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DJB Releases All Source to Public Domain

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the play-freebird dept.

Software 330

A Sage Developer writes "During a recent conference, Sage Days 6, Dan Bernstein (who has recently come under attack for his licensing policy) was among the invited speakers. During a panel discussion on the future of open source mathematics software, Bernstein declared that all of his past and future code would be released to the public domain. This includes qmail, primegen, and a number of other projects. Given the headache that incompatibility between GPLv3 and GPLv2 is causing developers, will we see more of this?"

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FP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21529383)

FP!

Re:FP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21529487)

limp back to your xbox idiot!

Qmail... (0)

ookabooka (731013) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529397)

Heh, for a second there I thought it said gmail. . .I was somewhat curious was Google wasn't mentioned at all; figured they'd have an opinion on the matter :-p

Quick! Somebody call the RIAA/MPAA Goons !! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21529775)

Quick! Somebody call the RIAA/MPAA Goons. We can't have this sort of radical thinking. Public Domain? Is this man really . . . a woman?

Hint for yokels everywhere. Yes, he used to be.

In a word... (4, Insightful)

s4m7 (519684) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529405)

Given the headache that incompatibility between GPLv3 and GPLv2 is causing developers, will we see more of this?

No.

Not in a manner disproportionate to what we've seen in the past anyway. Some people will keep gpl2 as their license, others will go gpl3, bsd, or one of any of the OSI licenses for the most part, because people like attribution, they like retaining (some) control of their work.

Re:In a word... (3, Insightful)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529489)

I agree. Public Domain licensing seems to be the worst of all worlds to me.

Re:In a word... (2, Insightful)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529719)

I can't say that Public Domain is the worst way to release, but it is less than adequate for the purposes of Free Software. However, it would allow code to be quickly absorbed into projects and extended and released under the GPL. At that point, it would remain useful and also be safe (i.e., status: to remain free).

Re:In a word... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21530305)

Well, Public Domain is a heck of a lot better than DJB's original license. For DJB's code, Public domain is a completely unqualified improvement.

(DJB's license forbade distribution of modified source - you can only distribute patches. You man not distribute binary files that result from any modification from the distribution source. I argue that it isn't open source at all.)

This might mean that qmail's glaring deficienies will get fixed. That's if qmail is still relevant. Plus, it might be secure on muliti-gigabyte ram 64 bit machines (which, frankly, are run of the mill linux boxes these days.)

Now, arguing a swap from GPL or BSD to/from Public Domain is another thing entirely IMHO.

Fuck DJB (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21529645)

Linux is for homos.

Re:Fuck DJB (0, Offtopic)

devjj (956776) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529657)

So that's what made me gay... Case closed!

Re:Fuck DJB (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21529751)

Ah...another take it in the ass bitch.

Re:Fuck DJB (0, Offtopic)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529989)

Whereas, Windows is obviously for people who enjoy (or don't even realise they are) being shafted up the "asstunnel".

Re:In a word... (3, Insightful)

KevMar (471257) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529675)

I like the sound of public domain. Its simple with out any complicated rules.

I saw Open Source as a free exchange of ideas and code that let you do what ever you wanted with it. Public Domain fits that better than a lot of others.

All the Gotchas and legal overhead built into some of them are just overhead that make the whole process fustrating.

At the same time, Open Source is becomming more of a buzz word than anything else. I hear even Microsoft does Open Source software now.

Re:In a word... (5, Insightful)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529755)

Agreed that Public Domain is not incompatible with Open Source. In fact, it isn't incompatible, in terms of absorbing the code into a project, with the GPL. However, in terms of Free Software, Free doesn't mean "a free exchange of ideas and code that let you do what ever you wanted with it", but rather a limit on distribution rights for the purpose of ensuring that user rights always remain free. And it seems to work :-)

Re:In a word... (2, Insightful)

fbjon (692006) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529815)

Public Domain is good for shorter snippets that one might throw away one a forum or the like, but something of a more project-y character is probably better off with a license of some sort. The exact boundary is, of course, up to personal preference.

Re:In a word... (1)

irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) | more than 6 years ago | (#21530271)

I'd extend that to say Public Domain is great for small components in a bigger system, as an alternative to lgpl. Look at sqlite for example. Great piece of code that gets used to make lots of software better because anyone can just embed it without running it by a crack legal team to bicker over some linking-vs-external-api-on-binaries or whatever debate.

PD is closer to what YOU want to mean as Open (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21530487)

Doesn't mean that it is closer to what the author of the code considers "open".

Have a look a TdR's stance on BSD and its' inclusion into GPL code: PD would NOT have fitted better what he considers "open source". Or look at MS's "Shared Source" initiative. They even mention opening the source code to customers in their blurb on it. But it isn't PD'd. Would that be because PD isn't what MS want to mean "open"? It's MSPL/LPL licenses are "open" but not PD as well.

So feel fine to submit your code to the public domain.

Re:In a word... (1)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 6 years ago | (#21530499)

I like the sound of public domain. Its simple with out any complicated rules.

I saw Open Source as a free exchange of ideas and code that let you do what ever you wanted with it. Public Domain fits that better than a lot of others.

