but postfix did that I wanted out of the box and just needed the right config files.

So, I wouldn't say licensing alone was the problem with DJB's projects. But that surely did not help. The guy seems very brilliant, and very set in his ways being the best ways so not making much allowances for different ways. Guy does write very secure software, my hat's off to him.

Re:And they block screwball licenses, YAY!!!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44296665)

Bernstein project were ignored because he wanted to run everything through daemontools, which UNIX did not need. Reporting bugs would be ignored, ever try it, he'd just delete the emails. He never bothers to respond, even a courtesy "thanks for the info", or "already fixed in next version", just silence. That is why the community gave up with him and his pet projects.

Re:And they block screwball licenses, YAY!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44297193)

Postfix is not inferior to qmail. I thought it was until the first customer had me replace a qmail installation with Postfix about ten years ago. The first thing that jumped out at me was that the load average dropped to a third of what it was under qmail. I would have bet a very large amount of money that qmail was more efficient, but it isn't.

The next thing I noticed was how easy it was to do all kinds of anti-spam and anti-abuse things that were just impossible with qmail.

Finally as a programmer I looked at the source code for Postfix. I had always known that the qmail code looked like dog vomit, but frankly most open source code looks like that. The Postfix code however looks like it was written by professional programmers. At that point I was hooked and I've never installed qmail again.

Re:And they block screwball licenses, YAY!!!! (2)

BitZtream (692029) | 1 year,12 days | (#44298475)

Right, thats why no one really uses his stuff.

Not because it was less than useful for anything than your personal domain.

His tools are far from technically superior since they dont' do things required that the others do. Used them all, they have their place, they are not the end all of solutions, they in fact don't fit most situations once you dig under the surface just a bit.

No need for copyright notice on every file (3)

mounthood (993037) | 1 year,12 days | (#44295195)

They also imply it is entirely optional to actually note your copyright in your files, when it is really bad practice not to unless you really want to make it impossible for people to understand the copyright history when e.g. merging your code into another project.

No need for copyright notice on every file, a single LICENSE file is enough. If people want to merge files or copy parts of the code, then they can note the licensing. This attitude isn't helping when you imply that people aren't doing enough, even when they write open source code and license it appropriately.

Copyright notice on every file: smart (1)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | 1 year,12 days | (#44295327)

Releasing software as free software is always good, but noting a file's copyright status in that file is simple and it's much easier for the author to do.

The author can write "Copyright, 2013, me, released under GPLv3 or any later version". It's much harder for someone else to confidently write that, and it's hard to be confident of a file's copyright if the author of the copyright notice is some unrelated third-party.

Then there's the problem of mistakes. If the author makes a mistake in his copyright notice, she says oops, silly me, I've fixed it now. If someone else makes that mistake you get a flame war about hostile takeovers and passing of MY software as being licence X when it's really licence Y.

I mean, were talking about twenty seconds of effort here per file that you'll spend hours writing. It's not worth creating legal problems for other people.

Re:No need for copyright notice on every file (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | 1 year,12 days | (#44296007)

Not having a license on every file is a colossal pain for people wanting to take part of your code and integrate it into something else. I recently went through this with OpenIndiana: they wanted to take some of my code from another project and include it in their libc. This is fine - the license I'm using is more permissive than their libc so there's no legal problem - but I'd forgotten to include the license text in the file, I'd only put it in a LICENSE file in the repository root. Keeping track of the license for one file that is different from the others in the project imposes a burden for them and, without the copyright in the file, potentially means that others will grab that file and think it's under a different license.

In short: Please put licenses in files. It makes life much easier for anyone wanting to use your code. If you don't want people to use your code, then you can save effort by not publishing it in the first place.

Re:No need for copyright notice on every file (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44296581)

Since it is colossal pain in the ass for you to add that license on top of files you use, library author should add the license on top of every single file he wrote?

If you want license on top of files you use, just add it there. You will still have the same or less work with it then library author would and your need to have it there is not that common.

The library author already saved you a lot of time by giving away the library.

Re:No need for copyright notice on every file (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | 1 year,12 days | (#44297341)

The problem is, adding a copyright notice when you are not the copyright holder is legally dubious, and so if there isn't one in the file you have to maintain the license information separately. This leads to a load of LICENSE.GPL, LICENSE.LGPL, LICENSE.BSD, and so on files in your tree, and separate lists of which files each relate to. It saves everyone time to just stick your license template in the top of every new file that you create.

