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Code Analysis of Linux Wireless Team's ath5k Driver
By Thom Holwerda, submitted by dylansmrjones on 2007-09-30 13:40:35
SFLC has released a code analysis of the infamous ath5k driver in Linux. SFLC has also - in the aftermath of the OpenBSD-Team vs. Linux-Team 'License Flame War' - released a paper on what 'copyrightable' means, as well as one on proper usage of non-GPL'ed code in GPL'ed projects. All as part of guidance for developers wishing to use permissive licensed code in GPL'ed projects. Groklaw naturally also has a take on this.
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Read Comments: 1-10 -- 11-20 -- 21-30 -- 31-40 -- 41-50 -- 51-60 -- 61-70 -- 71-80 -- 81-88
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RE[21]: re-license?
By lemur2 on 2007-10-01 13:44:23
> Code given back under BSD will always be open, no matter what other parties do with it.

Sure, the code you give back can be used in closed source project, but the very code you submitted, will always be free.


Unfortunately, not so.

Example: IBM invented a protocol at one time called "Server Message Block". It was effectively released under a permissive license, a very BSD-like license.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ser...

This same protocol has since been given the "embrace, extend and extinguish" treatment by Microsoft:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emb...

Microsoft did a similar trick with Kerberos.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ker...

This was possible because Kerberos was originally released under a copyright license similar to the BSD license. No requirement to "give back" extensions, or in other words no copy-left.

The very thing that makes an "embrace, extend, extinguish" strategy at all possible is an open and permissive license (similar to the BSD license) for the original concepts and/or code.

So no, sorry, but there is enormous historical precedent which shows us that the code under any BSD-type license will not necessarily always be free. It is unfortunately all too easy (given a near-monopoly position in a market) to extend and then effectively extinguish (by making incompatible extensions) any code released under such a permissive license.

Edited 2007-10-01 13:52
Permalink - Score: 3
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RE[22]: re-license?
By mcduck on 2007-10-01 13:57:15
Sorry, but you fail at this one.

So no, sorry, but there is enormous historical precedent which shows us that the code under any BSD-type license will not necessarily always be free

The original code is still FREE. Do a google, im sure you can find the _original_ source of both.

What other companies added to _their_ versions later is irrelevant to this discussion.

Example:

You run project 1, BSD license

I take your code, make project 2

I run project 2 under a propriary license, and develop it further.

Your code is still free. No matter what I do to your code, your code will always remain free.
Permalink - Score: 1
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RE[23]: re-license?
By lemur2 on 2007-10-01 14:10:59
> The original code is still FREE. Do a google, im sure you can find the _original_ source of both.

Minor point. The original code to Kerberos is still open, but it is next-to-useless because that vast majority of what are effectively extended Kerberos installations are incompatible due to their proprieatry extensions. In effect, the original Kerberos code is thereby extinguished.

> What other companies added to _their_ versions later is irrelevant to this discussion.

Says you. From my point of view, it is the whole discussion. The only effective difference between, and barrier between permissive BSD-like licenses and copyleft GPL-like licenses is that the permissive licenses have no defence against embrace, extend and extinguish tactics by megacorp monopolies, whereas the copyleft licenses do.

What is totally mysterious is that when you point these facts out to permissive license advocates, and you point out that a permissive license wants give-back but doesn't require it ... the advocates do their level best to change the subject and introduce irrelevancies, even going so far as to claim that the subject isn't the subject.

> Your code is still free. No matter what I do to your code, your code will always remain free.

No, you aren't paying attention. Your original code may still be free, but it is effectively extinguished.

The further point ... how is it moral for Microsoft to embrace (read take) IBM's Server Message Block, and MIT's Kerberos, and extend them both and effectively extinguish the original works, and then charge everyone else on the planet and literally make billions of profit off the work and efforts of other people?