All the Gotchas and legal overhead built into some of them are just overhead that make the whole process fustrating.

Ah, but many people writing GPL licensed software have an agenda. Why do you think IBM works on GPL licensed and not BSD licensed software? Because IBM is not interested in "free exchange of ideas" without getting anything for it. The GPL on the other hand is perfect, because if a competitor ever does any improvement, you'll be able to use it. It makes your competition unable to take advantage of your work without working for you.

I work on GPL software. Exclusively. I don't work on BSD or public domain code because it's not my intention to effectively be an unpaid employee in whatever company uses my work. If they want it that badly, they can either drop a mail and negotiate a price, or release their improvement according to the GPL.

Actually (1)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529683)

I see more and more of this comming. GPLvX, with all their advantages and disadvantages RE licences, and as such, they will have a bagage of restrictions, legal issues, etc. Thus the contradiction: a licence that was created to guarantee and keep the "freedom" actually has "freedom limitations". The solution to this double moral problem is Public Domain. Even id OD is " a license" as well, PD is practically the anti-license with no limitations at all.

I agree with those who say tha PD ilimitated freedom can generate chaos, but if you REALLY care about freedom, if you really want about your code being used without limitations and with full potential and without the ego of being recognised as the author, etc. PD is the ONLY way to go. Compare this to those millioners that give millios to charity and report to the press (GPL). or those who you never lknow about their donations (PD). It's actually about ego. Do you care about your rights? No? You only care about your code really contributing to the humanity? Only PD can help.

Another question is about that some countries don't recognise PD as a legal license. I know some people that actually have kind of bypased that issue by realising some code COMPLETLY anonymously. That way there is NOONE who holds the copyright. Believeme, owr lawyers here at out university had some issues with such a code and they didn't even know how to proceed. The concept of property is the base of our societies, so PD kind of confuses our poor heads...

Re:Actually (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 6 years ago | (#21530327)

The problem is that in some jurisdictions, the Public Domain isn't forever. What that means is that you can take a work in the Public Domain, make a tiny change (which might be as subtle as changing the author's name to yours) and copyright the derivative work. But there's more: you can then go after anyone using the original PD work, claiming they violated your copyright.

The BSD licence is worded in such a way that it looks as though you can remain in compliance even while withholding the Source Code (though I have used a modified form of the BSD licence -- only permitting distribution in Source Code form -- for some scripts I wrote; seeing as they were written in an interpreted language, there was no binary anyway, but I wanted to make quite sure that nobody was going to rewrite them in a compiled language and withhold the Source Code).

The GPL does not limit freedom: it limits power (explanation [gnu.org] ). Withholding Source Code from users is an exercise of power; I would even go so far as to say it is a form of violence.

OK so when exactly? (2, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529407)

The reason I ask is that I read some releasing a new version of netqmail with smtp auth patches in it, and this is really waiting on DJB to do something about this issue. My servers are currently taking a big hit from spam and a clean way to block it in smtpd would make life a lot easier for me.

Re:OK so when exactly? (1)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529425)

My servers are currently taking a big hit from spam and a clean way to block it in smtpd would make life a lot easier for me.

You could switch to postfix.

Re:OK so when exactly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21529575)

Or better yet, Exim

Re:OK so when exactly? (4, Funny)

lukas84 (912874) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529897)

Exchange!

Re:OK so when exactly? (1)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529929)

Or better yet, Courier.

Re:OK so when exactly? (1)

NotZed (19455) | more than 6 years ago | (#21530519)

ahh no no no, courier is terrible.

it's imap implementation is completely broken, which gives me little confidence in anything else it does. it is also a very bizarre piece of software to configure and run.

Re:OK so when exactly? (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529895)

You could try qmail-spp [sourceforge.net] smtp plugins, or write your own spp plugin. I use about 4 plugins including local vpopmail user check. There are plugins for vmailmgr and others as well. Qmail has constantly moved forward, even though the base package hasn't changed in years.

Re:OK so when exactly? (1)

eneville (745111) | more than 6 years ago | (#21530291)

Why not look into the validrcptto patch? That avoids doing vpopmail lookups in realtime, which depending on your level of alterations to level of lookups might work out for you as a process saver.

Re:OK so when exactly? (4, Informative)

N7DR (536428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529953)

Already.

From http://cr.yp.to/qmail/dist.html [cr.yp.to] :

I hereby place the qmail package (in particular, qmail-1.03.tar.gz, with MD5 checksum 622f65f982e380dbe86e6574f3abcb7c) into the public domain. You are free to modify the package, distribute modified versions, etc.

Re:OK so when exactly? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#21530025)

Already.

Oh OK thanks for that. I did a scan of qmail.org, netqmail, life with qmail and some parts of DJB's qmail site, in the section on licensing. I was looking for the exact statement you pointed me to.

Clearly I didn't look hard enough.

Re:OK so when exactly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21530095)

Take a look at magic smtpd it seems to behave similarly to a well patched qmail-smtpd but has the advantage of being actively maintained.

Re:OK so when exactly? (1)

damgx (132688) | more than 6 years ago | (#21530143)

I've been using Spamdyke [spamdyke.org] for two weeks now and it rocks.

