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usage of software [was: Re: Fwd: Re: [ox-en] Walther]

On Sat, 28 Feb 2004, Benj. Mako Hill wrote:

On Sat, Feb 28, 2004 at 05:31:05PM [PHONE NUMBER REMOVED], auskadi wrote:
Debian is an explicitly apolitical organization

Or perhaps you lack a concrete understanding of many FLOSS developers
particular analysis or perhaps you don't aren't grokking the way I am
using the term.

debian appears to lack any critical political analysis.  But eally
if flosss is or has the pretensions you say it has, if debian is
part of "gpl" society how can you still sit back there and say it is

This is more of a reply to Martin than Mako...

I agree with Mako, that you can't constrain the use anyone else makes
of your software (though you can choose what you yourself work on). 
However, there are people who do think that you can use licenses to
constrain the use of ... I was going to say 'software', but I'll
make it a more general 'designs'. The ones I know of are in 2 groups:

a. People doing free hardware designs. Until recently there were very few
hardware designs under the gpl or standard software licenses; but there
have been people making designs available on the internet since before
the web. The majority of these had - and quite a few still have - 
one-off licenses which say things like 'this design may not be used for 
military purposes'. At one time I thought this was one of the major
reasons why free hardware design had not generated the same kind of
momentum as free software, and changing the licenses to usage-neutral
ones would help, but I'm not so sure of this any more. I am sure
that this kind of license immediately scares off anyone apart from
individuals; it's pretty much like saying 'we have a clause that
says we can sue you if you do something that in our opinion is wrong'.
Companies run a mile from this.. though maybe Martin wouldn't see
that as a bad thing?

b. People clustered round a small group of licenses of which IMO the
most significant is the license formerly known as the ggpl ('greater
good public license'), now the cgpl. See
This license includes the UN declaration on human rights as part
of its conditions.

Why is this (AFAIK) a small group of people? Why (AFAIK) haven't most
people heard of this license?   

If Martin really believes that the way forward is to put political
restrictions on usage, I'd suggest that he starts working with the
ggpl people or, creates his own license and tries to persuade people to 
adopt it. In a year or two, you should have proved whether it can work or 
not ;-)


Organization: projekt

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