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Theo de Raadt On Relicensing BSD Code

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the read-the-berne-convention dept.

Programming 613

iBSD writes "KernelTrap has an interesting article in which Theo de Raadt discusses the legal implications of the recent relicensing of OpenBSD's BSD-licensed Atheros driver under the GPL. De Raadt says, 'it has been like pulling teeth since (most) Linux wireless guys and the SFLC do not wish to admit fault. I think that the Linux wireless guys should really think hard about this problem, how they look, and the legal risks they place upon the future of their source code bodies.' He stressed that the theory that BSD code can simply be relicensed to the GPL without making significant changes to the code is false, adding, 'in their zeal to get the code under their own license, some of these Linux wireless developers have broken copyright law repeatedly. But to even get to the point where they broke copyright law, they had to bypass a whole series of ethical considerations too.'"

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A couple more links: (3, Informative)

ak3ldama (554026) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589365)

here's the article on undeadly [undeadly.org] and and here's a synopsis from a misc post [marc.info] An excellent (and apparently sarcastic) quote:

Reyk can take them to court over this, but he must do it before the year 2047.

Re:A couple more links: (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20589877)

The followup comment by Theo [kerneltrap.org] that you mention is in the original linked article, but it's worth posting here in full as it simplifies the issue. In it, Theo states:

I recognize that writeup about the Atheros / Linux / SFLC story is a bit complex, so I wrote a very simple explanation to someone, and they liked it's clarity so much that they asked me to post it for everyone. Here it is (with a few more changes)
-----
starting premise:

you can already use the code as it is
steps taken:

1. pester developer for a year to get it under another license.

- get told no, repeatedly

2. climb over ethical fence

3. remove his license

- get caught, look a bit stupid

4. wrap his license with your own

- get caught, look really stupid

5. assert copyright under author's license, without original work

- get caught, look even more stupid

Right now the wireless linux developers -- aided by an entire team of evidently unskilled lawyers -- are at step 5, and we don't know what will happen next. We wait, to see what will happen.

Reyk can take them to court over this, but he must do it before the year 2047.

didn't openbsd do the same thing in reverse? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20589373)

I seem to recall a recent incident where the OpenBSD team was caught doing something similar. That they're reacting like scalded cats now seems to be in slightly poor taste, to put it mildly.

Re:didn't openbsd do the same thing in reverse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20589401)

Sour grapes for everyone!

Re:didn't openbsd do the same thing in reverse? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20589491)

I think so.

Personally, I want to stick Theo and RMS in a cage and see who lasts longest...

Re:didn't openbsd do the same thing in reverse? (5, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590093)

Personally, I want to stick Theo and RMS in a cage and see who lasts longest...

Interesting

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theo_de_Raadt [wikipedia.org]
vs.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Stallman [wikipedia.org]

Theo is younger (39 vs 54) and fitter than Stallman. More aggressive too - Stallman seems like a fat old hippy who'd go into the cage expecting to talk his way out of it. Theo's got a nasty streak and he'd instinctively grasp the rule that two men enter, one man leaves. Life's always been like that for Theo it's just that up to now the violence has been sublimated. Finally, even though he hides it well, the Winged Monkeys of proprietary software would help Theo if things got tough, especially against Stallman.

Re:didn't openbsd do the same thing in reverse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20590329)

You've obviously never read/heard some of Stallmans venomous and hateful rants have you. He's is very volently protective of his views, and agressvie in projecting them onto others.

Re:didn't openbsd do the same thing in reverse? (2, Informative)

teknopurge (199509) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589633)

Your comment is useless and trollesque without a link.

Re:didn't openbsd do the same thing in reverse? (4, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590085)

Here you go [undeadly.org] .

Note the difference in terms of how the Linux and OpenBSD communities handled that case.

  1. The Linux community waited until OpenBSD developers were violating copyrights before raising the issue. In this case, the OpenBSD people complained about a diff posted to a mailing list that hadn't even been accepted
  2. The Linux community raised the issue with two relevant mailing lists and a small group of other concerned parties. The OpenBSD people had the supposed BSD violation (that wasn't, because the diff hadn't been accepted at that stage) up on undeadly.org within 24 hours.
  3. The Linux community made no specific allegations, and offered help with completing the driver. The OpenBSD people have essentially insulted the Linux community throughout this discussion.
And on the defensive side:
  1. The OpenBSD community went through hoops to claim that there never was a copyright violation because, like, the guy who put the code in the CVS repository intended, like, to change it and stuff. The Linux community has generally refrained from claiming that, if accepted, the diffs wouldn't violate any copyrights, except to point out that Theo is overreaching in that some of the files can, actually, be relicensed because they're dual licensed (an argument Theo has tried to counter by making the bizarre claim that a dual licensed file with a specific statement saying that the license of the GPL can be used instead of the BSD license must perpetually remain under the BSD license.)
  2. The OpenBSD community, and Theo in particular, accused the Linux team of being "Inhuman". The Linux developers have made no such insults against their BSD accusers, despite having more cause to.

Further, to make things even more ridiculous, many on the BSD side claimed at the time of the bcw violation that this was somehow evidence that the BSD license was "superior" because it wasn't viral, and BSD code could be incorporated into Linux without violating any licenses. They're now arguing the exact opposite, some even claiming the BSD license is viral.

This is pretty straightforward. There are no infringing Linux kernels out there.

At the same time, the level of hysteria raised by the OpenBSD community, and the distortion of truth and double standards exhibited by its leadership, not to mention the insults and constant attempts to alienate similar groups, really raise serious questions as to OpenBSD's long term viability. Cooler heads need to prevail, and make a commitment to fork the project should its current leadership continue to spiral out of control.

OpenBSD is a respected operating system that is relied upon by communities and businesses across the world. It deserves, and demands, a stable leadership committed to creating the best operating system they can. The current OpenBSD leadership isn't that. This must change.

