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Comment License incompatibility (Score 1) 274 274

I like copyleft, but find the idea of licence incompatibility troubling. Versions of the GPL are dominant for (at least non-server) copyleft software, versions of the CC BY-SA appear to be becoming dominant for copyleft non-software works, and the AGPL seems to be gaining momentum for copyleft server software, but this still leaves three incompatible paths for these different kinds of works.

It seems entirely possible to me that people might want to use non-server code in server software or vice versa, and at least theoretically possible that people might want to use non-software work in software or vice versa (e.g. copying text from a document discussing software design into software comments, or copying software comments into a document discussing software design).

Are you aware of this causing any significant problems, or do you think it could? Do you think it desirable or even possible that a single licence cover all cases?

Comment Re:Embarrassment galore! (Score 1) 49 49

The takings clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution would require that everyone who had a shortened copyright would have to be compensated justly, and that would clog up the courts beyond imagination.

It would seem to me that, this being the case, the Government would also have to compensate everyone effected by the retroactive extension of copyright terms.

Comment Re:Here's the problem (Score 1) 250 250

I'm not sure this is really equivalent: The purpose of self-defense is supposedly to minimize the use of force by both you and the aggressor. You're not causing more violence, you're trying to put an end to it.

Yes, I think I get what you're saying, and I'm not entirely sure where I stand on the GPL's source disclosure requirement. I think the analogy was good enough to counter the argument I objected to, though.

(You might also shun violence in all forms, as taught by turn the other cheek.)

Yeah, but a society of cheek turners won't protect you from a serial cheek slapper.

I make the comparison like this: In a world without violence, self-defense would not be necessary. If we generalize to the set of universes where violence is an option, then self-defense becomes a way of minimizing the damage.

Likewise, if we generalize to a body of law with copyright law, a license to minimize the damaging effects would look something like "You are allowed to distribute this work only if derivative works are also licensed under this license, and you agree not to reserve any other rights, neither is there is no warranty for this software." Yet the GPL goes way far and away above this; the BSD or MIT license seems closer, though fails to contain the viral clause.

I think the CC BY-SA is probably a pretty good fit for what you're describing. (I suspect the biggest problem in practice with using it as a software licence would be the chicken and egg problem that it is not popular as a software license.)

Comment Re:Nonsense law still can't be ignored (Score 1) 157 157

To me, the ruling didn't seem to be saying that Facebook couldn't prevent the search because the warrent wasn't against them, but rather that no-one can prevent a search once a warrent has been issued. e.g. If the police turn up at my door with a warrent, I can't get them to wait outside while I go to court to appeal the warrent, I can only seek exclusion of evidence and reperation after the fact. Regardless of whether this is moral or not in this case (or in general), I don't see any reason to believe the judge has misapplied the law.

Comment Re:Freedom vs Permissiveness? (Score 1) 250 250

I can run my modified versions of GPL code on my own servers, and even charge people mountains of money to use it, SaaS style. Under the GPL, I don't need to provide source for anything. This ugly reality is why the FSF created the GNU Affero license.

Yes, I think SaaS is going to increasingly become an issue. I think the Affero GPL casts the net too wide though (so to speak). It doesn't just cover SaaS, cases where I'm accessing a system that manages my data, it covers any access to a system over a network, even if it's a system that someone else uses just to manage and publish their own data. So GPL code can be used for SaaS without disclosing source, whereas AGPL code can't be used in non-SaaS cases without disclosing source. Neither seems quite right to me.

Comment Re:Here's the problem (Score 1) 250 250

When you say you're "pro-copyleft" you're implicitly saying you're pro-copyright, because you're necessarily using copyright law...

I could as well say: When you say you're "pro-self defence" you're implicitly saying you're pro-force, because you're necessarily using force... Endorsing self defence doesn't logically require you to endorse the use of force other than in self defence, and neither does endorsing copyleft logically require you to endorse the use of copyright other than in copyleft.

Comment Re:Theology (Score 1) 273 273

You're right, but like all things in society, everything must fall in line gently, with universal approval or even consensus. And above all, with time.

Okay, but this is a different argument.

I much prefer an homeopathy course to be taught within collegiate standards, thus providing real doctors, who undertook such course, to advise consciously rather than based in hearsay.