I love the SMTP Auth and extra spam filters. (Spamdyke saved me from moving to postfix yet.)

From the website:

spamdyke is a filter for monitoring and intercepting SMTP connections between a remote host and a qmail server. Spam is blocked while the remote server (spammer) is still connected; no additional processing or storage is needed.

In addition to all of its anti-spam filters, spamdyke also includes a number of features to enhance qmail.

Best of all, using spamdyke does not require patching or recompiling qmail!
Netqmail + Spamdyke and no more patching.

Re:OK so when exactly? (1)

eneville (745111) | more than 6 years ago | (#21530281)

You already have some tools to do that in ucspi. Simply use rblsmtpd before qmail-smtpd and it'll go away. You can also look into greylisting, but this is a 50/50 chance of helping, since most 419 spam comes from a yahoo/hotmail/gmail account where proper queueing makes sure that it gets delivered.

Still a dick! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21529427)

Just wanted to get that in there.

Re:Still a dick! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21529805)

Just wanted to get that in there.
And where, exactly, was it you wanted to get your dick into?
 

That may be good. (3, Interesting)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529437)

I like qmail. This is both good and bad.

The good is that allows people to fix, and distribute the fixes as part of the package instead of as a bunch of patches.

The bad is the security of the result. One of the hallmarks of the DJB software is that it is secure and he backs it up with a $500 (it may be $1000 now) bounty for security holes in the software. Many people referred to him as arrogant because of his refusal, but when you are good, you sometimes develop an attitude that people mistake for arrogance. Even so, it is HIS code, so he gets to do what he wants with it.
 

Re:That may be good. (1)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529453)

If it's public domain, it's not really "HIS" code anymore.

HIs code? (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529543)

Even if he donates it to public domain, he still wrote it. It may not be 'his' in the sense of exclusive control, but it is still his 'child'.

Re:That may be good. (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529835)

Actually, it is his, but it's also mine and everyone else's.

Just good. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529529)

The bad is the security of the result.

Nothing anyone does with fixing or distributing fixes as a package will make the vanilla version from cr.yp.to any less secure.

One of the hallmarks of the DJB software is that it is secure and he backs it up with a $500 (it may be $1000 now) bounty for security holes in the software.

Which he's also refused to pay in a few notable cases where most people tend to agree it was deserved.

Don't quote me on that, though...

Re:Just good. (1)

pipatron (966506) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529939)

Don't quote me on that, though...

Don't worry, without sources to back it up, no one will.

Re:Just good. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529999)

I was kind of hoping someone would hunt down the sources to back it up or disprove it, so I don't have to.

It's 3 AM. Before 3, I check sources. After 3, I just ramble lamely.

Re:That may be good. (4, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529551)

Actually, if you like qmail you need to have your brain checked.

The biggest advantage of Unix is the "We stood on the shoulders of Giants" philosophy. The library functions are continually improved and nowdays there is a library function for nearly everything. Qmail goes completely against this philosophy by rewriting nearly every higher level function in libc it needs. Granted, when qmail came out some of these rewrites were more secure and technically superior implementations. First of all, not contributing them towards the libc's is sociopathic behaviour (I want only my app to benefit, everyone else go suck bricks sidewise through a thin straw). Second, their technical superiority even from a security perspective is no longer there. Libc has moved on and even the worst of them (HPUX and Irix) are now at the same level of the DJB replacements (or better).

Re:That may be good. (2, Insightful)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529633)

I suppose then that now there is nothing to stop developers from implementing a fork of qmail that will use libc (and indeed, to absorb into libc anything worthy from qmail). So the race is on! Will gqmail or kqmail be the first to distribute said fork?

Re:That may be good. (4, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529853)

No point. The MTAs have moved forward as well. The libraries have moved forward as well. It would have been interesting 10 years ago (I used it and advocated its use at that time).

Now it is pointless.

Postfix, Exim and even sendmail have made a giant leap forward in terms of code quality, performance and security. So have the underlying libraries.

There simply no point to use qmail or any of its code base now. Too little, too late.

Re:That may be good. (2, Insightful)

Asmodai (13932) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529901)

I cannot for the life of me imagine why anyone would want to use qmail.

From a system administrator's point of view qmail does NOT keep adequate logging to track the flow of a message through X MTAs. With Postfix or Sendmail (and I reckon Exim too), I can see the entire flow in the logs. If you ever worked for a company such as an ISP or where someone complained about email gone missing, stuff like this is lifesaving.

From a programmer point of view DJB's software is just the antithesis of everything decent programming stands for, magic variables, awkward named variables, undsoweiter.

No thank you. I prefer to stick with Postfix (after many years of Sendmail).

Re:That may be good. (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 6 years ago | (#21530339)

I can imagine qmail, if it still has that brain-dead insistence on a \r before every \n, would be good in an all-Microsoft shop.

But I'm biased. I've used exim since whatever version shipped with Debian Potato.

Re:That may be good. (1)

NotZed (19455) | more than 6 years ago | (#21530541)

\r\n? If it is in the mail handling code ... then it will have to be there and also in any other mail program.