Re:No need for copyright notice on every file (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | 1 year,12 days | (#44298959)

When you modify the file to add the license header you create a derivative work and is now a copyright holder to that work. Not a sole copyright holder, but a copyright holder; and can add your own license as long as it is compatible with the terms in the upstream license. I'm now guessing wildly.

licence choices hard to be non-ambiguous (2)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | 1 year,12 days | (#44295197)

The lack of mention of GPLv3's patent-fighting provisions is the major bungle.

It's hard to find a good name for non-copyleft licences since there are various versions of "the BSD" licence, and some are non-free. "MIT" is also ambiguous since that university surely has written various licences. "The licence of X Windows" is non-ambiguous, but not very recognisable.

LGPLv3 is the only other licence I'd considering adding to that mix, with a link to FSF's own Why you shouldn't use the Lesser GPL for your next library [gnu.org] . It would be good to encourage the AGPLv3 too, but that could be an opt-in checkbox in a later screen.

Re:licence choices hard to be non-ambiguous (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44295317)

you shouldn't use the Lesser GPL for your next library

Yes, because when I'm writing a library, what I want most of all is for fewer people to be able to use it.

If anything, the LGPL should be used more often; it's a nice balance between the onerous GPL and the overly permissive BSD license.

When and why use LGPL... and when not (1)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | 1 year,12 days | (#44295417)

Anon wrote:
> ...when I'm writing a library, what I want most of all is...

The LGPL is a tactical compromise. The aim is to get as many people using that library, but still encourage those software developers to contribute to free software projects.

It's an admission that a firmer stance is likely to backfire.

Conversely, when a firmer stance won't backfire, when it will instead lead to more people contributing to free software, then compromising is needless and self-defeating.

For example, Glibc is LGPL'd because FSF knows that if it was GPL'd, then some Unix vendor would push projects to ignore Glibc and use their proprietary libc instead. That would be a loss, so FSF compromised and used the LGPL so that Glibc will still be used, even by companies that don't want to contribute to free software.

It's a good essay, worth a read: https://www.gnu.org/licenses/why-not-lgpl.en.html [gnu.org]

Re:When and why use LGPL... and when not (2)

Rosyna (80334) | 1 year,12 days | (#44295595)

For example, Glibc is LGPL'd because FSF knows that if it was GPL'd, then some Unix vendor would push projects to ignore Glibc and use their proprietary libc instead.

As opposed to using the free libc that's part of clang/LLVM?

Re:When and why use LGPL... and when not (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | 1 year,12 days | (#44296027)

Clang/LLVM does not include any libc. All of the BSDs, however, ship their own (BSD licensed) libc. The libc in Android is mostly code from FreeBSD libc.

Why copyleft is important, and LLVM helps Apple (1)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | 1 year,12 days | (#44296167)

> As opposed to using the free libc that's part of clang/LLVM?

Apple and other proprietary software companies would love everyone to move to LLVM. That's why Apple's funding it: LLVM's success benefits Apple (and other companies that don't want to compete against free software).

Funding LLVM is a tactical compromise that Apple was forced into. FSF's use of the LGPL succeeded in making it too hard to get everyone to move away from free software, so Apple has to settle for undermining the copyleft system that encourages people to contribute to free software.

Apple's doing an embrace, extend, extinguish.
1. We love this free software compiler. We fund it. It's free. We're friends.
2. We've developed an amazing extension module. It's proprietary but it's sooo slick.
3. Sure, everyone has the choice of using the free code. It makes slower binaries and doesn't support modern debugging and won't work on our latest hardware, but it's still there.

If we want free software to exist in ten or twenty years time, we have to support copyleft today.

Re:Why copyleft is important, and LLVM helps Apple (1)

samkass (174571) | 1 year,12 days | (#44297969)

This post is supported by zero evidence. Apple moved to LLVM because gcc moved to GPLv3 which is incompatible with the way most software companies do business. They've released anything and everything related to it under BSD license so anyone can fork any of it at any time. You can even download and recompile your MacOS X [apple.com] kernel [apple.com] from source if you want to using completely open source tools [apple.com] . Apple is one of the more prolific open source contributors out there, including Bonjour, WebKit, stream servers, C extensions, LLVM, clang, streaming media servers, their entire UNIX stack, and many small bits here and there. They just don't to GPL, so some people try to make a religious argument against them and throw unsupported allegations around.

