|| ||Pavel Roskin <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|| ||Releasing old software into public domain.|
|| ||Thu, 5 Sep 2002 18:42:56 -0400 (EDT)|
Reading recent discussions in the online media, it is clear that many
people have an issue with the copyright laws that make copyrights remain
in force for many decades.
I believe that the Free Software Foundation should release into the public
domain all the software currently under GPL, that is at least 15 years
old, and for which FSF is the sole copyright holder.
GPL is a great license because it uses the copyright law to make software
free. However, 15 years should be enough for software to enjoy copyright
protection. Even when our goals are noble, we should not be using the
copyright law beyond the fair limit that we would like it to have.
In my opinion, FSF could make a good point by releasing its old software
into the public domain. That would be an example for other copyright
holders, even those who produce non-free software.
Possible damage to the free software would be negligible. I cannot
imagine software companies craving for Emacs or gcc sources from 1987.
In fact, I could not even find gcc that old on the GNU FTP site - the
oldest version is dated 1988.
You see, 15 years is like eternity for software. One cannot make money
from 15 years old software without twisting the law and doing immoral
things. I cannot imagine the Free Software Foundation suing somebody for
embedding 15 years old software into proprietary applications. Then let's
make it clear to everyone that we won't ever do it.
I really hope that FSF will use this opportunity to influence copyright
law and set a good precedent for other software copyright holders.
free software developer
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