It is part of various mail rfcs, and has nothing to do with dos and everything to do with standards and interoperability.

Re:That may be good. (4, Insightful)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529871)

First of all, not contributing them towards the libc's is sociopathic behaviour (I want only my app to benefit, everyone else go suck bricks sidewise through a thin straw).

This is ludicrous. He wrote them because the ones out there weren't good enough. Others can write their own. There is nothing sociopathic about closed source software, no matter how much you may wish it to be.

(It is probably in the realm of sociopathy, as we're using the term, to go after people who reverse engineer your compiled binaries, but that's entirely different from not giving them your code. If they can extract what they need from what you have chosen given them, good for them. It is always wise to remember that while the GPL and the Free Software movement are in favor of unlimited user rights, a developer choosing to exert his own rights is not wrong.)

Re:That may be good. (1)

slim (1652) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529985)

Actually, if you like qmail you need to have your brain checked.

The biggest advantage of Unix is the "We stood on the shoulders of Giants" philosophy. The library functions are continually improved and nowdays there is a library function for nearly everything.
Actually that's the biggest advantage of free Unix and Unix clones.

Qmail goes completely against this philosophy by rewriting nearly every higher level function in libc it needs. Granted, when qmail came out some of these rewrites were more secure and technically superior implementations. First of all, not contributing them towards the libc's is sociopathic behaviour
Qmail stems from a time when serious UNIXen were commercial and closed. Getting the libc source cost big money; fixes were not solicited.

They were dark times. Feel glad RMS fought for you.

Re:That may be good. (2, Informative)

vidarh (309115) | more than 6 years ago | (#21530217)

Qmail stems from a time when serious UNIXen were commercial and closed. Getting the libc source cost big money; fixes were not solicited.

When Qmail was release, glibc was more than a decade old. So though glibc might not have been as widely used as those of commercial Unix versions there were certainly plenty of opportunity to release it.

That said, most of the stuff he reimplemented is not stuff that belongs in libc, and quite a bit of it is pointless paranoia and just contributes to make the Qmail source hard to read.

Re:That may be good. (1)

sfraggle (212671) | more than 6 years ago | (#21530129)

It's not part of the C standard, so it's not portable. No matter how many C libraries you get those functions added to, there will always be more. Have you ever actually written and maintained a large, portable C program? I'd say that probably every mail program in existence, indeed, every large C program in existence, does exactly the same thing. It's simply not practical to wage some boil-the-ocean campaign to get your pet library functions added to every libc implementation on the planet.

Re:That may be good. (1)

KazushiSakuraba (1128787) | more than 6 years ago | (#21530227)

You are wrong. glibc is bullshit.

MOD PARENT FLAMEBAIT (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21529597)

anyone who has ever used DJB's tools knows that they are a ridiculous cruft of not-invented-here replacements for perfectly fine GNU tools (inetd, glibc syscalls, on and on and fucking on). The guy is a complete egomaniac and completely insane. You might as well use the smtp server written by a local homeless man.

anyone who purports to believe DJB's code is good stuff is either (a) a moron or (b) a moron or (c) flamebaiting the discussion

Thanks for pointing this out. (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529455)

the headache that incompatibility between GPLv3 and GPLv2 is causing developers

Oh, and I thought it is because of excessive drinking! Now I know: blame FSF!

Re:Thanks for pointing this out. (1)

eneville (745111) | more than 6 years ago | (#21530319)

Thanks, I'm going to steal that joke next time I have a hangover. Probably tomorrow.

Some Projects.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21529469)

Some projects already do this with some outstanding success, the first that comes to mind is SQLite (http://www.sqlite.org/). They started in the public domain and seemed to have really benifited from user uptake and contributions, not just from users but corporations.

Don't be an "indian giver" (1, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529475)

It's an ironic twist that native Americans have been attached to the term "indian giver" when it was primarily the White Man who harbored ulterior motives when presenting gifts to the natives.

If you share, share. If you don't want to share, don't share. It used to be as easy as that. The GPL and its derivatives introduced a weird twist on the sharing that if you partake in the sharing, you must also share alike. This makes sense in the software world since a copy to you doesn't mean that I am deprived of a copy for myself. Sharing is something that you ought to do. The GPL pushes that one step further by making sharing a requirement. Now receiving obliges you to give in return (if copyright wasn't the basis for the GPL, would Stallman have required distribution too?).

It all got so confusing, and now with GPL3 putting further restrictions on sharers, I think we are seeing a bit of backlash. Not only because it is difficult to reconcile differences between implementations under GPL2 with the newer version, but also because the greater restrictions are a smack in the face to the original reason anyone wanted to get involved in the first place, i.e. to share.

Sharing is a good thing, and should be encouraged. But to try to regulate every single loophole and corner case is going too far. Public domain remains the last safe haven for shareable code. Good on DJB.

Re:Don't be an "indian giver" (4, Informative)

McDutchie (151611) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529539)

The GPL pushes that one step further by making sharing a requirement. Now receiving obliges you to give in return (if copyright wasn't the basis for the GPL, would Stallman have required distribution too?).