Re:Why copyleft is important, and LLVM helps Apple (1)

icebraining (1313345) | 1 year,12 days | (#44298265)

They just don't to GPL

They actually do, since they publish CUPS, though with proprietary exceptions.

Re:Why copyleft is important, and LLVM helps Apple (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | 1 year,12 days | (#44299363)

More specifically they don't do GPLv3, but has no direct problem with using and contributing to GPLv2.

Re:Why copyleft is important, and LLVM helps Apple (0)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | 1 year,12 days | (#44298287)

> GPLv3 which is incompatible with the way most software companies do business

Marketing FUD. What part of GPLv3 is anti-business? The part that says you can't give someone software and then sue them for patent infringement when they use it?

> They've released anything and everything related to it under BSD license

Apple's approach to free software is to use the BSD licence for stuff that already exists elsewhere (makes them look good and they get others to maintain it for free) and use a proprietary licence for the vast majority of code that would have contributed new functionality to the free software community.

Prime example: FreeBSD. I can download the kernel. Great. But we already had five highly functional kernels, including one that's clearly more functional, and the FreeBSD kernel was available for download before Apple came along anyway.

Has Apple brought FreeBSD to a higher level? Nope. Have they profited massively from the free labour? Yep.

Re:Why copyleft is important, and LLVM helps Apple (3)

BitZtream (692029) | 1 year,12 days | (#44298793)

Marketing FUD. What part of GPLv3 is anti-business?

All of it, its viruslike nature that requires it to infect anything associated with it is why businesses want nothing to do with it. This is by design of your glorious leader RMS, it is intentional because he's a tree hugging hippie who forgets that someone has to actually work so his fat ass can eat.

Has Apple brought FreeBSD to a higher level? Nope. Have they profited massively from the free labour? Yep.

Seriously? You know absolutely nothing about this conversation do you?

The Apple kernel is in no way related to FreeBSD. Its a Mach kernel. A small portion of the FreeBSD Userland provides the 'unix' feel under the hood of OSX.

Apple did however contribute back FBSD's current USB stack. Contributed SMP code that removed the giant kernel lock, filesystem journaling came from darwin, superpages, dtrace support, ARM support, support for more than 16TB of ram, pure 64 bit support.

But heres the thing ... BSD licensed people ... give for free without silly virus like catches that come with GPL.

FreeBSD doesnt' EXPECT anything back, its not a false openness that really translates to 'If I show you mine, you have to show the entire world yours too!', BSD is a 'heres mine, enjoy, do whatever you want with it.'

Its the difference between giving and pretending to give with expectations on return.

You really have no clue. I haven't even listed the entire OSS projects that apple pretty much eats the maintenance costs for that you certainly benefit from, its not a short list.

You pretend to give, but what you really are doing is bartering for source code using something other than money then pretending to be on some holy God-sent quest of enlightenment. You're just a fake.

Re:Why copyleft is important, and LLVM helps Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44300671)

0/10, see me after class.

- Boom shanka, Professor Troll

Re:Why copyleft is important, and LLVM helps Apple (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | 1 year,12 days | (#44299521)

> What part of GPLv3 is anti-business?

The market-based restrictions on hardware products are anti-business (except in the B2B market that they exclude from the restrictions.)

Re:Why copyleft is important, and LLVM helps Apple (1)

BitZtream (692029) | 1 year,12 days | (#44298613)

Uhm, Apple HAS moved to LLVM, an OS release ago.

LGPL and GPL have succeeded in driving most businesses away from it due to fears of being sued by some asshole. That in and of itself is why GPL'd software is losing. You guys and your 'we're open ... but only open in a way that benefits us from your work!' Its a faux openness.

Apple is going to have a hard time extinguishing something they don't own. Your statements are as retarded as saying Apple can extinguish GCC.

Its REALLY fucking hard to make slower binaries than GCC. I do not know ANY compiler on the planet that produces code as slow as GCC. You are sorely mistaken if you think GCC is something special in that respect.