You "permissive license" advocates are in effect claiming the moral high ground, but you simply don't hold that ground at all. There is no moral in letting a megacorp rip people off using YOUR work to do so.

Edited 2007-10-01 14:17
Permalink - Score: 4
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RE[23]: re-license?
By CrazyDude1 on 2007-10-01 14:42:05
Lemur2: You really, really need to think this whole thing through, before you make yourself look even sillier and more inconsistent with yourself than you already have.

So now you need to resort to insults. Nice way to carry a conversation.

To answer your question, one one side you guys say that license is license, that is it. So if license gives you some rights, you can exercise it. No moral stuff involved.

Then you say we whine on Novell-Microsft deal because it was not moral. And on the same time do the immoral BSD code squatting. Do you see the inconsistency here?

Can you show me a similar inconsitency with BSD team's stand?

Edited 2007-10-01 14:42
Permalink - Score: 1
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Stallman's View - RE[24]: re-license?
By CrazyDude1 on 2007-10-01 14:58:32
Now Lemur2 something on the same topic from the horse's mouth. I hope that makes you feel the pain of BSD developers. Stallman on unfair competition between xemacs and emacs:

XEmacs is GNU software because it's a modified version of a GNU program. And it is GNU software because the FSF is the copyright holder for most of it, and therefore the legal responsibility for protecting its free status falls on us whether we want it or not. This is why the term "GNU XEmacs" is legitimate.

But in another sense it is not GNU software, because we can't use XEmacs in the GNU system: using it would mean paying a price in terms of our ability to enforce the GPL. Some of the people who have worked on XEmacs have not provided, and have not asked other contributors to provide, the legal papers to help us enforce the GPL. I have managed to get legal papers for some parts myself, but most of the XEmacs developers have not helped me get them.

XEmacs was possible because free software means that anyone can change it and distribute a modified version. I have no regrets about establishing this freedom for Emacs. Everyone should have the freedom to change any program, and this is not limited to changes that the original author likes.

Many people have taken advantage of the freedom to change GNU Emacs, over the last decade. Most of them were willing to cooperate on integrating their changes into Emacs. XEmacs arose as a separate forked version because some of the developers--starting with Zawinski--were unwilling to do that.

People should have the freedom to decide what to work on, including the freedom to compete with the GNU project, but it's a shame when they make that choice. The whole community loses when someone chooses competition rather than cooperation.

But this is worse than competition--it is unfair competition. The XEmacs developers can and do copy code they like from Emacs. If I could copy the code I like from XEmacs in the same way, at least the rivalry would be fair. But I can't do that, because substantial parts of XEmacs don't have legal papers, or don't have known authors.

As long as we cannot use XEmacs in the GNU system, the GNU project has to make sure that Emacs is not left behind. In other words, we have to behave like rivals too, even though we wish there were no rivalry. When XEmacs developers try to persuade people to use, test, fix and enhance XEmacs instead of Emacs, the GNU project can't sit still; we need them to use, test, fix and enhance Emacs instead.


There is good code in XEmacs, which I'd be happy to have in a merged Emacs any day. But I cannot copy it out of XEmacs myself because of the uncertain authorship and/or lack of legal papers.

This problem could probably be resolved, at least for large parts of XEmacs, with substantial help from the authors of that code. Otherwise, the GNU project has to write or find replacements for it.

I invite people who like Emacs, and want the best possible version of Emacs to be available for use in the GNU system, to help in one way or the other.

Edited 2007-10-01 15:01
Permalink - Score: 1
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RE[24]: re-license?
By lemur2 on 2007-10-01 15:07:02
> So now you need to resort to insults. Nice way to carry a conversation.

Oh, come on. This comment was made in reply to a post which had repeated for the fourth or fifth time that GPL developers weren't moral, yet at the same time refused to answer the basic question put (which BTW is still unanswered) - "why don't you include any 'give code back' requirement in your license if that is what you want and actually expect of people"?

