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chromatic (983)

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Journal of chromatic (983)

Sunday April 23, 2006
02:47 PM

My (Pugs) Code is not Public Domain

[ #29419 ]

Audrey recently decided to license Pugs under the SQLite non-license. As I understand it, this is effectively a public domain license, where the author disclaims copyright. (At least, this is my understanding of Audrey's intent.)

I have contributed code to Pugs in at least four languages (Perl 5, Perl 6, Haskell, and make). I contributed that code under the existing license -- the combination of the Artistic License and the GPL v2. I did not contribute that code to the public domain and I do not intend to.

I support the right of any author of any creative work to license that work as he or she sees fit. That includes the public domain. Yet that also means that I believe I have the right not to relicense the code I contributed.

So, I don't. All code I have contributed to Pugs remains under the Artistic/GPL combination and I retain the copyright. If the Pugs project would like to use that code or redistribute that code, it may, but not under any other license terms.

It should be a small project for an interested Pugs hacker to find all of my contributions and remove or reimplement them -- at least a smaller project than convincing me to change the license. If that is what the members of the Pugs project want to do, I support their efforts.

(Please direct all questions about the Artistic License v. 2, its purpose, its goals, and its practical effects to the Perl 6 Licenses mailing list. I do not have any desire to discuss them here. Please note that I am also explicitly not making a statement of any sort about Pugs beyond the licensing of the code I created and have contributed.)

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  • I have to admit that I'm not comfortable with this decision at all, but I don't know what legal implications are involved. Does this mean I've just given up copyright to everthing I contributed? That doesn't sound reasonable, but I don't necessarily know what problems this may cause. Can you elaborate?

    Audrey wrote []:

    The last thing Perl needs is the appearance of licensing conflicts or landgrabs by TPF. Imagine the uproar when people discover that TPF intends Perl6 to be incompatible with the LGPL!


    • Does this mean I've just given up copyright to everthing I contributed?

      I don't believe so. I believe you explicitly have to relicense your contributions (or more accurately, release them into the public domain). It would be very rude of a project to do this with your contributions without your permission and I don't believe the Pugs project is doing this.

      If you have contributed code to Pugs (and I know that Ovid has, so this you is a general, inspecific pronoun), I recommend considering the implicat

    • Does this mean I’ve just given up copyright to everthing I contributed?

      Only if you assigned the copyright to Audrey or some legal entity like The Pugs Project, or if you have granted permission to do such a thing in the terms of licence under which the Pugs project obtained a copy of your work.

      Audrey wrote []: […] I know she only wrote “the appearance … of landgrabs by TPF”, but I still find that a bit offensive.

      Careful: it was someone called Garrett who wrote that, not

    • Ovid: I'm truly sorry for causing the confusion in the first place, though I really did not agree with Garrett's views, and had publicly replied as such.

      Can you check my clarification [] entry and let me know if there's anything you'd like to see clarified further?

      Thanks in advance, and apologies again for my inability of communication...

  • I see that you mentioned you don't desire to discuss these issues here. My apologies! Consider my questions rhetorical.

    • I think that was merely in reference to discussion about the Artistic License v2, not about the Pugs move or chromatic’s reaction to it; otherwise he should just have closed comments on this entry.

      If I’m wrong, I hope he sets the record straight.

  • I thought that pugs was previously under Artistic 2.0b5, not Artistic+GPL.
  • Gah, I didn't write that offensive comment; in fact I explicitly wrote another entry to disagree with the offense.
    • I apologize for misreading that. If anyone attributes it to you, that's my fault. I hope it doesn't cause you any problems :(

  • So, the relicensing has two parts:

    The first part is directly addressing Allison's worry that asserting a less-restrictve "compilation copyright" than something under the source tree, will invite legal troubles. I responded by disclaiming my compilation copyright.

    The second part is my wish to change the src/ tree, which comprises the source for "pugs" executable, to public domain status, by moving all third-party parts out to a separate place (third-party/), and rewriting parts of the contributions wh

  • Just as a curiousity, would you be willing to accept the MIT license, which is the licensing-world equivalent of Public Domain?
    • For code in src/, code related to building Pugs (such as a Pugs-specific test harness, which I can't remember if I patched), and documentation of Pugs-specific information, I can accept the MIT or the modified BSD license. (I don't remember exactly what I patched.)

      For items outside of either situation, I need to consider the issue in more detail. Certainly you may consider to distribute these items under the original license.

