Debian Weekly News - email
Date: Sat, 20 Mar 1999 03:01:16 -0700 (MST) From: Richard Stallman <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org CC: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Apple and Open Source After studying Apple's new source code license, the APSL, I have concluded that it falls short of being a free software license. It has three fatal flaws, any of which would be sufficient to make the software less than free. * Disrespect for privacy. The APSL does not allow you to make a modified version and use it for your own private purposes, without publishing your changes. * Central control. Anyone who releases (or even uses, other than for R&D) a modified version is required to notify one specific organization, which happens to be Apple. * Possibly of revocation at any time. The termination clause says that Apple can revoke this license, and forbid you to keep using all or some part of the software, any time someone makes an accusation of patent or copyright infringement. In this way, if Apple declines to fight a questionable patent (or one whose applicability to the code at hand is questionable), you will not be able to have your own day in court to fight it, because you would have to fight Apple's copyright as well. Such a termination clause is especially bad for users outside the US, since it makes them indirectly vulnerable to the insane US patent system and the incompetent US patent office, which ordinarily could not touch them in their own countries. Any one of these flaws makes a license unacceptable. If these three flaws were solved, the APSL would be a free software license with three major practical problems, reminiscent of the NPL: * It is not a true copyleft, because it allows linking with other files which may be entirely proprietary. * It is unfair, since it requires you to give Apple rights to your changes which Apple will not give you for its code. * It is incompatible with the GNU GPL. Of course, the major difference between the NPL and the APSL is that the NPL *is* a free software license. These problems are significant in the case of the NPL because the NPL has no fatal flaws. Would that the same were true of the APSL. At a fundamental level, the APSL makes a claim that, if it became accepted, would stretch copyright powers in a dangerous way: it claims to be able to set conditions for simply *running* the software. As I understand it, copyright law in the US does not permit this, except when encryption or a license manager is used to enforce the conditions. It would be terribly ironic if a failed attempt at making a free software license resulted in an effective extension of the range of copyright power. Aside from this, we must remember that only part of Mac OS is being released under the APSL. Even if the fatal flaws and practical problems of the APSL were fixed, even if it were changed into a very good free software license, that would do no good for the other parts of Mac OS whose source code is not being released at all. We must not judge all of a company by just part of what they do. Overall, I think that Apple's action is an example of the effects of the year-old "open source" movement: of its plan to appeal to business with the purely materialistic goal of faster development, while putting aside the deeper issues of freedom, community, cooperation, and what kind of society we want to live in. Apple has grasped perfectly the concept with which "open source" is promoted, which is "show users the source and they will help you fix bugs". What Apple has not grasped--or has dismissed--is the spirit of free software, which is that we form a community to cooperate on the commons of software.
Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 13:47:01 -0800 From: Darren Benham <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Developer Slink CDs Linux Central has generously offered free CDs to Debian Developers. In order to ease their work load, however, they asked Debian to verify the requests that come in. Wichert requested the vote system be modified (since it already verifies developer status based on the keyring). Add filtering (one request per developer) and a way to collect the data and we're off. The end result is cdrequest@debian. All developers who wish a free CD set from Linux Central needs to send a properly formatted email to email@example.com. Then, wait. Linux Central will start shipping April 1st. The data is passed through a pseudo header similar to the way the bug tracking system gets data. In the body of the message, include the following: * Name: - shipping name * Addr1: - street address * Addr2: - City/state/postal code * Addr3: - Country code (do not include if you're in the USA) * Arch: - desired CD sets The ADDR3: tag will be used to sort orders between national and international shipping. If you are in the US and you put an ADDR3: tag, you're liable to delay shipment of your CDs since it'll be queued for processing as an international shipment. The ARCH: tag is a choice of i386, sparc, alpha, m68k and source. The limit is two sets. If you want two, list the choices separated by a pipe (|) symbol. Samples: _________________________________________________________________ To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com Subject: CD Request Name: Darren Benham Addr1: 2121 S. Pine Dr. Addr2: Las Vegas, NV 89108 Arch: i386 _________________________________________________________________ Above, Darren lives in the US (no ADDR3: line) and is requesting the i386 CD binary set. _________________________________________________________________ To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: email@example.com Subject: CDs bitte Name: Norbert Roeder Addr1: Am Seegraben 6 Addr2: D-63505 Langenselbold Addr3: Germany Arch: sparc|source _________________________________________________________________ Above, Norbert lives in Germany (see, the ADDR3: line) and is requesting two sets, the sparc binaries and the source CDs If you have any questions, send email to The Project Secretary References 1. http://www.linuxcentral.com/ 2. mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org -- Please cc all mailing list replies to me, also. ========================================================================= * http://benham.net/index.html <>< * * -------------------- * -----------------------------------------------* * Debian Developer, Debian Project Secretary, Debian Webmaster * * <email@example.com> <firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com> * * <firstname.lastname@example.org> * ========================================================================= -- To UNSUBSCRIBE, email to email@example.com with a subject of "unsubscribe". Trouble? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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This issue of Debian Weekly News was edited by Joey Hess.