[linux-elitists] Bizarre press release of the day

Eugen Leitl eugen@leitl.org
Sat Nov 22 03:47:11 PST 2003


On Fri, Nov 21, 2003 at 06:05:45PM -0800, Adam Kessel wrote:

> I didn't mean to imply that this was particular only to Free Software,
> however, I do think it's at least marginally easier for inadvertent
> infringement to occur with Free Software because: 
> 
> - source code is more readily available and modifiable

We must fix that immediately. Source code availability
is the Achilles heel of open source.

> - confusion among the various meanings of Free.
>   - I'm not saying that this confusion *should* exist, or that companies
>     have any less of a duty to monitor for compliance with Free licenses
>     vs. non-free, only that as a matter of practice, this confusion
>     exists, and it may thus be more likely for this sort of infringement
>     to occur

At the funny little farm where I work, and which is starting to use free
software (relunctantly, because I've been talking to them about it for 3
years; but mostly now because IBM & his dog are doing it, and the city they
live in adopted GNU/Linux for its municipal infrastructure) it is quite
easy: you just ask people. I had no idea you were free to use a binary,
but had to opensource your code if linked to a static library version of
it. (Oh, and they still think Open Source sucks ass, especially gcc).

We asked. So can anybody: they do have the frigging email in their
coprophagate environment, right?

> - perhaps an erroneous belief on the part of companies that there is no
>   entity around to enforce free software licenses.  This is, of course,

How is anybody ever to find out? Difficult to hide a remotely
triggerable easter egg in code running on a server somewhere.
Disgruntled employees, maybe. Shipped packages are different,
but you can still link them statically, and no one will be the
wiser.

>   true to the limited extent that there is more money behind proprietary
>   software companies at the time being, and thus they can put more
>   resources into monitoring and enforcing copyright.

If company A is in violation of package Z, their competitor C
would probably be interested in them publicly humiliated,
and a bit bled. It's a dog eat dog world, purportedly.

-- Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a>
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