      • Since PublicDomain is equivalent with MIT (except that some laywers think MIT license can be revoked by the author), what motivates you to think MIT is acceptable and PublicDomain not? Note that MIT doesn't require attribution as well.

        I ask because I would very much value your commits under MIT license, which is less restrictive (and hence can be morphed into) every other open-source license.

        To me, if it is merely a "public domain is vague in the US" issue that makes US people wary of it, I think MIT l

        • To me, if it is merely a "public domain is vague in the US" issue that makes US people wary of it, I think MIT license is fine as well.

          "Public Domain" is an odd concept, valid within the US, but invalid pretty much everywhere else. Assignment to the public domain means that the author disclaims copyright, meaning that (among other things) anyone can pick up the material and claim it as their own. As a copyright statement, the MIT License claims copyright, which means that anyone who claims the work

          • Ziggy: Thank-you for the informative survey. Under Taiwan law, it is easy to disclaim the property part of the copyright, and the innate creatorship part cannot be disclaimed. Discaiming the property part makes it under the public domain.

            However, if public-domainess causes people discomfort, and MIT license is preferred instead, I'm entirely willing to place the src/ tree under the MIT license instead.

            Also re SQLite: SQLite 1.0 was in GPL; it's during the 2.0 development that it was put under the publ

  • This seems like the sort of thing for which TPF should invest some money in having a lawyer address the concerns/desires of the major Perl6/Pugs/etc contributors.

    The last thing we need right now is a licensing debate to distract, split or otherwise interfere with progress that's being made through the swarm technique.

    • TPF has a lawyer. TPF two years talking to interested parties about the license. There's a mailing list for discussing the new Artistic License. I even linked to it in my post.

      • I really meant in the context of this current debate about Pugs et al., not the new Artistic License. The debate about the right way to ensure contributors are happy with the licensing shouldn't be done on the basis of non-experts opining on it on use.perl, blogs and #irc of choice. In my opinion, switching licenses (to Artistic 2.0 or to public domain) shouldn't be done (a) hastily or (b) mid-stream without a good deal of consultation with expert advice.

        Among other things, we wouldn't want to feed the

        • dagolden: TPF has suggested a lawyer for me to talk to; previously I have also consulted legal opinions of Taiwan laywers.

          The recent disclaiming-of-compilation-copyright and third-party-code cleanup was prompted by TPF's suggestion of possibly illegal use of Artistic license for the Pugs distribution (namely, contributed LGPL and GPL libraries in the source tree); we are actively discussing to find an optimal resolution for all involved.

          Please also note that the intent to switch to MIT license or SQLite

  • chromatic: I did not realize until an hour ago, thanks to Limbic_Region's reminder, that it is possible that the "the src/ tree" in my journal entries was likely to be parsed as "the entire source tree".

    I think I owe Pugs contributors in general, and you in particular, for having conveyed this intent-of-change very badly.

    Also, by reading your journal entry, it did not occur to me until later that it is the public domain implementation that you are opposed to, instead of my maximum unrestricted reuse int

    • Audrey, You are a free-spirited, brilliant, good-natured guy. I feel sorry that the GPL ideology makes things so complicated that you have to apologize for something. After Parrot, I chose not to participate in anything that smells like GPL ever again. I like the BSD or plain Public Domain style licenses just fine for stuff I want to give to the world, otherwise, if I care so much about how someone might use a piece of my code, I keep it private in the first place.
      • Thanks for your kind support -- it's true that I'm a free-spirited girl, which sometimes can upset people through lack of detailed explanation.

        I'm glad that this particular issue is resolved now... Though I'm of the copycenter [] inclination for my fun projects, I did use copyleft in the past when I have a industrial interest in the code -- i.e. when I worry about proprietary competitors, and I think TPF is wise (and right) to worry about that. :-)

      • feel sorry that the GPL ideology makes things so complicated that you have to apologize for something.

        I don't know where you picked up that impression, but if it's from what I've written, I have done a very poor job of explaining my reservations.

        • I don't know where you picked up that impression, but if it's from what I've written, I have done a very poor job of explaining my reservations.

          Your original post came across to me as a passive disagreement with Audrey's choice to go public domain, and an ideological stance purely for the sake of supporting your choice of license. I completely respect and admire that, if it was your intent, but I wonder sometimes if it gets in the way of folks just doing the polite, reasonable thing, which is to go along