> Then you say we whine on Novell-Microsft deal because it was not moral. And on the same time do the immoral BSD code squatting. Do you see the inconsistency here?

No inconsistency. Novell-Microsoft deal is bad because it offers patent license to some recipients of the code but not others, thereby trying to establish a sole-source supplier and institute per-seat license fees for code that was written by other people and whose intent for that code was that it remain free. Bad. Immoral. Quite clear cut, really.

The BSD license is not good because it allows code to become non-free. If you really want to let a megacorp take you code and imorally rip Joe public off for using an obscured extended incompatible version of it ... then by all means use a BSD license ... but don't expect me to be complicit in any of that because I don't like ripping Joe public off, it it is all the same to you.

The BSD developers are hypocrites (which, in case you didn't know, is a bad thing and not all that moral) because they think it fine for a megacorp to be allowed to embrace their code and rip joe public off with it and not give anything back ... but it is "immoral" for GPL developers to embrace their code and ensure it remains free for all including Joe public ... but not give anything back (their reason being that lack of assurance that their efforts would remain free).

There is your "inconsitency with BSD team's stand". It is not, I grant you, a similar "inconsistency" to that which you claimed ... because the GPL position is in no way inconsistent.

The GPL position is entirely consistent ... "if you use our code contributions, you must ensure the code remains open by giving any changes back and by granting royalty-free use of any embodied patents to any and all recipients of the code". The GPL developers are perfectly consistent with that.
Permalink - Score: 4
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RE: Stallman's View - RE[25]: re-license?
By lemur2 on 2007-10-01 15:19:51
> The whole community loses when someone chooses competition rather than cooperation.

I agree with Stallman.

So why don't BSD developers put a copy-left requirement in their license, to enable co-operation, to ensure that the code contributed as open source by developers remains open, to provide a defence against "embrace, extend and extinguish" tactics by megacorps, to ensure that Joe public isn't charged for your work which you developed with an intent it should be open, and to actually ensure what you state was your intention "that recipients of this code should give their changes back".

Why not simply require as part of your license terms that any changes are to be given back to the project?

This is, after all, what you say is what you want to happen. It is what you say you are getting all riled up over. So ... just require it and the "problem" you say you have with GPL developers would disappear ... and Joe public is safe from being ripped off by megacorps. Everyone wins ... except megacorps.

You still utterly fail to explain your position, and your insistence on being incompatible with the GPL, yet you are also saying that you "want code back" just as enabling compatibility with the GPL would actually give to you.

You are making no sense. Get back to me when you can make some sense, won't you?

Edited 2007-10-01 15:25
Permalink - Score: 3
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RE[24]: re-license?
By ichi on 2007-10-01 15:22:07
"Then you say we whine on Novell-Microsft deal because it was not moral. And on the same time do the immoral BSD code squatting. Do you see the inconsistency here?

Can you show me a similar inconsitency with BSD team's stand?"


The MS-Novel deal goes against the spirit of the GPL license, so a new version was developed to fix that loophole.

BSD advocates claim that "taking but not giving back" goes against the spirit of the BSD license (although it seems to be only in some cases, namely when GPL is involved), yet they do nothing to fix the license to enforce what they actually want.

You cannot say one thing on your license and then request something else, because the licensee might not be able to comply with that extra requirement.
Permalink - Score: 4
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RE[2]: Stallman's View - RE[26]: re-license?
By CrazyDude1 on 2007-10-01 15:23:08
Lemur2 if stallman's words on "how unfair this practice is" doesn't ring a bell for you then i certainly am discussing with the wrong person.

Edited 2007-10-01 15:25
Permalink - Score: 0
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RE[3]: Stallman's View - RE[27]: re-license?
By ichi on 2007-10-01 15:33:57
BSD developers put themselves in an unfair position releasing their work under an unfair license. How comes they later complain about being treated exactly the way they're asking (as per the BSD license wording) to be treated?
Permalink - Score: 2

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