1998-10-06 - Re: propose: `cypherpunks license’ (Re: Wanted: Twofish source code)

Header Data

From: Richard Stallman <rms@santafe.edu>
To: rick@campbellcentral.org
Message Hash: 84079e7e8f2a87b92c4119d3a323a9cc8b29d4ade68392cc1fd89ca7cbe41a64
Message ID: <199810062305.RAA29198@wijiji.santafe.edu>
Reply To: <199810051105.HAA13894@germs.dyn.ml.org>
UTC Datetime: 1998-10-06 01:10:55 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 09:10:55 +0800

Raw message

From: Richard Stallman <rms@santafe.edu>
Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 09:10:55 +0800
To: rick@campbellcentral.org
Subject: Re: propose: `cypherpunks license' (Re: Wanted: Twofish source code)
In-Reply-To: <199810051105.HAA13894@germs.dyn.ml.org>
Message-ID: <199810062305.RAA29198@wijiji.santafe.edu>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

      I may wish to write some code for free, that
    is, have the intention of letting you use my source code in your
    programs, and to write other code for profit.

Please separate the issues of freedom and price.  I think you are
lumping them together.  A number of people these days write free
software for profit; there are companies whose business is based on
developing free software, and all the software they develop is free.
See http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html for more about these

    I would vastly prefer that people simply place their code in the
    public domain explicitly.

If you want to use our code in non-free software, and leave your users
(who would then be our users also) no freedom, it is understandable
that you would ask for this.  But if we care about their freedom, as
well as about your freedom, it is natural that we would say no.

I've heard many people say that the X11 license is "more free" than
the GNU GPL.  Implicit in that is an assumption that you should
measure the freedom where the program leaves the hands of the original
developer.  But that doesn't measure the *users'* freedom.

If you measure the freedom where the program reaches the end user, you
find that the GPL results in more freedom for the users, because it
protects the users' freedom.  The X11 and BSD licenses have failed to
do that.  A large fraction of the users of X11 are running proprietary
modified versions; for them, X11 has very little freedom.  The same
was true of BSD--most of its users were running the proprietary
systems SunOS 4 and Ultrix.  (Maybe that is still true.)

See http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/x.html for more explanation.

But if you do decide to use a non-copyleft free license, please don't
use the BSD license.  Please use the X11 license, or some other that
is free of special problems.  See
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/bsd.html for an explanation.