[Squeakfoundation]Re: Sublicensing seems possible

Paul D. Fernhout pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Fri Apr 4 23:44:22 CEST 2003

Tim Rowledge wrote:
> When Alan and the others were at Disney they were using Squeak under the
> self-same Squeak-L that the rest of us were/are. Since they were
> modifying and extending the system they _had_ to release those changes
> under the SqueakL just like the rest of us. Surely that cuts Disney out
> of the loop completely?

One relevant section of the license is:
"If the Modified Software contains modifications, overwrites, 
replacements, deletions, additions, or ports to new platforms of: (1) 
the methods of existing class objects or their existing relationships, 
or (2) any part of the virtual machine, then for so long as the Modified 
Software is distributed or sublicensed to others, such modified, 
overwritten, replaced, deleted, added and ported portions of the 
Modified Software must be made publicly available, preferably by means 
of download from a website, at no charge under the terms set forth in 
Exhibit A below."

Perhaps it depends on whether one considers something like Morphic (or 
other new tools made while SqC was at Disney) to be an extension or to 
be a seperate add-on application. By my understanding of the Squeak 
license issued from Apple, I don't think it covers most of Morphic (e.g. 
likely neither the most basic morph and certainly not a derived clock 
morph) -- so what am I not understanding here? Why would a clock morph 
developed at Disney be covered under any grant of license from Apple? If 
  such a morph is covered, then why all my own morphs (perhaps an 
advanced clock morph or a video game morph) not be covered (and require 
source disclosure and SqueakL sublicensing) under the Squeak license for 
the same reason?

Personally, I can see how someone might consider Morphic entirely as an 
add-on, as opposed to a pure base class change (even though many base 
class changes were involved to support Morphic). Likely, SqC might not 
agree and would argue Morphic and all their other related work are 
entirely base class method changes or additions (or VM changes).  But 
still, if one argues Morphic (or parts of it like individual Morphs) is 
not under the Squeak License, then what license (issued specifically by 
Disney) is it under?

Since the Squeak license tries to both allow people to build on top of 
Squeak and keep their changes proprietary, while at the same time trying 
to force people to give back ports or base changes, perhaps it depends 
some in interpretation of what are core "additions to ... the methods of 
existing class objects or their existing relationships" and what are 
not. Related issues pop up with the GPL or any other similar license 
that tries to control "derived works" or works that link to the original 
work in some specific ways.

I guess I am uncomfortable with this situation. If Morphic is covered 
somehow by the Squeak License, given that it was developed IIRC entirely 
after SqC left Apple (although granted there was HyperSqueak as a 
precursor), then what seperates out say, a new web server for Squeak as 
not being under the Squeak License, in terms of the licensing 
differences from Morphic? Many others who work with Squeak are obviously 
not unduly uncomfortable with this issue (including apparently SqC).

Personally, I would be happy to have all my work on such a system be 
covered by the original "viral" license (even to the extent of being 
GPL'd) -- but it is the ambiguity I see here that bothers me -- 
expecially given that Morphic and the Squeak support community are so 
closely tied in many ways. And, if I am correct, then I have no legal 
license to use Morphic even though people then at Disney made it 
available once upon a time. (Note: _morally_ I think the intent may be 
clear, but _legally_ is another issue...)

The intellectual overhead of dealing with a license applicable to only 
one system and one community also bothers me -- but if it was a clear 
license, this wouldn't be such a big deal. Yet, I don't see how the 
Squeak license covers most of Morphic (and lots of other stuff), so 
either I am misunderstanding the implications of the license or there is 
something else going on here I am missing.

--Paul Fernhout

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