Re:didn't openbsd do the same thing in reverse? (1)

l4m3z0r (799504) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589751)

And the OpenBSD team admitted fault and corrected the situation. Or what are you implying that because they did something wrong first copyright law no longer applies to them. Two wrongs make a right?

irony (1, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589389)

If Theo didn't want people copying his code and redistributing it under another license, he should have used the GPL...

Sure, but (4, Insightful)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589469)

I think what he is trying to get at is, since the GPLers are so into the concept of 'freedom' of their license, and respecting it, why can't they offer the same level of respect to BSD license?

Instead, GPLers strip the license and replace it with a license that they feel is 'better', but incompatible with the BSD. If they had kept it BSD, they could use it with the GPL, and the BSD folks could still use any improvements made.

But again, no respect for the license. Following the letter of the law, true, but not the spirit. Geez, where have I heard that before ...

Re:Sure, but (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20589503)

They also removed the original author's copyright notice, which is wrong, no matter what you do with the license.

Re:Sure, but (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20589529)

The GPLers didn't strip the licence. The code was available under either licence. What gets me is that Theo De Raadt is arguing that both licences apply so they couldnt remove one. He seems to not realise that if both licences applied then they couldn't use the code in FreeBSD anyway because they would be bound by the GPL parts of the licence. Funny that they kicked him off the NetBSD team for being so hard to work with. I wonder why ...

Re:Sure, but (3, Insightful)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590011)

The code was available under either licence.


Some was, some wasn't. Jiri changed both. Regardless it's a moot point because he isn't the owner of the code, he cannot dictate the terms to the code. What he can do is choose which terms he wants to distribute under, but he cannot pass that code along and set the terms for the people he passes it to.

Before you reply, note that I'm talking about code that Jiri didn't write here. Code that he doesn't have any standing to set the terms on.

Re:Sure, but (3, Insightful)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589655)

This whole "controversy" makes absolutely no sense to me. Anyone can take BSD code, change it however they desire, and they don't have to give anything back if they don't want to. That's the whole *point* of the BSD license. The altered code can then be used in a closed source proprietary product if desired.

If a developer would like to make changes to BSD software but wants *their* contribution to be GPLed, more power to them.

Re:Sure, but (2, Insightful)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590335)

Anyone can take BSD code, change it however they desire, and they don't have to give anything back if they don't want to. That's the whole *point* of the BSD license. The altered code can then be used in a closed source proprietary product if desired.

Some versions of the BSD license have one requirement which GPL does not: an advertisment clause. That is any "advertisment" of the software (or reference to the software in literature) must mention "University of California, Berkeley and its contributors". Newer versions of the BSD license (post 1999) do not have this clause but a lot of code is still licensed using the old 4-clause BSD license.

Other than that, you are completely right.

Re:Sure, but (4, Informative)

B'Trey (111263) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589697)

Instead, GPLers strip the license and replace it with a license that they feel is 'better', but incompatible with the BSD.

Not really true. The issue is with software that is dual licensed - released under both BSD and GPL. The included license file says that the software may be distributed under either license at the users choice. The Linux developers chose to release it under the GPL, as they had every right to do. The problem is that they did not include the BSD license with their released code. Theo says that's a violation - they can not change the license in any way but must retain it exactly as the author released it. This leads to an absurd situation - both license, which are incompatible with one another, are simultaneously in effect. Note that the question of legality is orthogonal to the issue of the absurdity. Theo may very well be right, but so far I've seen no legal experts make the claim, nor have I seen Theo cite anything other than his own interpretation of the law to back up his claim.

I think the solution for coders who wish to release their code under both license is to provide two separate downloads - one with the BSD license, one with the GPL license - but that doesn't help here.

I believe that there was an issue with some code that was only BSD licensed being released under the GPL, and the kernel developers quickly acknowledged and corrected their error. What's left is the issue of dual licensed code, and this is a matter of legal interpretation, not disrespect of an author's intentions or intended copyright violation. The code being released under the GPL is modified code that was previously released under the GPL, so it's difficult to claim that the developers are violating the author's wishes by releasing their modifications of the original under the GPL.

Re:Sure, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20590087)

Theo may very well be right, but so far I've seen no legal experts make the claim, nor have I seen Theo cite anything other than his own interpretation of the law to back up his claim.

The funny bit: The last time he tried this slander, he said Eben Moglen was talking to the Linux guys, clearly implying that Eben was on his side, although reading between the lines, Eben told him to STFU. And now Theo has realised that Eben disagrees with him, Theo is telling the world that Eben Moglen doesn't know anything about copyright!

So when did you get your law degree then Theo? When did you last teach law at university? When did you last spend two decades specifically in the copyright field? I don't think there's many people more qualified than Eben Moglen to talk about copyright law, and Theo is, as always, slandering and thinking his opinion must be fact, even when the rest of the world and all available evidence clearly shows that he is clueless.

Added restrictions (2, Informative)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590121)

What traditionally has happened when proprietary UNIX'en redistribute modified BSD code is that they include the BSD copyright notice, and then add their own. The users then have to obey both the restrictions imposed by the original copyright, plus the restrictions imposed by the UNIX vendor

The "correct" way for the Linux hackers would be to do the same, include the original dual license text, but make a clear notice that the derived work can only be redistributed under the GPL.

Re:Sure, but (2, Insightful)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590245)

The included license file says that the software may be distributed under either license at the users choice. The Linux developers chose to release it under the GPL, as they had every right to do.


Read that and keep reading it until you can see the problem there.

(Hint: the license says what terms you can use to distribute. It doesn't give you the right to set the terms for the people downstream from you.)

Re:Sure, but (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589715)

BSD allows people to put their code into commercial, proprietary, closed-source applications and to charge the original authors money for the right to use that software. How is taking something that can be used that way and putting it under the GPL instead of under Microsoft's EULA against the license?

As far as I can tell, as long as the copyright notices and attributions are all intact, you're honoring the BSD license. The GPL people are at least letting BSD people use the code improvements as GPL, whereas closed-source people are pillaging it wholesale and not eltting anyone else use their improvements.

