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The kernel and BitKeeper part ways

The kernel and BitKeeper part ways

Posted Apr 7, 2005 20:15 UTC (Thu) by Xman (guest, #10620)
In reply to: The kernel and BitKeeper part ways by kleptog
Parent article: The kernel and BitKeeper part ways

Yes, a lot of contracts do state something like that. Some jurisdictions make it impossible to impose a no reverse engineering clause. That's really nice to know, but we're talking about a specific situation here.

I fully support a developer who chooses not to accept the BitKeeper license and therefore doesn't use the software, and frankly I suspect Larry would too. It's another matter entirely to accept the license in bad faith as demonstrated in this case. In pretty much any jurisdiction that would qualify as fraud.

There are ways to fight for freedom that don't involve that kind of behavior, and we ought to encourage them and discourage bad practices.


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The kernel and BitKeeper part ways

Posted Apr 7, 2005 21:47 UTC (Thu) by ksmathers (guest, #2353) [Link]

The developer in question didn't accept the BK license or use BK as far as I know. The license violation, as far as it went, was directed at OSDL for employing a developer who, on the side, worked on a source control system. OSDL refused to get rid of the developer, so Larry terminated the license to OSDL.

Should OSDL have complied? Essentially Larry was dictating who OSDL could and could not employ, not on the basis of work actually paid for by OSDL, but on work done on the side. Larry argued that it was a violation of the license, and he has the right to control his own software, so I suppose it was. Still, I think it would cripple OSDL if due to license restrictions they could not employ relevant developers.

The kernel and BitKeeper part ways

Posted Apr 19, 2005 4:31 UTC (Tue) by beoba (guest, #16942) [Link]

"..and he has the right to control his own software.."

His software was not being modified.

If I view the HTML source to this site, am I hurting the HTTP server that sent it?

The kernel and BitKeeper part ways

Posted Apr 8, 2005 10:38 UTC (Fri) by daniel (guest, #3181) [Link]

"I fully support a developer who chooses not to accept the BitKeeper license and therefore doesn't use the software, and frankly I suspect Larry would too. It's another matter entirely to accept the license in bad faith as demonstrated in this case. In pretty much any jurisdiction that would qualify as fraud."

Don't be ridiculous. You are trying to call reverse engineering a) immoral and b) illegal. When you know perfectly well that it is neither, when done for the purpose of interoperability. Which is the case here.

There is a reason why reverse engineering is legal: it helps keep people from gaming the system.

The kernel and BitKeeper part ways

Posted Apr 8, 2005 21:22 UTC (Fri) by Xman (guest, #10620) [Link]

You are trying to call reverse engineering a) immoral and b) illegal.

Please try not to put words into my mouth. You got this from a quote which didn't mention reverse engineering. Indeed, the implication of what I was saying (and which I've stated more explicitly in other comments on this thread) was that I had no problem with a developer reverse engineering BitKeeper if they didn't accept the license.

I did suggest that accepting a license in bad faith is fraud, and I guess that's where you got the immoral and illegal from. I'm guessing you are throwing in with those who feel anti-reverse engineering license clauses shouldn't be valid, which is how that got in to it. Check the case history. You'll find that reverse engineering is not legal when it involved the breach of an implicit or explicit agreement between the parties involved or if improper means such as deceit are used to obtain the secret. The legal debate is about whether EULA's should be enforceable (UCITA clarifies that they are, but it still needs to be tested more in court), but if you like the GPL, you don't want to go down that path.

Now, if the developer in question accepted the license in bad faith and lied when explicitly asked to comply with the license, then that very strongly qualifies as illegal, and I'd be okay with throwing in immoral. If they didn't, then they aren't the "bad apple" Larry is suggesting they are. If you think it is legal and moral, then it follows that someone who accepted the GPL in bad faith, and lied when explicitly asked to comply with the GPL is also acting legally and morally. I for one, can't abide by that, and I'd be shocked if I was alone on that.

The kernel and BitKeeper part ways

Posted Apr 14, 2005 11:49 UTC (Thu) by forthy (guest, #1525) [Link]

I did suggest that accepting a license in bad faith is fraud, and I guess that's where you got the immoral and illegal from.

On the other hand, making a license which contains stuff that's not enforcible, is also immoral and illegal. That's why contracts that contain such stuff are not enforcible, and any good contract contains a clause that makes the contract valid even though (removing the "bad apples" in the contract).

Further note that when you get a legal copy of a software without contract/license, you still can legally use, reverse engineer, patch, and resell that software (given that you don't keep a copy - that's basic copyright stuff). If you obtain the software from the copyright holder, it is a "legal copy". That's why any EULA or other license absolutely should contain the phrase that no matter what rubbish there's written in it, the valid clauses still stay valid, because otherwise, the customer has a much better position.

In the end, I'm very happy that this BitKeeper stuff happend as it did. I didn't understand why Linus didn't use any source management at all for a long time (even though in the beginning, CVS would have been completely sufficient), and any free tool he had used long enough would have scaled into what he needs now. Now, we've just 10 years lost (for the first 5 years of Linux), and have to play fast catch-up. The result will probably be two or three free distributed source repository systems which are all capable to do more than we ordinary users ever want. And no one ever again will depend important free software work on a non-free software.

Note: I usually tell people about contract clauses I'm going to ignore (if there's a general "ignore the rubbish" clause), or that signing the contract is a waste of time (when there's not). In the latter case, my response to such a contract will be rather rude.

The kernel and BitKeeper part ways

Posted Apr 9, 2005 9:37 UTC (Sat) by daniel (guest, #3181) [Link]

if the developer in question accepted the license in bad faith and lied when explicitly asked to comply with the license, then that very strongly qualifies as illegal, and I'd be okay with throwing in immoral. If they didn't, then they aren't the "bad apple" Larry is suggesting they are. If you think it is legal and moral, then it follows that someone who accepted the GPL in bad faith, and lied when explicitly asked to comply with the GPL is also acting legally and morally. I for one, can't abide by that, and I'd be shocked if I was alone on that.

Your screed is peppered with big fat ifs that turn it into meaningless speculation and innuendo.

The kernel and BitKeeper part ways

Posted Apr 17, 2005 13:58 UTC (Sun) by Ross (guest, #4065) [Link]

But was the license actually accepted by this individual or is this just
one of the "you can't work for a company which has SCM products" and "you
can't employ people who work on SCM products" parts of the license?

It's hard to hold third parties to terms in an agreement made without them,
and employment is a very tricky area. You can't just fire people because of
a EULA.


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