How to change the squeak licence ?

Ross Boylan RossBoylan at
Mon May 9 05:38:34 UTC 2005

I've resisted saying anything as long as I can :)

On Mon, May 09, 2005 at 12:50:17AM +0200, Cees De Groot wrote:
> Sure. But the click-through license is what counts.

As you probably know, it is not clear that click-through licenses are
legally binding.  Even if they are binding in general, some of their
terms may not be enforceable.  This will be my only point in favor of
a relaxed interpretation :)

> What Squeak-L? I'm arguing that - as an unsuspecting user - I'm only
> bound by VRI's license. So I can fingerpoint all I want. VRI licensed
> the package to me (that gigantic zip file with whatever is in there),
> so I just put the blame there.

Under this logic, if I took squeak, stripped off the license, and
posted the remainder, perhaps with my own license, you'd be home
free.  This is a rather dubious interpretation.

> > Probably not. And I urge you guys to think about the consequences very,
> > very seriously before you consider anything like the above. You could be
> > making matters worse than they are.
> > 
> Dunnow. Again, for myself, I don't care. I'm currently doing a
> government-sponsored open source project with Squeak, and nobody seems
> to care about the small print, and not even about the license that we
> will use for our own stuff, as long as it is somehow open source.

It's certainly reasonable to say that, as a practical matter, the
license is probably irrelevant.

It's not reasonable to say that it will never be relevant, or that
terms you don't like can not be used against you.  That kind of stuff
happens all the time.  Various people in this thread have advanced
various arguments that it's safe to just blow off the license; it's

I also don't think it's helpful to call people who take licenses
seriously names.  Maybe that's because I'm one of them.

> I really wonder what the idea is behind this all, because somehow I
> cannot believe that of all organizations, VRI has overlooked the small
> matter of the SqueakL. And I'm also hesitant to believe that VRI wants
> to keep a low profile around OpenCroquet (which is the ultimate
> defence against licensing trickiness...). So if anything, I'm curious
> ;-)
Me too.

The real solution to all this is a saner legal environment.  To some
extent, Europe already has this, as numerous click through terms have
been tossed by courts their as being egregious.  In the US we are not
so lucky.

A couple miscellaneous points:

In the never-ending license discussion, a common premise seems to be
that if Apple's fonts are removed from the image then some of Apple's
restrictions can come out too.  It's probably true that some of those
restrictions went in because of the fonts, but the license doesn't say
"you can ignore this term if you remove the fonts."  So removing the
fonts is not a cure-all.

On export restrictions: there are at least two issues.  One is
self-protection.  If you put something with export restrictions up on
a server where anyone can get it, you might be in trouble for
violating the restriction.  I assume everyone is aware of the numerous
violations of civil rights the US government has engaged in, against
both citizens and non-citizens.  So it's not a trivial concern.  The
second issue is principle: many free software developers want their
stuff available to everyone (or think it will help them if it is
available to all).  Lex made light of the export restriction because
it prevented (if it worked, which it obviously can't) Fidel Castro
from getting stuff.  Well, yes, but it also prohibits anyone in Cuba,
or any Cuban, from getting the software.  Some people may think that's
reasonable; others won't.  In either case, I think you have to try to
honor the wishes of the creator.

Ross Boylan

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