Now, as for the improvements, it is probably better for the GPL people who build on BSD code to release stuff dual BSD/GPL. That does kind of defeat the protections of the GPL, but further improvements from that point could go either way. That would give at least one generation of improvements back to the BSD folks.

Better yet, it'd be great to have a GPL option that allows people to relicense to BSD but not straight to closed-source code. If you don't use the option, it can't happen. If you do allow for the option, it can happen, but someone actually has to release something with their improvements as BSD before it can be taken from there into closed-source stuff. That would allow at least one generation of improvements back to both the BSD and GPL folks. It'd be an enforcement nightmare even compared to what exists now, though.

Re:Sure, but (2, Insightful)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590081)

Your correct but it doesn't make it right. GPL people should have enough respect to leave BSD licensed stuff BSD licensed. We aren't M$. Unfortunately this goes further. The code is a port not a rewrite, (this is arguable but...) Regardless, hard work went into making the BSD version and it was used to make the Linux version. IMHO they deserve the right to have it licensed with their information attached and under their preferred license.

Re:irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20589493)

The funny bit is, I could take GPL code and do what these Linux developers have done, and licence that code under the MIT, and it'd be just the same. Illegally relicensing code is illegal, regardless of what licence you illegally remove.

Re:irony (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20589903)

Except the code wasn't relicensed. The code was legally integrated into GPL code - no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Re:irony (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589923)

If Theo didn't want people copying his code and redistributing it under another license, he should have used the GPL.


Because then the GPL advocates be satisfied and wouldn't feel compelled to break the law and remove the current license from the code? Sort of like saying "We won't force you to do anything as long as you do what we want."

What clause in the BSD license do you think allows you to remove that license?

Re:irony (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590039)

The GPLers didn't strip the license. The code was available under either license. It still is - go back to the original source and get it for either license.

Beyond that, after listening to the more esoteric arguments being proposed, what I've learned from this is that BSD proponents only support their own licensing scheme when it is used by corporations to close the code.

Re:irony (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590189)

First, not all of the changes were to dual license code.

Second, Jiri cannot decide which licenses software that he doesn't own is distributed under. In this case he can decide which license he wants to use for his act of distributing, but he cannot set the terms on code he doesn't own.

Re:irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20590301)

THEY DIDN'T BREAK THE LAW. They changed the license, which was against the spirit of the BSD license according to Theo. Theo also claimed that he has the GPL and BSD licenses applied AT THE SAME TIME, sot they can't remove the BSD license, they have to keep them both. Which is just funny, because they arn't compatible!

Re:irony (2, Informative)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589941)

Sorry, but mods, please read the BSD license before modding parent.

Sorry, but the BSD License SPECIFICALLY states that the copyright license/notice and diclaimers must be kept with any binary or source redistribution of the code.

Now the code in question was dual licensed, with "either" being the join, not "both", so they may theoretically be able to chuck the BSD license. However, straight BSD does not allow removal of the license like you suggest.

Oh, and the BSD License for the curious. Occasionally clause 3 and 4 can be removed, but clause 1, which is the relevant portion here, is always kept. BSD License [opensource.org]

My spider sense is tingling... (2)

Recovering Hater (833107) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589409)

I have a feeling that the Linux community will hesitate to admit any wrong doing here. Not that I am anti-linux or trolling on purpose. I just know that Theo has a bit of a reputation and Linux zealots being what they are... ah well. Nothing like OSS license holy wars.

Still confused (3, Interesting)

Kelson (129150) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589421)

For the last decade+, people have been claiming that the BSD licenses are more free than the GPL, because they effectively place no restrictions on what you can do with the code. Now we're being told that there are restrictions on what you can do with the code.

Re:Still confused (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20589647)

Shit son, it's called copyright, welcome to the real world. Feel free to read up on the way copyright law works, you'll find that the BSD licence is quite permissive, and that the restrictions placed are there for a holders protection, their, "rights," to control their works. When a licence says you cannot remove it, that's the terms of the licence, and you cannot use the code unless you follow it. How hard is that to grasp? I mean, obviously the Linux developers were dense enough not to understand the tab on their shirt that says, "do not remove," but I would hope most of the world understands that kind of thing.

Re:Still confused (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589759)

"Shit son, it's called copyright"

Exactly, and the BSD license gives anybody the *right* to *copy* - with essentially no restriections. If you don't want people to claim your work as their own, don't license it under BSD.

I am also confused about the BSD bitching. BSD doesn't mind msft taking BSD code and releasing it as msft's own code. But the BSD advocates bitch about Linux? WTF?

Re:Still confused (1, Informative)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589859)

Oh shut up you nitwit. I'm starting to get tired of all of you illiterate BSD zealots.

The code was under TWO licenses. GPL and BSD. Someone removed the BSD one because the codes said you can choose either one. Due to likely clarity and to prevent future legal problems (ie: to prevent people from assuming GPL code is under the BSD) they removed the BSD license text.

Re:Still confused (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589665)

It's still a license. The only way to make code truly unencumbered is to release it into the public domain. Then anyone can do anything they damn well please with it.

Re:Still confused (3, Informative)

teknopurge (199509) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589707)

The BSD licnese header and author's comments must remain in place. That's all. The only reason to remove it is to pass it off as your own.

Re:Still confused (0, Troll)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589711)

Of course there are restrictions, otherwise it would be public domain. The restrictions under the BSD license are much less restrictive than those of the GPL, though. IIRC, the BSD license basically says you can do whatever you want, but you have to retain the copyright notice (with author's name) that is included with the code. In this case, it seems that the GPL zealots have failed to comply even with that requirement in their zeal to rebrand the code as GPL.

Doing anything to the code, up to and including redistributing it under a new license, while failing to comply with the terms of the old license is infringement.

Re:Still confused (2, Interesting)

fsmunoz (267297) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589807)

In this case, it seems that the GPL zealots have failed to comply even with that requirement in their zeal to rebrand the code as GPL.
They didn't failed to comply with the BSD licence because they weren't bound by it but by the GPL, since it was a dual-licensed work with a "you can choose which license applies" wording. And this is really the most important issue here, Theo's interpretation of dual licensed software as a kind of "you must comply with both", and this is what warrants further discussion. Saying that "zealots failed to comply" assumes that a regular BSD licensed software was changed, when this is *not* the case.