I'd be fine with a course teaching how a range of popular quackery has been debunked, but I really don't think medical professionals need to be trained in all the specific details of administering some specific form of quackery to know how it's been debunked. The time would be better spent learning real medicine.

Comment Re:Tsk. Have a minimal grasp of the language! (Score 1) 273 273

I'm talking about what the word was intended to mean, not about the modern sense it may have.

From Wikipedia:

"homeopathy" ... comes from the Greek: [one Greek term], "-like" and [another Greek term], "suffering"

I think this matches what I take homoeopathy to be about, i.e. administering something that causes the same symptoms as the disease. (I'm just assuming it's accurate, I'll accept correction from a better reference.)

People are vaccinated against rabies after being bitten, because presumable they may be already infected.

Okay, I stand corrected.

"Homeo" means "same" and vaccination embodies the idea of using the disease itself to prevent more serious consequences.

Yes, but vaccination works on the principle of administering a weakened form of the cause before the disease spreads, whereas the principles of homoeopathy fail to focus on the the cause of the illness, or on using treatment as a prevention rather than a cure.

Indeed, I agree this view of homeopathy is prevalent. It might work in some cases (e.g. eliciting a desired response to the symptoms), but it would also be a misnomer: that is what I would call allopathy.

Going by the above definition, "like suffering", I think the term is accurate. But really, I don't think it matters. We still "dial" or "ring" people on our phones, even though our phones no longer have either dials or bells. The meaning of words change, and I think the term "homoeopathy" (or "homeopathy" in the USA) has a well established meaning beyond the sum of its parts, so to speak.

Besides, placebos also work now and then.

Okay, I accept that, but I think the discussion was about healing properties beyond the placebo effect.

My whole point is fighting quacks is not a mere case of fighting concepts. Some people jump out of the chair like trained monkeys after hearing words like "homeopathy", "piracy" etc. I'd like people to be more mindful of their own thinking process.

I think that's a fair call, but I don't think homoeopathy was a good choice for making that point.

Comment Re:Theology (Score 1) 273 273

It would be antithetical to not sanction an homeopathy course by denying the very own subjective origin of universities as a whole.

That doesn't sound right to me. Would it be antithetical for a nation to not sanction bigotry if it historically had unenlightened views on women and/or blacks? I think it's better to recognise what's wrong with the past, and stop doing it.

Comment Re:Tsk. Have a minimal grasp of the language! (Score 1) 273 273

Vaccination = homeopathy. ... Homeopathy is the old "similia similibus curantur": that is what vaccination is. You're teaching one's immune system to deal with an unknown enemy by showing it the enemy (weakened or in smaller numbers).

Are you serious? I'm not sure because I posted essentially the same point as a joke. I can think of a couple of important differences. Vaccination is done prior to illness, so "showing the enemy (weakened)" allows the immune system to prepare before it arrives. Homoeopathy is done during the illness, when "showing the enemy" doesn't make sense any more. We can see it already anyway, because it's already here. Also, while vaccination does focus on "showing the enemy", homoeopathy is content to show something else that produces symptoms similar to those produced by "the enemy", even if the underlying cause is different, so there's no reason to suppose it would help, even if it was done in advance.

Comment Re:Against Vaccines or About Against Vaccines? (Score 1) 273 273

I have no problem with a course teaching about what anti-vaccine supporters claim if it helps doctors debunk it in person and helps them dismantle it in person. I hope this is what it is about.

Looking briefly at the links, I get the impression the course didn't present pro-vaccine views. I think it's a missed opportunity really. The idea of homeopathy is to use diluted poisons to cure illnesses which have symptoms that the undiluted poisons cause, and the idea of vaccines is to use weakened microbes to prevent illnesses that the unweakened microbes cause--there's actually some superficial similarity there. If I had to promote homeopathy, I'd want to play that up.

Comment Re:Would a form of proxy representation fix it? (Score 1) 191 191

Make all of the seats "at large," and give every representative power proportional to the number of votes received

This would make representation fairer in one way (share of power), but in another way it would make representation less fair (share of representatives). Ideally I think politicians should act as our legal teams in parliament--stating the best case for our points of view. If some groups have less representation, then they're less likely to have their case stated well. If you want something like this, I think it may be better to use Single Transferable Vote.