Please explain how apple is going to destroy a project that they contribute to, but do not own. Are they going to invent a time machine that goes back and some how changes the license on existing code?

Re:Why copyleft is important, and LLVM helps Apple (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | 1 year,12 days | (#44299139)

And just to point out. Just because Apple isn't interested in gcc anymore and doesn't ship with it doesn't mean that you can't use it. Gcc works just fine on OS X, even modern versions.

Re:When and why use LGPL... and when not (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44295609)

No, I read the essay, I just don't agree with it. Licensing your library as GPL so that only free* software developers get to link to it feels to me to be the same as licensing some software tool with a "if you write proprietary software you may not use this tool" license.

Take git, for example. Let's say hypothetically, git came with a license that stated that it may only be used to manage source control on free* software projects and may not be used as a source control tool for proprietary software. Would that make it "more free", or "less free"?

The LGPL says, effectively, that if you make modifications to my open source library, you must distribute those modifications as open source, but if you just use my library as is (or even if you modify it and distribute just those modifications), you don't have to open your whole codebase just because my library touched it. I like that; it feels like a fair deal to me. I don't feel comfortable demanding that people who use my tools start releasing code that I had nothing to do with. That's like writing a text editor and then demanding that any source code written in that text editor is licensed GPL. It feels coercive and unfair.

And moreover, the library-vs-process thing is fairly arbitrary anyway. I mean, if you release some command-line-driven tool as GPL, and my proprietary code calls exec() or system() or whatever to launch your program, obviously I don't then have to release my code as GPL as well. But if I'm making a call against your C API, rather than your "sh API", I suddenly do. What's up with that?

The FSF sometimes has a tendency to "take a firm stance for freedom" that forgets what freedom actually is. The whole "GFDL invariant sections" thing is another example. RMS says that he needed to keep that in the license so that people wouldn't be able to remove his manifesto from modified versions of his documentation. Well, okay, you wrote the documentation so you get to pick the license, but that's less free, not more free. Don't piss on my shoes and tell me that it's raining.

[*"free" as the term is interpreted by the FSF, for the purposes of this discussion]

Is the GPL fair for libraries? I say yes (1)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | 1 year,12 days | (#44296349)

Copyright doesn't allow your git or text editor examples, but I would agree that those two situations would be wrong. Tools shouldn't be able to tell users what they can do. It'd be like pencil's coming with terms and conditions.

But it's also not true that GPL'ing a library would cause its terms to apply to code you had nothing to do with. The third-party coder has a choice: write his own library, or use yours and share-alike. That's just fair. Nobody's forced.

If proprietary developers can ask for payment in the same conditions, why is it wrong for freedom coders to ask for a code contribution that's going to be shared with everyone? It's not even selfish.

LGPL isn't about being fair, it's about doing less for freedom in certain circumstances when we're in a weak bargaining position.

Re:Is the GPL fair for libraries? I say yes (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | 1 year,12 days | (#44299099)

It actually does. I guess it might depend on which jurisdiction you're in but usually you as a copyright holder can set any term you like, more or less. Some software is even licensed different specifically for open source work, like for example IntelliJ IDEA which you usually have to pay for but can get it for free if you're using it for open source. That's the same way that Microsoft can sell you a cheaper copy of Office which you agree should not be used commercially.

Re:When and why use LGPL... and when not (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | 1 year,12 days | (#44299439)

If you're at the point where you have to compromise then why don't you just use something like BSD or Apache? Free but still restrictive like LGPL sounds like a really bad compromise which just complicated things.

GPL 3 shouldn't be suggested to newbies (4, Insightful)

raymorris (2726007) | 1 year,12 days | (#44295209)

I don't think it's "regrettably" that the classic GPL (v2) is featured over v3. Many, many GPL projects have decided v3 is a bad license, so newbies shouldn't be pushed in that direction.

    The wording of the patent clause is broader than most of those who participated in the drafting intended, in a way that could be problematic for most companies. The GNU project themselves, the creators of GPL. v3, have had to disavow the plain language of the license, claiming it doesn't say what it does.