Re:Still confused (2, Insightful)

MoneyT (548795) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590167)

Isn't one of the tennets of the GPL that when you distribute the code, you must confer the same rights onto the next person that you were given with the code? I would argue that includes the option to use the code under the BSD license rather than the GPL (given that GPL is more restrictive). If you fail to include the option to license under BSD in your distribution, you are violating the spirit if not the letter of the GPL by removing freedoms which you previously had been granted.

Re:Still confused (1)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590317)

Really? The summary and both articles seem to say that the code was BSD licensed, and the GPL was tacked on after the fact without the knowledge or consent of the original copyright holder. Unless the original copyright holder agrees to "either or", I don't see how a third party can arbitrarily add a second incompatible license and say you can use whichever one you want.

Re:Still confused (1)

gnuman99 (746007) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589909)

You may do whatever you want, with the exception that you CANNOT change the license at will. You may add conditions, as adding GPL, but not simply replace BSD. This is from the license,

1. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright
      notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.

Therefore, the source code is copyright by Theo and that CANNOT be removed. It is a copyright violation. Furthermore, the new "license" MUST contain the disclaimer at the end of the BSD license (which GPL does) and the list of conditions under which BSD license.

So, unless the GPL license people removed the copyright of Theo's on the code (or other people's), they are not violating copyright.

Also, part of the driver will be BSD licensed and part of it will be GPL licensed. It will NOT be wholly GPL.

At least that's how I read it.

Re:Still confused (1)

CuteAlien (415982) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589915)

No restriction on what you can do with the code, but a restriction on what you can do with the license that accompanies the code.

I still hope someone will create a license one day which just allows me to use stuff when programming (zlib is very close to that).

Re:Still confused (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589975)

For the last decade+, people have been claiming that the BSD licenses are more free than the GPL, because they effectively place no restrictions on what you can do with the code. Now we're being told that there are restrictions on what you can do with the code.
Actually, you can do anything you want with the compiled code, such as produce a closed-source program and you don't have to distribute the source code to anybody. That's the freedom of the BSD license. However, if you choose to distribute the source code you're required to do so under the BSD license as the license requires you to reproduce the author's copyright notice and the list of conditions.

The Linux guys could have used the source code and released binaries only, and there would be no problems doing so. However, because they released the source code and didn't reproduce the author's copyright notice and list of conditions, then the argument being presented here is that they have violated that license.

The crux of the matter is whether dual-licensed BSD and GPL code means the code must remain dual-licensed (BSD && GPL) or whether you can choose to throw away one of the licenses and ignore its terms and conditions (BSD || GPL).
 

Yet another troll ...sigh!! (3, Insightful)

b1ufox (987621) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589423)

Another trolling article submitted to /. and sadly chosen too.
Yesterday RMS, today Theo, tomorrow Jeff Jones...

Too much trolls on /. these days. /. is turning into osnews in terms of trolling stories.

Nice going, keep it up troll feeders.

Re:Yet another troll ...sigh!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20590015)

Another trolling article submitted to /. and sadly chosen too.
well actually it's another article by kdawson not that either is mutually exclusive.

Re:Yet another troll ...sigh!! (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590099)

Sure after Open Source has gotton public reconision now it is time to put our resources in the details. For every group there is a sub group. After the larger group becomes large enough the subgroups start fighting with each other.

Examples, Religion (I will just follow down one branch).
Monotheistic vs. Polithiestic. It didn't matter if you were Jewish, Christain, or Muslam just as long as we get those Pagan Devils.
Then came.
Christains vs Muslams vs Jewish
Then
Prodistant vs. Catholic
Then
Evangelical vs. Progressive
Then...

It keeps going on and on.

Now we have
Open Specification vs. Closed Specifications
Then
Open Source vs. Closed Source
Then
GPL vs. BSD
Then
GPL 3 vs GPL 2
Then
RMS vs Linus ...

We as people will never agree on anything there is no silver bullet or Utopian Method. For every Victory at least 2 more conflects occure. The best we can do is keep focused on the larger groups say Open Specifications vs. Closed Specifications. That way half of us gets along. Radicalism occures when people start fighing over stupid details not larger problems.

I'm skeptical (1)

boudie2 (1134233) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589429)

When a non-lawyer (Mr. de Raadt)claims to know more about copyright law than a lawyer (Mr. Moglen). That's not my understanding of how the law works.

Re:I'm skeptical (1)

deweycheetham (1124655) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589519)

I thought the law as for everyone, not just lawyers. Opps, my mistake!!!

Off topic - but perky (2, Interesting)

huckamania (533052) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589745)

And are you a lawyer? Cause it seems like you understanding of the law is that only lawyers can claim understanding.

Law is understandable. It really is just common sense. That's why the jury is so important. When you think of the law, try to imagine what 10 average people would think, not what some ambulance chasing, paper pushing, pencil necked, money grubbing lawyer would think. Average people want the law to work so they can go on with their lives and not feel bad about their decision, average lawyer wants the law to work for them so they can become a partner and buy a new bmw.

Doctors, lawyers, scientists, politicians were all held in high esteem by past generations and usually for good reason. Now, it seems like they are all just out to make a buck.

Re:Off topic - but perky (1)

boudie2 (1134233) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590219)

Oh puh-lease, the jury system? And yes, without legal training and awareness of various precedents, your "normal Joe" has no real understanding of the law. And no, IANAL, but I have had some experience with the law. First lesson you learn is not all lawyers are created equally. Second rule, is that when the police start making jokes about your lawyer, you're in trouble. And third, if you go into court, trusting in the good judgement of 12 of your peers, you better learn fast how to get a firm grip on the soap. I believe O.J. Simpson would back me up on all the above. Maybe things are different in your parents basement.

