I must say, I get a certain perverse pleasure out of conversations that go like this:

They:   So, we've been using some of your code in our program for a while, and someone just noticed that you licensed it under the BSD/X license instead of GPL, so we can't use it. Will you change it?
Me:   Hell no.
They:   But but but, freedom!
Me:   The license I chose says, basically, "do what you want, just give me credit." The license you chose says, "do what you want, so long as you impose this list of restrictions on anyone who uses this code or anything that touches it.") So, because you chose a license that is so much more restrictive than the one I chose, you want me to add restrictions to my license, that is, take away freedoms, to convenience you?
They:   But RMS says we have to force people to do the right thing!
Me:  Screw you, hippie. Go piss up a flagpole.

I hoped to have had my last conversation about licenses in 1996, so I enjoy playing the intransigent hardass about it when someone wastes valuable time that I could be using to pick my nose or look at porn.

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6 Responses:

  1. brad says:

    What code was it?

  2. rahaeli says:

    You might not have had your last conversation about licenses in 1996, but I'll bet that you had your last worthwhile conversation about licenses in 1996. :) Or even before...

  3. Did you *have* to link the song? I just stopped cringing internally from the last time I heard it...

  4. anonymous says:

    This is Mitch; no I don't have a LJ account

    I assume the problem they're having is that you're using the old-style BSD license with the famous "obnoxious licensing clause", correct? If so it isn't really accurate to call it the "BSD/X" license. The X11 license does not have the advertising clause. Hell, even calling the license "BSD" is a little antiquated since Berkeley rescinded the advertising clause almost 3 years ago now.

    The advertising clause definately seems to have fallen out of favor. It wasn't a big deal when it was just one sentence about UCB added to each advertisement, but lots of people copied it. Now, try to legally advertise something with lots of BSD-components (think "MacOS X" for instance) you have to either just ignore most of the small contributors (the common solution) or include dozens (hundreds?) of names on every piece of advertising material.

    So what license are you using that they're complaining about? Is it really a X11 license (in which case "what the hell are they bitching about?") or is it a outdated-BSD license (in which case "why don't you update the license to the current BSD one?")

    It seems like a reasonable enough request. Sure, it's your right to refuse it (and I guess in theory sue Redhat if you ever see an ad of theirs that fails to mention "includes software developed by Jamie Zawinski" in the fine print, since they include Gimp). However to frame it purely as a FSF-zealotry issue is dumb. The advertising clause sucks for anyone aggregating software whether they prefer a GPL, BSD-style, or traditional commercial license.

    Feel free to go back to looking at porn now.

    • jwz says:

      The license I use is the one that's on, well, everything I've written, so go look if you care. It doesn't have an advertising clause, but it does demand credit in "all copies and supporting documentation", which I guess is what they're whining about.

      If they're wrong and this is in fact compatible with the GPL, whatever; I still don't care.