Sigh. No, it doesn't. The GPL sets forth rules you need to follow if you choose to share (i.e. distribute) the software. But nothing in the GPL obliges you to share anything.

Re:Don't be an "indian giver" (0)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529583)

Yes, GPL3 does.

http://buytaert.net/long-live-the-web-services-loophole [buytaert.net]

Unless you think that someone would "receive" such a package with the express intent not to employ it.

No it doesn't - web services can be internal too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21529655)

"web services" is a kind of strange thing; it just means software with an HTTP interface. Just because you use HTTP doesn't mean you have to share. It's perfectly possible to use even AGPLv3 (let alone GPLv3) software yourself or within your company. The only point at which you have to share AGPL software is at the point where the users of your software are outsiders. It's funny how we see so much anti-GPL FUD again. Probably you've learned this by reading articles about the GPL which are spreading such rumors. It's a good idea to jut go and read the license directly [fsf.org] together with it's surrounding explanations and you'll find it's much easier to understand this way.

Re:Don't be an "indian giver" (1)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529687)

No, GPL does not. The URL you link to is building a strawman for the purpose of selling a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.

You can't sell Drupal, or any modification you made to Drupal. You can charge money for having to make these changes but you can't make these changes available under a commercial license. Why not? Because Drupal's license, the General Public License 2 (GPL 2), mandates that all modifications also be distributed under the GPL.
GPL v2 FAQ

Does the GPL allow me to sell copies of the program for money? Yes, the GPL allows everyone to do this. The right to sell copies [gnu.org] is part of the definition of free software. Except in one special situation, there is no limit on what price you can charge. (The one exception is the required written offer to provide source code that must accompany binary-only release.)
The right to sell is just that: "Actually we encourage people who redistribute free software to charge as much as they wish or can. "

Re:Don't be an "indian giver" (1)

nicklott (533496) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529689)

From : http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLRequireSourcePostedPublic [gnu.org]

Does the GPL require that source code of modified versions be posted to the public?

The GPL does not require you to release your modified version. You are free to make modifications and use them privately, without ever releasing them. This applies to organizations (including companies), too; an organization can make a modified version and use it internally without ever releasing it outside the organization.

But if you release the modified version to the public in some way, the GPL requires you to make the modified source code available to the program's users, under the GPL.

If I know someone has a copy of a GPL-covered program, can I demand he give me a copy?

No. The GPL gives him permission to make and redistribute copies of the program if he chooses to do so. He also has the right not to redistribute the program, if that is what he chooses.

Re:Don't be an "indian giver" (5, Informative)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529581)

It all got so confusing

How is it confusing?

and now with GPL3 putting further restrictions on sharers

The restrictions are essentially closing loopholes whereby people could either avoid sharing or share something useless.

Under GPLv2, you could create a derivative work and run a website based on it, but not share the changes since you weren't technically distributing the software. Or you could create a signed binary, and hardware that won't run it unless that binary is exactly the same. Or you could patent some procedure used, so that people can see the source code, but if they do anything with it, they violate your patent.

All GPLv3 does is enforce the spirit of GPLv2. Specifically: Everyone has to be able to get the source code, make any change they want, recompile, and run the modified binary.

greater restrictions are a smack in the face to the original reason anyone wanted to get involved in the first place, i.e. to share.

If you're getting hit with these restrictions, chances are, you, yourself, are an "indian giver" -- you want to pretend to share, except, not really.

Public domain remains the last safe haven for shareable code.

Or GPLv2... or BSD... or Apache... or MIT...

You're suggesting that GPLv3 somehow "infected" GPLv2, or every other license out there. That's simply not true. While public domain is perhaps the only way to ensure your code can be included in any kind of project, I see nothing wrong with share alike, and I see no reason why closing the loopholes is "going too far".

Re:Don't be an "indian giver" (2, Informative)

Cecil (37810) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529635)

While public domain is perhaps the only way to ensure your code can be included in any kind of project...

As I understand it, the only project in which Modified-BSD code could not be included is a project where the author wanted to claim you recommend their project without your permission. So while it's technically true, I don't think it's fair to say that public domain is the only way to allow code to be used in any project, not realistically speaking anyway. Anyone who insists on falsely claiming I endorse or recommend their product because I wrote some code they yoinked is a charlatan and I don't think their project is legitimate.

Re:Don't be an "indian giver" (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529765)

Or you could patent some procedure used, so that people can see the source code, but if they do anything with it, they violate your patent.

No, you couldn't do that. In fact that's exactly the scenario given as an example case for section 7:

For example, if a patent license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the Program.

If you're getting hit with these restrictions, chances are, you, yourself, are an "indian giver" -- you want to pretend to share, except, not really.

Just because someone can't share absolutely everything, doesn't mean they don't want to share.

Re:Don't be an "indian giver" (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529819)

No, you couldn't do that. In fact that's exactly the scenario given as an example case for section 7:

Hmm, let me check...

For example, if a patent license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the Program.

That says nothing about also being able to compile and run it. I wonder if it's possible to patent the method used in the actual binary, but not the source?

However, I would say that giving away code, then requiring a royalty to do anything with it does fall under the "indian giver" label.