I think most people intended that if you release code under GPL, you give up patent rights related to the code you contribute. The wording is broader than that, though. The way GPL3 is actually worded, if a company contributes to any GPL project a third party can use that project to nullify other patents from some other division of the company, arguably. The issue hasn't been tested in court, but it's enough of a risk that many companies won't touch GPLv3 code. It could cost Apple, Samsung, or Google tens of millions of dollars if that loophole allowed competitors to nullify their patents, rather than having to cross-license them.

Re:GPL 3 shouldn't be suggested to newbies (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44295245)

It could also be argued that hiring you as a consultant means I get to spend weekends with your mother and a can of spray cheese. It's about as sensible, if you actually read the GPLv3.

Re:GPL 3 shouldn't be suggested to newbies (1)

Immerman (2627577) | 1 year,12 days | (#44296661)

But what does sensibility have to do with law? As a rule a law ceases to function as intended and begins to function as lawyers can twist the wording about five seconds after being passed. Contracts/licenses/etc are distorted similarly any time one of the participants deals in bad faith.

It's not a desirable situation, but until the reality changes "in the trenches" it must be dealt with as-is.

Re:GPL 3 shouldn't be suggested to newbies (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | 1 year,12 days | (#44295699)

I think most people intended that if you release code under GPL, you give up patent rights related to the code you contribute. The wording is broader than that, though. The way GPL3 is actually worded, if a company contributes to any GPL project a third party can use that project to nullify other patents from some other division of the company, arguably.

How is that exactly? The definition of "essential patent rights" is

A contributor's "essential patent claims" are all patent claims owned or controlled by the contributor, whether already acquired or hereafter acquired, that would be infringed by some manner, permitted by this License, of making, using, or selling its contributor version, but do not include claims that would be infringed only as a consequence of further modification of the contributor version.

I suppose that if I'm playing devil's advocate you could have a patented algorithm in one division and another division contributes to LibreOffice Calc, then someone else implements that algorithm in a spreadsheet and says "Hey, I haven't modified the code so your patent grant now includes this algorithm" but it sounds extremely contrived.

Github makes the problem far more likely (1)

raymorris (2726007) | 1 year,12 days | (#44298923)

We're speaking in the context of Github. Github, specifically, makes the improbable "exploit" of this loophole much more probable. Maybe not particularly
likely, but likely enough to be a risk that should be considered.

As part of my job, I contribute to an open source project, using Github. I sync my Github to upstream so it's up to date, and commit our changes to it.
That way, our contributions are publicly accessible. In fact, they are publicly accessible in the context of a complete copy which includes our contributions.
That last sentence is key. What Github users publish on Github is a copy of the devel branch with their contributions added (but also including all contributions
from anyone else, including contributions not yet approved for the release version.)

Suppose I work for SpaceX, maintaining the SpaceX blog via Wordpress.
Using Github, I make our contributions to Wordpress public (as part of a complete Wordpress devel tree.)

Someone else at SpaceX invented a widget which is patented.

Orbital Science, a SpaceX competitor, could commit a Wordpress plugin which somehow relates to the patent.
My Github would automatically fetch their commit.
Now my company, SpaceX, is distributing code related to the patent, without ever having heard of Orbital Science's plugin.
Our patent is therefore nullified by the terms of GPLv3, if Wordpress were GPLv3.
That's WHY Wordpress is not GPLv3, but GPLv2, because v3 says:

Each contributor (SpaceX) grants you a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free patent license under the contributor's essential patent claims, to make, use, sell, offer for sale, import and otherwise run, modify and propagate the contents of its contributor version (including the Orbital Science plugin they've never heard of, but which was automatically mirrored).

Note that the license includes the right to modify it, such as by deleting 99% of it, leaving only the Orbital Science code, without any other part of Wordpress.
Therefore, Orbital Science can force SpaceX to license their code just by doing a Github commit to any project that SpaceX has a Github for.

Is it likely that Orbital Science would do that? Would some judges follow the actual text of the license and allow OR to pull that trick?
Maybe, maybe not. If you've committed $20 million in R&D to _anything_ you have a patent on, would you want to risk a competitor doing a sneaky trick like that?

One defensive solution, if you HAVE to contribute to a GPLv3 project, is to explicitly leave copyright with the individual author, who publishes it on his personal Github rather than having the company post it on Github. Assuming the author doesn't have any patents and never will, that works okay.