Re:I'm skeptical (1)

DingerX (847589) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589969)

Yeah, well I'm a non-Software Engineer and I'm sure I know more about C++ coding than many (Sanitation) Engineers.

If you're a company doing due diligence, you don't consult an american legal expert for the niceties of European IP law, especially if you've been warned that the guy's advice sucks. Even if he's right, there's no way he can go to bat for you in court.

Not again! (3, Insightful)

xophos (517934) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589451)

Could you please cut out these stories? He didn't say anything new. The Point was allready made. The mistake has long since been corrected and so on...

Its been done for over 10 years (GPL grabs) ! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20589455)

Its been done for over 10 years (GPL grabs of BSD style code).

i once saw with utter shock that someone took code from Darin Adler nearly 10 years ago

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darin_Adler [wikipedia.org]

I noticed that I saw his stuff slapped with GPL viral license and then I compared to earlier nearly IDENTICAL source code files where he specifically went out of the way to put the GPL on it.

Darin wanted his code on this one utility module to be 100% free.

I guess the Linux camp has been doing this for over 10 years now. So immorality is nothing new.

Wasn't all the hard work of SCSI in BSD lifted ages and ages ago too?

So sad. I used to respect the GPl until I saw how the zealots will grab anything and call it their own and even claim copyright OWNERSHIP over code not alterred materially other than swapping out the legal license.

Hey Darin (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20589843)

Hows that KHTML code workig out?
I hope that the code has been of some assistance at Apple.

Seriously, whoever posted the message, do you have any specific complaint?

Re:Its been done for over 10 years (GPL grabs) ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20589865)

1) The BSD license allows this.

2) The BSD sourced version is still under the BSD, and still as free as any other BSD-licensed software.

Re:Its been done for over 10 years (GPL grabs) ! (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589989)

If you don't want you code to be able to be essentially relicensed then don't use the BSD.

YOU chose what license you to use. don't blame others for abiding by the license YOU chose. If you give people 100% freedom that INCLUDES being able to relicense it, I'm not even sure if copyright law allows 100% freedom Of course the BSD only gives you 99% freedom and that 1% requires that the original copyright statement be left in place.

Confused (4, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589471)

I have to admit I am a little confused. You can take BSD code and close it completely under a commercial license, why couldn't you use the GPL instead of a closed commercial license? Why is it unethical to use the GPL but not to use a totalitarian closed license?

Maybe some technical violation occurred in the credits or some such but this just sounds to me like sour grapes because they can't have the changes. They can't have the changes when the source is used in a closed commercial environment, the BSD guys maintain that as ethical so they really don't have any ground to stand on here. Nobody has violated the spirit of the BSD license which is essentially "Here it is, take it and do what you want with it, even if that means incorporating it into a product that makes you millions of dollars and completely closing the software without sharing any modifications back."

Re:Confused (1)

Llywelyn (531070) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589737)

Well, to be technical, you can't "close it completely." The original code is still BSD licensed--and people must abide by the terms of that license--but you can close any changes you make to it.

Re:Confused (5, Informative)

l4m3z0r (799504) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589839)

You can take BSD code and close it completely under a commercial license, why couldn't you use the GPL instead of a closed commercial license? Why is it unethical to use the GPL but not to use a totalitarian closed license?

Actually they cannot change the source code license. They are required by law to not alter the license. They just arent forced to re-release the source code. Should they decide to release the source code the code as taken from the BSD people is still BSD licensed and can be used under those terms.

Nobody has violated the spirit of the BSD license which is essentially "Here it is, take it and do what you want with it, even if that means incorporating it into a product that makes you millions of dollars and completely closing the software without sharing any modifications back.

He isnt saying they violated the spirit of the license, he is saying they violated the letter of the law by altering the copyright on code without permission or authorization and without making any changes substantial enough to count as derivative work. It doesnt matter if they are GPL people or a corporation that action is illegal and Theo is calling them out on it.

Re:Confused (1)

pegr (46683) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590137)

They are required by law to not alter the license.
 
Nitpick: They are required by license, not law. Do not make the mistake of making license terms equal to law, they are not. Any license term may be declared unconscionable and therefore meaningless. (Not to say that applies in this case...)

Re:Confused (1)

l4m3z0r (799504) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590213)

No. You are wrong. You cannot by LAW alter the license terms of something that you do not hold the copyright on.

Re:Confused (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20589847)

The difference is, when some company takes it and modifies/improves the code for their closed source applications, the BSD people don't get to see any of it. Or in some situations, they do get it back in source form, in which case they're also very happy. But when someone takes BSD code and improves it with GPL code, it's all in the open, and for the BSD guys the situation is, you can see but you can't touch [1], which makes some of them very mad. (It seems to be mostly OpenBSD folks, the other BSD guys don't seem to have any problem with it)

[1] You can touch, of course, but only under the terms of the GPL, which makes Theo and his supporters nauseous :)

Re:Confused (1)

bitflip (49188) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589931)

It isn't about changes to the code, it's about changes to the copyright. BSD licensing does not relinquish the copyright.

In order license code under the GPL, you have to own the copyright to the code. The people who made the license changes do not own the copyright, therefore could not simply re-release the code under a new license.

The only thing that the BSD license requires is that credit go to the authors. Even in the case of a closed binary, credit still has to be given back to author. The GPL does not require that credit be given back to the author, thus violating the one thing the original author desired.

If people who contributed code wanted absolutely no restrictions, then they would release as public domain, i.e., give up all copyright.

Besides, if one wants the additional freedom for one's code to be used in closed source scenarios, why would welcome a change that prevents that? The choices aren't restricted to the limitations of proprietary code or the GPL.

this is stupid! (1, Insightful)

dermond (33903) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589489)

someone who writes code under BSD licence knows that this could be used for commercial projects without returning ANY source at all. one could argue that thus wirting code under BSD licence is stupid in the first place. but why do these people complain when someone uses it under GPL if they would even allow use it for bloody comercial, binary only products? this is stupid hypcriticism...