Just because someone can't share absolutely everything, doesn't mean they don't want to share.

No, it generally means they're under a contractual obligation with someone else who doesn't want to share.

Also, generally, what you can't share, you can isolate enough to GPL, or at least LGPL, the rest of your product. For example, several proprietary Linux games include things like SDL, which is LGPL'd.

Re:Don't be an "indian giver" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21529851)

restricting use wasn't in the spirit of GPLv2!
GPLv2's spirit was simple, do what you want to the code but tell us what you've done!

A Linus supporter? (3, Informative)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529911)

There are two vastly different interpretations of the GPLv2's intent.

Linus' interpretation is, so long as we get to see the code, it's fine, even if we can't do anything with it.

That is not the original intent. Say what you will about RMS, but he wrote the damned thing.

Do you know why RMS started this "free software crusade", founded GNU, and wrote any GPL at all? It starts with a printer. He'd messed with the old printer driver for the old printer -- it was prone to paper jams, so his hack was to at least detect a jam and alert the user, even if he couldn't fix it. Well, the new model of printer came in, and he was all set to port his fix, but he didn't have source code.

That's why GPLv2 is all about source code -- RMS wants to be able to tinker with any device he owns, and he saw lack of source code as the only thing stopping him. In the case of this printer driver, it was. But now we have tivoization. Tell me, if the lab computer was set to only accept signed binaries, what good would any amount of source code be? He could change it to do his paper-jam-fixing-hack, and even compile it -- he could do anything but run it -- which makes it completely useless.

Linus has a point, and so do you -- there is some academic value in seeing how people did what they did.

But Linus and you miss the crucial point -- it's not about restricting the developers, it's about empowering the users. The GPLv3 guarantees that any piece of software you get that's GPLv3-licensed, you can modify it, recompile it, and run it in the same way as the original. What's restrictive about that?

Re:A Linus supporter? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21530137)

Did he try sending a bug report to the printer manufacturer? Wouldn't that have saved him a lot of silly bother?

Re:A Linus supporter? (3, Insightful)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 6 years ago | (#21530299)

Why don't you do a modicum of research and find out? The story has been presented far and wide by RMS himself, and is easy enough to find. What you insinuate is that the trouble fixing the printer was somehow RMSes fault, which history shows to be untrue. The printer manufacturer wouldn't acknowledge the problem, and refused to let RMS see the source code so he could "fix" a bug they wouldn't acknowledge. This irrespective of how often said bug bit their customers. RMS spotted a severe social/technical problem and wrote the GPL to solve it (which it does, very successfully). Unscrupulous people have sought out loopholes to subvert the GPL, hence GPL v2, and now, with the advent of MS's "trusted computing initiative" and tivoization, GPL v3 to protect those freedoms in the face of some very powerful entities manipulating very powerful copyright and patent laws with the intent of subverting, even destroying, those same freedoms.

The GPL v2 and v3 are, whatever else one may say, the most successful attempt so far at creating a "constitution" that protects users rights in perpetuity, within the current framework of law designed to do just the opposite. It may not be perfect, but it's a damn sight better than most options out there.

Re:A Linus supporter? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21530371)

I didn't insinuate anything, but it's amusing to see how you responded.
If there are real problems with hardware, and the manufacturer doesn't respond appropriately, then they will lose sales, won't they? Now, maybe in this case they didn't do the right thing but a single anecdote doesn't mean much. Most manufacturers care about their products and support them well. Why did RMS have to go mental about it? Why do people think they are better qualified to fix printer drivers than the original authors?
Sure there are cases where the support doesn't live up to the best ideals, but does that mean that everything must change to suit you? I say it doesn't.

Re:Don't be an "indian giver" (2, Interesting)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21530397)

"Under GPLv2, you could create a derivative work and run a website based on it, but not share the changes since you weren't technically distributing the software. Or you could create a signed binary, and hardware that won't run it unless that binary is exactly the same. Or you could patent some procedure used, so that people can see the source code, but if they do anything with it, they violate your patent."

You still can run a web site on modified GPL3 software and not share the modifications you made. It's the AGPL3 (http://www.fsf.org/agplv3-pr [fsf.org] ) that prohibits this. GPL3 only prohibits you from bundling software and hardware in such a way you cannot change the software part, unlike the GPL2 that doesn't disallow that.

Please, read the licenses. We need more information, not disinformation. BTW, the article quoted by the GP is ancient, from before the release of GPL3.

Its about damn time! (1)

flu1d (664635) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529483)

Qmail, IMO would have been far superior to postfix had this happened 5 years ago.

Re:Its about damn time! (1)

Cecil (37810) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529659)

Qmail has great features and I'm sure it's secure, but I'm really not terribly keen on its implementation (last time I tried it, anyway). Its method of storing its database as raw inodes is... mildly frightening, to say the least.

I'll continue to use Postfix for the foreseeable future.

Re:Its about damn time! (1)

flu1d (664635) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529745)

Oh I agree with you totally, I'm not moving off of Postfix any time soon but I do feel that Qmail had more potential originally. Its really late to release Qmail like this but fortunately there's still a lot of fans that might finally implement some modern features built in to Qmail.

