Squeak Licence

Lex Spoon lex at cc.gatech.edu
Fri May 6 15:46:28 UTC 2005


Alexandre Bergel <bergel at iam.unibe.ch> wrote:
> Serge, Stef and I are interested to promote Squeak at an Open Source conference (http://2005.rencontresmondiales.org). However, it is likely that we cannot because Squeak is not what we call "libre" (I am not sure whether "libre" can be translated into "free").
> 
> The commitee of this conference reject our proposal because, according to them,the Squeak's Licence is not "libre" implies that each user has to conform to the US law on exporting... Is it true ? 
> 

Yes it is.  They probably had to include it.  Or at least,  Apple's
lawyers seemed to think they had to.  Is the committee suggesting that
Apple should have ignored its lawyers?  Or are they going to reject all
US-based projects because we embargo rights-abusing dictators?  Does a
free software conference really want to say that freedom means you have
to support an oppresive dictator?  Isn't that a little mixed up?

It sounds like they don't care about the real world, though.  They just
want to play lawyer.  In that case, maybe you guys should ask them
whether they have considered whether citizens of right-of-author
countries -- most of Europe -- can legally participate in open source
projects at all.  Such people can't just say "I turn this code over to
project Foo".  It would just be words on paper.  You always retain some
rights in a right-of-author country, and those rights can easily be
incompatible with open source organizations.

Here's an article about it by (gasp) an actual lawyer-type.  You might
try forwarding it to them:

	http://www.ceplovi.cz/matej/clanky/fre-en.html

This article concludes, among other things:

"Therefore, current users of free works created by the Czech authors
(who did not accept license by some other means than mere use of the
work) are using such works illegally."

So if this conference really want to play lawyer, then they should
reject projects that accept contributions from Czechs and any other
countries the analysis applies to.  Such projects are not merely
non-free -- they are illegal!  

Hopefully, though, this exercise reminds them that they are computer
guys and not lawyers.  Law sucks, in our field the law is just getting
started.  Just wait until court cases actually start happening.  If the
above author is correct, then cherished licenses like GPL will be no
protection--they may well merely make you an easier target.  And the
rules will be different in every country.....

If these guys do come back to earth and take an interest in freedom (as
in the Eglish--err, French--language), you might remind them that Squeak
is free (as in money), that it is freely downloadable for anyone who has
an Internet connection (including Cubans), that it includes *all* the
source code (more than Linux can say), that you can hack it all you
like, and that you can redistribute your changes.  You can even sell
your modifications of Squeak without giving out the source code.    This
is more real freedom than you get from Linux, gcc, or emacs.

In law and in practice, these guys are full of it.  Why don't they stop
causing trouble for fellow computer geeks and get on with the cool
stuff?


-Lex



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