Re:this is stupid! (4, Insightful)

raddan (519638) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590089)

Hypocrisy is taking code from a project that shares it freely and then slapping a restrictive license on it "so that it can be shared freely". Doesn't anybody see the irony in that?

That's the "unethical" part that Theo talks about. The "illegal" parts are:

1. removing the BSD license notice altogether, and
2. making it look like the authors of the linux derivative work are the original authors.

In 1, yes, doing so doesn't change how the now-dual-licensed code is distributed, since the GPL's distribution terms supercede the BSD's. But it does change a legal document, and that is important.

In 2, this is a bigger deal, since derivative works are subject to different copyright law, particularly given the venue.

The thing is-- this stuff is easy to fix. Treat it like a bug, be an adult, and amend the broken files. No one wants to keep BSD drivers out of Linux, and the real meat of the discussion is: is it good for the F/OSS community to be taking code in a manner that is, at the very least, offensive to some people? You're absolutely right when you say that it's perfectly legal to slap a GPL license onto BSD code, but why do it other than to prove you can? Does anyone here really think that Atheros gives a shit about a BSD driver for their chipsets? And even if they do-- who cares? If Atheros wants to replace their shitty drivers with something better, so be it!

F/OSS depends on cooperation to survive. If you want real software freedom, you can't be petty. The whole idea is of giving, not taking.

Re:this is stupid! (1)

peterpi (585134) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590133)

one could argue that thus wirting code under BSD licence is stupid in the first place.

It would only be stupid if you were unhappy about your code being used in a commercial project. In that case, you would have chosen the wrong licence.

If however you were happy with the concept, then it wouldn't be stupid at all.

Re:this is stupid! (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590149)

someone who writes code under BSD licence knows that this could be used for commercial projects without returning ANY source at all. one could argue that thus wirting code under BSD licence is stupid in the first place. but why do these people complain when someone uses it under GPL if they would even allow use it for bloody comercial, binary only products? this is stupid hypcriticism...
It's quite simple, really. The BSD license allows you to distribute your compiled code in any manner you choose. However, if you choose to distribute the source code, you must reproduce the author's copyright and the list of conditions. If you're offended by GPL violations, then you should be just as offended by a BSD license violation regardless of whether you find the license appropriate for your own use.

People who choose the BSD license grant the freedom to do whatever you want with the binary, but if you distribute the code you must keep the license intact. That's not hypocritical.
 

Re:this is stupid! (1)

earnest murderer (888716) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590261)

I think the issue is that closed binary only products use the code, may even make some modifications, but still have to tell people there be BSD shit in there. - You can do what you want with it.

Basically they have done little with the license change except to deceive people about the nature of the code which is BSD.
GPL'ing the code does little other than deny the work and reputation of the authors. Now depending on which directory you download from you do not have the same rights to the same code, which *is* stupid.

The whole issue basically amounts to Linux developers telling BSD developers "Hey! FUCK YOU" and the BSD camp is saying "Wow, those guys are assholes." And they're right. They could have had the code, shit they were "welcome* to it, but they had to take it one step further and claim it was their code and that you aren't allowed to do the things that they were allowed to do. Now we have GPL apologists chiming in with you should have known betters, and all I can think is "Wow, those guys are assholes".

To think of the tizzy that "locking up" gpl code in proprietary devices stirred up and then this... Some people just don't give a shit about other people.

go theo go (0, Troll)

wardk (3037) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589501)

the BSD license is completely open, why would they want to hamstring it with GPL? BSD doesn't prevent you from doing anything, other than mucking with the BSD licensing, right?

why?

religous reasons?

I hope Theo tears them a new one on this one....

This is just shit Theo (4, Informative)

crush (19364) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589531)

Making blanket statements about "the Linux guys" or "Linux" is so fucking inaccurate and stupid. The patch was carried in NO MAJOR GNU/LINUX DISTRO. Got that?! I'll put in bold and emphasis for you below so that your brain has a chance to absorb the point:
NO GNU/LINUX DISTROS CARRIED THE PATCH No GNU/Linux distros carried the patch.
Now, please, shut the fuck up.

Sincerely,
A happy OpenBSD user.

This is absolute bull! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20589545)

Information is meant to be free! Copyrights are for evil corporations! I should be able to get whatever I want and do whatever I want to it! Microsoft is the devil and surely behind this somehow! OSS FTW!!!!!

Did I forget anything?

Re:This is absolute bull! (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590249)

*throws chair*

FOSS developers need to learn to be polite! (5, Insightful)

Theovon (109752) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589569)

I'm going to give you an "If I were them, I would have...", but in this case, it's not hollow. I've actually done this before, to positive effect. If you're going to use someone else's code under terms slightly different from what they clearly intended, I see an obvious course of action: ASK PERMISSION.

They say that it's often easier to get forgiveness than permission. This is absolutely not the case in the FOSS community. Yes, Theo is a hot-head, and he's clearly over-reacting. But at the same time, some Linux contributor didn't think very hard about the wishes of the original author of the code they borrowed. They just took it. In the FOSS community, we're not about copyright. We're about ethical sharing of ideas and the rights of both software developers and software users.

How long could it have taken to ask? "May I use your code?" "May I alter the license on your code?" "If not, is there some compromise we can reach?"

Learn some manners!

Re:FOSS developers need to learn to be polite! (4, Insightful)

dbc (135354) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590115)

While I can't disagree with anything that you say, still it seems to me that the right place for an author to make his wishes known is in the license. How hard is that? Anything less is simply intellectually lazy.

And here is some raw data for you from actual Real World (TM) experience. At one Fortune 500 former employer of mine, code got released under a variety of licenses, including proprietary, BSD, and GPL, as fit the need of the situation. BSD was the license of choice for "fire and forget" situations, where the company wanted the code out there (working example code in an application note, for instance) but didn't want to be a long-term maintainer. One company lawyer said, and I'm quoting precisely: "Don't worry, a free version will always be available. Somebody somewhere will slap a GPL on it within 7 seconds of release." So you see, some people chose the BSD when they actively *want* the code to be forked under the GPL.