Re:Its about damn time! (1)

eneville (745111) | more than 6 years ago | (#21530349)

The filesystem is a great way since the kernels make file system operations atomic. Which means you don't suffer the same DB locks that you might if you were to use something like bdb/sqlite for database operations. Seriously it's a great idea. The only time I see a problem is when one might need to drop a bunch of mail from the queue, atomically, as this requires stopping of qmail-send/qmail-remote/qmail-local etc, dropping the mail, and resuming those processes. I would imagine that similar concerns exist using conventional DB storage, in that the delete operations should only occur when the sending process is halted.

Re:Its about damn time! (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529861)

Probably closer to ten. qmail used to be the [best|only] alternative to sendmail. This is why a lot of ISPs jumped to it. It's also why its empty security promises meant something. In the interim, several good mail servers have risen up to replace both sendmail and qmail such as exim or postfix or some of the Windows apps if that's your kink.

Re:Its about damn time! (1)

VENONA (902751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21530351)

May still be the best|only alternative to sendmail. It does scale, at least well enough for Qwest, and I'd imagine other large ISPs. If I were running it because I needed an MTA that was proven in terms of volume, I'd stay with it. You don't change a large-scale MTA because of a license, unless it's restrictive, which this isn't. Duh.

This is sure to come up in the next couple of LISA (Large Installation System Administrator) http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=LISA_(conference)&oldid=157638900 [wikipedia.org] conferences.

LISA is sponsored by USENIX and SAGE. Talented people will be there, and talking about this. Realistically, large installations aren't going to change much at all for a couple of years, minimum. If I were in a position where I had to worry about a large MTA installation--this wouldn't be issue I'd sweat. I'd keep track of news, as part of the normal course of events, and plan on being on the next couple of conferences. Which I'd be doing, anyway. Again, as part of the normal course of events.

You can tell you're on Slashdot because professional organizations such as USENIX, SAGE, etc., don't get a mention. Instead, hordes of people (some of whom will be running a single Linux consumer box from home, with no further experience) will go straight to religious wars on licensing, or parrot whatever random crap they've heard about Bernstein.

The author first delivers two links to his site, then a link to a Slashdot Developer article, which points to the only real reference in the entire mess, which would be the 'Some thoughts on security after ten years of qmail 1.0' PDF, referenced from http://developers.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/11/06/0131227&tid=172 [slashdot.org]

Then he goes on to mention that Bernstein has 'recently come under attack' as if the guy hasn't *always* be controversial, gives us a link to a Google video, and ends with an obligatory (for Slashdot authors) question, with which he hopes to stir some controversy. Since this is a bogus article pumping a somewhat real article, I won't repeat his dumb-ass question about licensing.

Seriously, folks, just go read http://developers.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/11/06/0131227&tid=172 [slashdot.org] and the PDF if you really care about qmail and Berstein's thoughts (agree or disagree) about security. Of course, this being Slashdot, maybe 10% will actually read the referenced PDF.

Most will argue BSD v GPL2 v GPL3 v PD v vi v emacs. The up side is that 1% of those will be some smart sonsabitches, who just couldn't let some really stupid licensing post pass, and I'll learn something about BSD v GPL2 v GPL3 v PD v vi v emacs. But that's a really hit or miss way to do business. In the end, we'd conserve a lot of energy if we just dragged Zonk out of his cave and beat him with keyboards.

dnscache as an common daemon (2, Insightful)

Tuqui (96668) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529561)

I really like DJB approach in many programs but his daemon as services makes his good programs difficult to use.
I would like to use dnscache as a normal daemon, one below the /etc/init.d , that will be cool.

Re:dnscache as an common daemon (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529729)

Well, this is good for you, because you can now write a script for /etc/init.d which wraps around svc. Well, you could do that anyway, but someone else can now do that and package Qmail with it.

Understand that he was trying to replace /etc/init.d with something slightly more standard and user-friendly. This is an admirable goal -- I'm not sure I agree with /service, but I do think, in particular, /etc/rc*.d needs to go, and maybe /etc/init.d with it.

Re:dnscache as an common daemon (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529809)

more standard and user-friendly

Brilliant, you almost got me there. DJB's approach to standards is to write his own incompatible version. As for user friendly, he can't even put the man pages where they can be found.

Other than not watching for dead processes, what exactly is the problem with /etc/init.d? Certainly, the collections of links in /etc/rc.d can be a handful, but if these are giving you grief, why aren't you running a BSD startup?

Re:dnscache as an common daemon (4, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529885)

DJB's approach to standards is to write his own incompatible version.

Right, since there isn't a standard right now...

As for user friendly, he can't even put the man pages where they can be found.

That's why I called it "trying".

Other than not watching for dead processes, what exactly is the problem with /etc/init.d?

Well, init.d is complete in the sense that brainfuck is Turing-complete.

Which is to say, it's actually awkward for quite a lot of things. For instance: networking.

On Gentoo, the way multiple network interfaces are dealt with is by assigning each of them an init script, all symlinked to the same one. Gentoo init scripts have dependencies, so I can have something depend on some or all of the network interfaces being up.