Advantage over other source hosting services? (2)

ta_gueule (2795275) | 1 year,12 days | (#44295241)

I'm using SourceForge.net and am happy with it, although there are some minor things I don't like about it: heavy use of JavaScript, the web layout is weak (size set in pixels, no attention made to accessibility, etc...) but overall I didn't find anything better short of hosting myself. I considered Google code, Launchpad, Savannah and Github and found SF.net to be the most complete and advanced source hosting service. I found some advantages in using Google code, Launchpad and Savannah. I'm using Launchpad for translations, since it's the only one that does it. Launchpad is nice because it can sync with an external SCM like SF.net. I found Google code to be less featured but I like the clean layout and overall site performance. Savannah is poorly featured too but does not have advert and is very clean. I found Github to be like SF.net, with the same weak points but less featured. I'm curious to know why people would use Github. Is there any advantage over SF.net?

Re:Advantage over other source hosting services? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44295477)

Have you tried BitBucket?

Re:Advantage over other source hosting services? (1)

ta_gueule (2795275) | 1 year,12 days | (#44297691)

I just looked it up on the web. It's a no-go because:
  1. Only the trial version is free. With more than 5 users, it cost money.
  2. The code is private, there do not seem to be a way to share it

It's not the same service. I would maybe consider it for proprietary software but it does not replace SF.net or Github.

Re:Advantage over other source hosting services? (1)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | 1 year,12 days | (#44297769)

Well I could be wrong, but I believe SourceForge doesn't support private repositories. With Github, you can move a repository you own between public and private as you please (as long as you pay for the privilege of making a repo private). Github also seems to be oriented around developers more than it is around projects, as a result of being a 'social' tool.

GPL 3 is just toxic hippy cult nonsense (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44295285)

No one in their right mind would want to use it if they actually want their code to be reused. If they want it to sit there like a trap for others, it's a different story. Its a shame political agenda gets the better of some people. Corporations spend vast amounts developing code that they give away freely, and yet they don't opt for this kind of strong-arming - because they know it doesn't work.

Explicit licensing, eh? (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | 1 year,12 days | (#44295289)

"By downloading this software, you agree that you will gawk while I unzip, touch, head, and fsck some tail ..."

Simple... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | 1 year,12 days | (#44295451)

Default to BSD license or Public domain. Simply run a query that if one is not set, set it to Public domain.

That will fix everything.

Re:Simple... (3, Informative)

ta_gueule (2795275) | 1 year,12 days | (#44295505)

Not sure they can. I don't think Github get to decide what license to apply to the code they host. The code belongs to the author until he grants Github a license. If the user doesn't do it explicitly, I'm afraid Github is distributing the code illegally. I don't think Github is allowed to add a public domain license file by default.

Re:Simple... (1)

rioki (1328185) | 1 year,12 days | (#44296195)

True and false. Through the TOS of github you grant github and it's users the right to view and fork the code; github and it's users are ok; as long as it is done in the context of github. The moment some user clones the repository locally, your start to get in the domain, where the license of the project becomes relevant. Here is the point where all the critique came from, viewing the code on the website ok, viewing on you machine, mabe ok, unsure, alliterating one bit or processing it, not ok.

Re:Simple... (1)

mlippert (526036) | 1 year,12 days | (#44298037)

Github could require a particular license for pubic repositories if they wanted. I actually think it might even be a good idea. Not a specific license, but requiring that public repo's must specify one of a particular set of "open" licenses.

They would probably have to implement this by requiring that a license be specified for any newly created public repository, and by giving existing public repositories a deadline by which they would have to specify a license or be "disabled". Disabled as in no one can push/pull or fork the repository.

The hardest part I think is going to be existing forks of disabled repositories. Actually even going forward I'm not sure what that means. Does the "owner" of a fork get to change the license on github? What does that mean? Damn, copyright is a godawful mess and I would like it to be very different, but at the very least I'd like copyright to only apply to registered items like it did before the 1986 Berne Convention (see the wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] ) and require a copyright notice.

Re:Simple... (1)

BitZtream (692029) | 1 year,12 days | (#44298875)

That would be illegal in every possible way.

All content created in America is explicitly copyrighted, all rights reserved by the author.

Github has absolutely no authority to change that, the only reason this topic is even in play is because the shear number of people who completely fail to understand copyright, such as yourself, think there needs to be some 'default'.