Compatibility (1)

kryten_nl (863119) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589593)

From de Raadt's mail:

Some have suggested that the SFLC was formed to avoid smearing the FSF with dirt whenever the SFLC does something risky.

Cool, the FSF has a 'black-ops' section. I wonder what kind of training they get.

On a more serious note, IIRC the BSD-style licenses have a section that says that copyright notices have to be kept in tact. The GPL states that the receiver of the code should have the freedom to modify it, however they wish. This sounds contradictory to me, could someone with more experience please clarify this.

Re:Compatibility (1)

Pootworm (1000883) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589985)

The GPL(v3 and probably earlier) version of originally BSD-licensed code would necessarily contain the BSD copyright notices (as you pointed out) as an additional term (see section 7b) plus the standard GPL license stuff, none of which you would be allowed to remove if you intended to redistribute.

*BSD is dying (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20589595)

It is now official - Netcraft has confirmed: *BSD is dying

Yet another crippling bombshell hit the beleaguered *BSD community when recently IDC confirmed that *BSD accounts for less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of the latest Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as further exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood. FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS hobbyist dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dead

Joy... (0, Flamebait)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589603)

So pretty much ever license seems to have spoiled brats as the "main supporters."

GPL has a hypocritical zealot who doesn't care for anything except his own skewed view (not even ideal), unless of course his main sponsor disagrees in which case his ideals aren't that important.

For BSD it seems to be likewise hypocritical but also inferiority complex inflicted individuals who can't deal with the fact that GPL is more popular.

Re:Joy... (1)

CoolGopher (142933) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589729)

For BSD it seems to be likewise hypocritical but also inferiority complex inflicted individuals who can't deal with the fact that GPL is more popular.

While you can certainly pin many attributes on Theo, I didn't think Multiple Personality Disorder was one of them ;-)

Re:Joy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20589925)

GPL has a hypocritical zealot who doesn't care for anything except his own skewed view (not even ideal), unless of course his main sponsor disagrees in which case his ideals aren't that important.

  Are you talking about Linus Torvalds?
  'Cause I would have thought of Richard Stallman as the main proponent of the GPL, but he bears NO resemblance to your statement, at least not in this universe. Torvalds could possibly be made to resemble that if you squint really hard, and maybe tilt your head a little, and put an Evil Spock beard on him. But RMS, a hypocrite who sometimes decides his ideals aren't that important? Naaaah.

Re:Joy... (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590057)

The GPL3 allows you to DRM your hardware and do as much software as you want if your product is not sold to consumers. In other words it lets, say, IBM sell tivod hardware without violating the GPL3. I'm sorry but to me that is NOT freedom above everything else.

Re:Joy... (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590111)

Just to clarify I mean that IBM can sell such hardware to other corporations but not to home users. Interestingly enough IBM's consumer division is dead and it's a big supported of GPL software.

Re:Joy... (1)

dylan_- (1661) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589977)

unless of course his main sponsor disagrees in which case his ideals aren't that important.
What's this a reference to?

As I recall a rapid summary goes like this (5, Funny)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589645)

1) The BSD licensed guys are pissed because someone took some code and locked them out of it, despite being rabidly pro the freedom to do exactly this.

2) The Linux guys are technically in the right but still taking dual licensed GPL/BSD code and locking it up is a pretty shitty thing to do.

3) Hot heads on both sides have managed to turn what should have been a quiet chat about a moderate, considered approach and with the magic described most eloquently as the PA Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory ensured that relations remain as hostile as possible.

The only conclusion can be that the idiots on both sides (Theo included) actually work for Microsoft and are puppets dancing to the compelling dark tunes of their evil and cunning masters.

The end.

Re:As I recall a rapid summary goes like this (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589805)

Right.

Except my understanding is that
  1. they took some bsd/gpl dual licensed code and went GPL only with the blessings of the original author
  2. Took other code BSD Licensed only and made it GPL against the wishes of the author.

The first case seems to be ok. Not the nicest thing to do, but perfectly legally legit. The second case I think is wrong. The license says you can't remove it, and they did. Plus the author is unwilling to additionally license it to them under GPL.

Re:As I recall a rapid summary goes like this (1)

teknopurge (199509) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589829)

1) The BSD licensed guys are pissed because someone took some code and locked them out of it, despite being rabidly pro the freedom to do exactly this.
WRONG!

THE BSD LICENSE CANNOT BE REMOVED!!!!

You can do what you want with the source code, PROVIDED you leave the BSD license in place.
The issue is when someone wraps the code, with the BSD license, in a GPL or other incompatible license.

Also, IMO, but my understanding is that copyright law trumps all. The BSD license does not dissolve the copyright.

Re:As I recall a rapid summary goes like this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20590327)

THE BSD LICENSE CANNOT BE REMOVED!!!!

Wrong. And don't shout.

The BSD license forbids removing the BSD license. If you wish to get the right to redistribute via the BSD license, then you must comply with the terms of the BSD license, and therefore you cannot remove the BSD license.

However, in the case of dual-licensed code, there are other ways of getting the right to redistribute the code. If you obtain the right to redistribute the code from another license, there is no need to comply with the terms of the BSD license, and therefore there is no restriction on removing the BSD license, unless the other license also restricts this (the GPL does not).

Licenses aren't some magical property that copyright holders immutably glue to their creations. Licenses are agreements between parties, nothing more. Making an agreement with one license does not mean that you are bound by the terms of other licenses.

Not quite right. (5, Informative)

dwheeler (321049) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589701)

The article is misleading. You can take a BSD-licensed program, modify it even slightly, and re-release the COMBINED material (original BSD + the additional modifications) under the GPL, as long your combined work obeys BOTH licenses. The legal issue is that the modified text can be under a different copyright license, and the combined work has to obey BOTH licenses. Since the GPL adds more conditions than the BSD license does (generally), in a combined work it's the GPL conditions that end up dominating the set of conditions. The only issue is whether or not the "small change" could be copyrighted; the U.S., at least, has a very low bar of what is copyrightable, so even small changes are likely to be copyrightable.

