Subject: Re: free software as a delivery vehicle for lisp
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Mon, 01 Apr 2002 22:38:30 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* David Golden <qnivq.tbyqra@bprnaserr.arg>
| classical example:
| OS "copyright infringement" instead of PS "piracy" (what, they pillaged 
| your coastal settlement, slaughtered your menfolk and raped your womenfolk, 
| oh, and they made copies of your software, too ?)

  I think this is a really bad example.  Who are the people who talk about
  "piracy" but the criminals?  Unreasonable people talk about "hoarding"
  and "piracy".  Reasonable people talk about copyright and infringement.

> The GPL only works well when the copyright to the modifications is
> transferred to the original source owner.  Otherwise, all rights to the
> modifications not so transferred remain with their author, and may be
> sold for profit to a customers who applies them to his purchased product,
> or the right to use them by the original source owner may be retracted.

| This is quite true - except that the right to use them cannot normally be
| retracted subsequent to public release under the GPL (barring total
| idiocy like frivolous software patents.)

  This means that all patches must be published with GPL, but said patches
  need not be adopted.  That means that the author cannot take them back
  and incorporate them in financially viable ways when the work was not
  valued by the Free Software community.  This is _really_ bad.

| That's why a lot of commercially-backed free software projects make such
| a fuss over copyright assignment these days.  It's intensely irritating
| for the average developer to comply with, but a necessary fact of life in
| this litigious age.

  So what the software developers need in this free software and open
  source age is a good lawyer.  A few years hence, that could be me making
  much more money on the Free Software/Open Source thing than any of the
  software developers.  Ah, such irnoy.

| Yes - the canned response to this is "well, you can always fork and set
| up your own tree",

  This has often been stated, but it is not true, because you cannot make
  up a new license for the fork -- only the original owner controls that,
  right?  In other words, there is a significant amount of _hoarding_ going
  on in the GPL world.  (Sorry, but I had to.)

| every child over here tends to be thoroughly indoctrinated with fairy
| tales involving trolls living under bridges...

  You mean they don't?

| That may be really why I like open source systems - I can tinker to 
| my heart's content, and use my computer to compute, not as a TV.

  For a really long time, I was an Emacs hacker.  I loved to make local
  changes and dump my own Emacs.  However, as Emacs evolved without my
  patches, it became an increasingly bothersome hassle to keep my patches
  up to date relative to the current source release.  This bored me in the
  end.  Now I am just a regular user (although I load and dump with all the
  crap I would load anyway) and I have decided against making modifications.
  I talked about this with an old friend of mine you used to hack on the
  TOPS-10 sources at the U of Oslo while I was enjoying the machine from a
  programmer's perspective.  There were so many local patches that they
  had to defer upgrades and sometimes skip entire revisions due to the hard
  and boring work of reintegrating their patches.  I experienced the same
  thing with Allegro CL 5.0 -- after having made a number of local fixes,
  Allegro CL 6.0 came out, with many of my suggestions, but done slightly
  differently, and I spent a month of real time to figure out which of my
  patches to apply.  There is a morale to this story: Do not patch locally
  -- it will hurt you in upgrades and bug fixes.

  In a fight against something, the fight has value, victory has none.
  In a fight for something, the fight is a loss, victory merely relief.