There already is a default, and its not there so you get other peoples works because they forgot to tell you that you can't.

Its not your code, you don't get to decide what gets done with it.

OSI License Chooser? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | 1 year,12 days | (#44295969)

Can somebody point to (or write) an open source license chooser?

Heck, back in 1998, I got a dog and Excite had a dog breed chooser at the time that was useful. There are also useful ones for cell phones. I'm guessing that if it existed already GitHub would have used it, but if that's not so, they should know about it.

how hard do you want it to be? (1)

Chirs (87576) | 1 year,12 days | (#44296503)

In the simple case:

If you don't care what others do with it, make it public domain.
If you want recognition and copyright but still have others able to use it, make it BSD.
If you want others to get access to changes people make in the code you wrote, make it LGPL
If you believe in the Free Software movement, make it GPL

Re:how hard do you want it to be? (2)

icebraining (1313345) | 1 year,12 days | (#44298301)

Don't make it public domain, because that's not valid everywhere. Use CC0 or WTFPL.

Re:how hard do you want it to be? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44299797)

Copyright (and therefore CC0 and WTFPL) is not valid everywhere. In general, copyright is only valid in places where there is a sufficiently large (human) population that cares about copyright.

evalimine (1)

vikingpower (768921) | 1 year,12 days | (#44296499)

Evalimine is a publication, on github, of the software the Estonian government uses for electronic voting. [github.com] Confusion has arisen on that project ( see the issues ) about the license the guys used who put that code on github: they chose Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License [creativecommons.org] which basically forbids forking. Strange.

Copyright notices in source files (1)

hammyhew (2729501) | 1 year,12 days | (#44296579)

They also imply it is entirely optional to actually note your copyright in your files, when it is really bad practice not to unless you really want to make it impossible for people to understand the copyright history when e.g. merging your code into another project.

I'm not going to shit up my code with copyright notices. I barely recognize copyright law as it is.

Re:Copyright notices in source files (1)

BitZtream (692029) | 1 year,12 days | (#44298917)

Awe, aren't you a such a cool rebel!

No, no you aren't, you're just a little kid trying to show us how you aren't conforming!@!@%!%#!#

Heres reality: You'll do what society demands, like it or not. You can 'not recognize' it all you want, and thats roughly the same as not recognizing water is wet ... all it does is makes it clear you're out of touch with reality.

Re:Copyright notices in source files (1)

hammyhew (2729501) | 1 year,12 days | (#44300655)

Awe, aren't you a such a cool rebel! No, no you aren't, you're just a little kid trying to show us how you aren't conforming!@!@%!%#!#

What? So you're saying that the reason I don't include copyright notices inside my source files is...so that I can stick it to the man? That's not the reason at all. Those copyright notices at the top of source files are an eyesore, and I do not wish to look at them. They are not code, they do not belong in the source files.

Heres reality: You'll do what society demands, like it or not.

Really? Here I am, not doing what the unnamed group you've determined to be representative of all of society says I should. Therefore, you're wrong.

Dragging newbies along kicking and screaming... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44296671)

I can't tell you the sheer number of hobby programmers who have no idea that that code they put on the internet to share can't actually be used by anyone until they go out and copy paste an appropriate license into their github.

Just look at Minecraft. Hundreds of mod projects on github, less than a quarter are licensed, even less have open source licenses.

"regrettably" (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | 1 year,12 days | (#44299401)

> but regrettably encourages the use of the GPLv2 (without the "or later version" clause)

The GPLv2 is a much simpler and easier-to-understand license without the market/use-based restrictions of the GPLv3, and the "or later version" clause allows other people to relicense your code with you having no control of the terms (it basically involves trusting whoever ends up running the FSF for the remainder of the copyright term of your code,

So, I don't think that encouraging the GPLv2 without the "or later version" clause is in any way regrettable.

This is ammo in my belt... (1)

Max Threshold (540114) | 1 year,12 days | (#44300689)

The cowboy contractor my company hired to write the first version of our flagship software used an unlicensed library he found on Github. (Actually there is a license file; it says "All Rights Reserved.") I've been trying to convince my bosses that this opens us to liability and we need to replace/rewrite that part of our app. But they're like... "whatever, it's open source."
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...