On Debian, this is dealt with by having one "networking" init script that then ties into its own init-like system for individual interfaces -- ifup/ifdown. I can force certain scripts to run after an interface comes up or goes down.

On Ubuntu desktops, this is dealt with by having a NetworkManager daemon (started by init.d) that handles everything itself, by communicating with a GUI. I'm fairly sure it uses ifup/ifdown in some way, as it seems to respect some of my static scripts.

Gentoo is the closest to the "right way", in that there's a unified way to start/stop something. That is, on Gentoo, I know I can stop a network device by doing /etc/init.d/net.eth1 stop. But Ubuntu's the most user-friendly way, because I can do it from a GUI, and, for instance, easily migrate between wireless networks.

Now, go read about upstart [ubuntu.com] , for a completely different approach. In particular, the ability to receive "events" from, say, udev or HAL, means that the equivalent of "/etc/init.d/net.eth1 start" will be run when I plug a cable into eth1, without removing that functionality, or forcing it into a completely different system (ifup/down).

At least, that's how I think it would work. In practice, while Upstart is used in Ubuntu, it's mostly used just to launch all the old sysv rc scripts, which then launch things like NetworkManager.

Re:dnscache as an common daemon (1)

jibjibjib (889679) | more than 6 years ago | (#21530523)

On my system networking is done by deleting the mess of scripts that came with the distro and writing a simple script with a few ifconfig and iwconfig commands.

on Gentoo, I know I can stop a network device by doing /etc/init.d/net.eth1 stop.
What's wrong with "ifconfig eth1 down"? That works on every distro.

Re:dnscache as an common daemon (1)

IkeTo (27776) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529969)

> Well, you could do that anyway, but someone else can now do that and package Qmail with it.

Yes, that "someone else" will be all distributors like Debian, Fedora, etc. There's no point asking all users to learn svc when they already have to know inittab, init.d and inetd.

djb really should have allowed that long long ago. What's the point complaining "every distribution has their own way to starting deamons" when each distribution happily support their users by writing the required code and have forums/IRC channels answering questions from users about them.

By the way, I don't see /etc/rc*.d to be going away anytime soon. If you think there is any important features missing from it, the best way to go is probably to file a wishlist bug in the bug tracking systems of the distributors.

Re:dnscache as an common daemon (2, Informative)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#21530151)

By the way, I don't see /etc/rc*.d to be going away anytime soon. If you think there is any important features missing from it, the best way to go is probably to file a wishlist bug in the bug tracking systems of the distributors.

It's being worked on. [ubuntu.com]

Re:dnscache as an common daemon (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529777)

daemontools is not too bad once you know it's on the box. Documentation helps too.

Don't be surprised if there are variants with all of the normal /etc/init.d mechanisms soon.

Google video slashdotted? (1)

1 a bee (817783) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529571)

Can't seem to load the video: hangs. Is it possible that Google can be slashdotted?

Re:Google video slashdotted? (1)

Denis Lemire (27713) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529605)

I can't view it either... Good to know I'm not the only one.

Re:Google video slashdotted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21529613)

No the video was no in public domain.

Re:Google video slashdotted? (1)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529705)

I couldn't load the video either, so I googled for the title. It still wouldn't open up, so I used my back-button to get back to the search page and used the "Watch video here" link from the google search page. That worked!

The software is good. (3, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529577)

The crypto software and FFT software especially so, but maintenance isn't always as hot. That's hardly DJB's fault - they are public domain and nobody has run with them. On the other hand, it is not acceptable that his software is not being properly distributed, promoted or documented. Nor is it acceptable that he allows his personality quirks to interfere with the primary purpose of getting code into active circulation.

Re:The software is good. (0, Offtopic)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529949)

On the other hand, it is not acceptable that his software is not being properly distributed, promoted or documented. Nor is it acceptable that he allows his personality quirks to interfere with the primary purpose of getting code into active circulation.
Wow, a low slashdot user id gives greater powers than I thought.

"it is not acceptable?" WTF.

Late to the party (1, Flamebait)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | more than 6 years ago | (#21529859)

DJB is so late to this party. Releasing his code about 5 years ago would have been more useful to the rest of us. Myself, like many other people, threw the towel in on using his tools seriously a long time ago. At least endless qmail patching isn't needed anymore for those devoted to that MTA.

What headache? (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 6 years ago | (#21530033)

Given the headache that incompatibility between GPLv3 and GPLv2 is causing developers, will we see more of this?
What headache would that be? The GPL2 has a phrase "or (at your option) any later version." which makes it trivially compatible with GPL3.

it has nothing to do with GPL (1)

BokLM (550487) | more than 6 years ago | (#21530295)

Given the headache that incompatibility between GPLv3 and GPLv2 is causing developers, will we see more of this?

DJB changing the license for his software has nothing to do with GPLv2 vs GPLv3. His software was actually not open source !

Now criticise him for making it public domain (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 6 years ago | (#21530405)

Coming Soon! Microsoft Embraced QMail with Extended features for use only by MS applications....

This spells trouble (1)

harmonica (29841) | more than 6 years ago | (#21530431)

Woodward won't like Bernstein giving the source to the public.
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