Certainly it is NOT okay to remove the copyright notices from BSD material, as long as there's something left in the file that's covered by the BSD license. So, don't do that. But you CAN take a BSD work, combine it with other works, and have the final result as essentially GPL'ed or proprietary. My FLOSS license slide [dwheeler.com] even helps you figure out when you can do that, and when you can't.

But that only covers the legal issues. If there's an existing project that releases something under an OSS license, it's usually better to continue to use their license than to fork off another project under a new license, especially if you're not making many changes. For a lot of reasons.

LWN's article "Relicensing: what's legal and what's right" [lwn.net] is worth a look.

Re:Not quite right. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20589939)

FUCK YOU! Information wants to be free! I should be able to take all of that free code and do whatever I want to it. It's a basic human right! Only neo-con idiots who worship Lord Bush don't understand this.

Re:Not quite right. (0, Flamebait)

pegr (46683) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590075)

I seem to remember from multiple Groklaw posts that Linux is just chock full 'o BSD code anyway. Why would this code be any different? Is the attribution requirement of the BSD license really a GPL killer? If so, Linux is apparently already in deep doodoo. Not to say any existing BSD code in Linux has already had the atribution removed, but since GPL doesn't require maintaining the attribution, wouldn't that make BSD and GPL incompatible?

BSD okay for Windows but not for Linux? (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589875)

So it is okay for Microsoft Windows to make use of BSD code, but it is not okay GNU/Linux because GNU/Linux 'locks the code away'?

Re:BSD okay for Windows but not for Linux? (4, Informative)

w3woody (44457) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590129)

It sounded to me that part of the problem was that the BSD copyright notices were stripped out of the code, which is not just obnoxious or just locking away the code, but is illegal and immoral: it removes the notice of who was the original author of the code.

It also sounds obnoxious to take someone's code but to resubmit the changes and bug fixes under a more restrictive license--just as it would be obnoxious for a private company to submit bug fixes but to say "in order to distribute our changes you will have to license the code from us for a grand a year." But to my mind it's just that: obnoxious.

Solution (0, Flamebait)

codepunk (167897) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589887)

Implement the changes, compile it into a binary, slap some crazy draconian type EULA on it and distribute away....

Legality or morality? (1)

BertieBaggio (944287) | more than 6 years ago | (#20589891)

In one of the previous discussions a helpful poster quoted Theo saying that he thought the relicensing was a moral issue - ie that Linux devs had taken code and made it 'less free''. This is a view I can appreciate, as FLOSS developers should be pooling efforts as much as possible. but the spirit I understand. I think it was more of a "Hey guys, you're meant to be on our side! We can't use this code anymore!". Of course, I find it hard to reconcile with the BSD license saying 'do what you want, just credit us'. I can understand his frustration though.

I thought the legality was clear cut - the code in question said [roughly] license under either BSD or GPL, and in any case saying 'follow BSD and GPL' is the same as saying 'follow the GPL' (was it Moglen that said that?).

I like OpenBSD, I've even donated [openbsd.org] , and I think Theo is a clever guy who does occasionally make some very good points. Problem is, I think he tends to assume the worst intentions in people - I don't think defusing situations is high on his agenda. Maybe if a more conciliatory tone was taken, we could find a solution that satisfies both the Linux and BSD devs.

How can BSD code be made "less free" ? (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590127)

I take code from your BSD project "A" and put that code in my GPL project "B".

The code is still in your BSD project. It still has the same license. How is it any less free?

To me, the entire arguemnt stinks of msft anti-GPL fud.

complete crap (0, Flamebait)

N3wsByt3 (758224) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590029)

"the theory that BSD code can simply be relicensed to the GPL without making significant changes to the code is false"

This is complete bullocks. The whole point of the BSD vs. GPL (eternal) debate is just that the former always claim it's more free (to use/distribute). In fact, with the BSD, it's completely possible (and legal) to take it and make a proprietary program/application of it. And now one would claim it can't be turned into GPL 'without changes to the code'? Where does that guy get that crap?

One has the distinct feeling TFA is one (in a row) of articles meant to be controversial and nothing else, for the sake of being in the spotlight ...you know, the '15-minutes of fame'. There is no way that a person, even slightly knowledgable about the licenses, would come up with such crap - unless for the reasons I just mentionned.

Great going you asshats for making this religious (0, Troll)

CPE1704TKS (995414) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590105)

It should be open source vs. Microsoft. Meanwhile idiotic religious zealots have now fragmented the open source community and they are now fighting amongst themselves. Perfect, exactly what Microsoft wants.

What is with all this religious nonsense over BSD vs GPL? If someone wrote code under the BSD license YOU SHOULD RESPECT IT. What's the point in trying to convert it into a GPL license, besides pissing that person off and essentially wasting a whole shitload of everyone's time. Some people have philisophical disagreements over it, fine, but starting to make enemies against people who are only a hair's difference apart, when the real enemy is in the back laughing is so retarded.

You fucking idiot.s

RTF-License (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590231)

I took a look at the license, and I don't see anything prohibiting anybody from taking BSD code and putting into a GPL project.

Furthermore, I don't see how doing that could conflict with the "spirit" of the wide-open BSD license.

Are BSD advocates just nut jobs? Or is this msft anti-gpl fud? Or am I missing something?

I think Theo is correct (4, Informative)

MenTaLguY (5483) | more than 6 years ago | (#20590291)

I think Theo is essentially correct. To the best of my knowledge, the ground rules are:

1. Don't touch the license header unless you make substantive changes

2. If you make substantive changes, you may amend the license header to add your copyright (but not remove existing copyrights) under the same license

3. If you make substantive changes and insist on licensing those changes under a different (but compatible!) license to the original, you may add a new license header above the existing one with your copyright (without modifying the existing header)

The initial problem was that the original license header was replaced entirely, even though no substantial changes had been made. The original license header has now been restored, but there is still an issue with a new copyright declaration having been added in the absence of substantive changes.
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