I'm not even sure the idea would avoid party politics. To be successful, a candidate must have a platform they can explain to voters, the funding to pitch it, and hope that a vote for them won't be wasted (although something like STV may alleviate the last one). Parties can provide momentum on all counts, which can continue as representatives come and go, that independents don't have. I think it's possible that even with the system you suggest, voters may continue to vote for representatives put forward by parties.

Also, I think a big problem with politics is that politicians always come in to politics with an agenda rather than an open mind. They may be good people for arguing a case, but are, IMHO bad people for deciding it. I'd like to see politicians put forward the case for legislation, and randomly selected juries vote on it.

Comment Re:Antiviral License (Score 1) 171 171

Yes, but that is only a requirement on what is honestly a derived work (changes made to that BSD-licensed code), as opposed to a requirement that all of the source code in the entire project be licensed under the BSD license.

It's a requirement that applies to works derived from BSD-licensed code, as GPL requirements apply to works derived from GPL-licensed code. It's up to the courts to decide what counts as derived works. e.g. If the courts decide that copying APIs is not fair use, then technically programs linked against BSD-licensed libraries must adhere to BSD terms (although they may also impose additional terms, as this isn't disallowed). On the other hand, if the courts decide copying APIs is fair use then the GPL doesn't apply to programs linked against GPL-licensed libraries (even if it would like to).

GPL 3.0 section 5 part C:
You must license the entire work, as a whole, under this License to anyone who comes into possession of a copy. This License will therefore apply, along with any applicable section 7 additional terms, to the whole of the work, and all its parts, regardless of how they are packaged.

This viral component is what the Antiviral License doesn't allow.

Okay, I see what you're saying, but AFAIK, this actually means a whole lot less than you think.

Re "You must license the entire work, as a whole, under this License":

From a legal perspective, the adapter can only licence their modifications; unmodified parts of the work remain under the initial licence. Without a legal solution offered by the licence, the adapter cannot really "re-licence" the work as a whole.
Open Content - A Practical Guide to Using Creative Commons Licences/The Creative Commons licencing scheme

If I take a large BSD-licensed work, and a large GPL3-licensed work (3 because I think 2 might actually be incompatible), and combine them with a little glue, then I must license my "new work" under the GPL3, but the license I am offering really only applies to that little bit of glue, and nothing else. Moreover, there's nothing stopping me from dual-licensing that little bit of glue under a BSD license too, in which case authors of further derived works can choose whether to use my little bit of glue under the GPL3 or the BSD.

None of this makes too much practical difference, because in any case, both the BSD requirements and the GPL requirements apply to the new work, since it contains both BSD and GPL code. The difference is essentially cosmetic. It means I must write that my "new work" is licensed under the GPL, regardless of how little that may mean.

This suggests to users that the work may be used without any conditions that aren't listed in the GPL, which I am required to ensure is true, but for a different reason. What actually requires me to ensure that no further conditions apply besides those listed in the GPL is the explicit requirement that I do precisely that--"You may not impose any further restrictions...". The only way I can do this is by checking that conditions of other licenses I use are also conditions of the GPL.

Re "This License will therefore apply, along with any applicable section 7 additional terms, to the whole of the work, and all its parts, regardless of how they are packaged.", (my emphasis)

I think perhaps the point here is supposed to be that, for instance, a Java program could be distributed in a single .jar archive file, or as a bunch of separate .class files, but it won't necessarily make a difference to what is considered a "work" under law. Even if you distribute a program as separate files, if the courts decide that the program together constitutes a work, then license conditions apply to the program as a whole. I'll have to admit I don't find it all that clear though.

In any case, I actually don't think it matters, because this doesn't seem to be a restriction (e.g. "You must..."), but rather a statement that tries (not particularly well) to explain an aspect of copyright law.

Of course, I am still not a lawyer, but for what it's worth, that's my understanding.

Comment Not a squatter? (Score 3, Informative) 190 190

Here's a link to the list of over 100 domain names Jason Kneen has for sale on his website: Domains.

The one's I've checked are either inactive or pretty generic (some camera-related links at, "parked by GoDaddy" at, and a default WordPress page at, except, which redirects to his website. Coincidence?

Comment Re:Antiviral License (Score 1) 171 171

I think this license is based on a flawed premise.

The only requirement of this license is that the license of any source code covered by this license must not be modified. This license has no requirements about what license you choose for any other code you use alongside the code you receive under this license. Therefore you may use it alongside public domain and BSD licensed code and compile all of the code into a single program, but you may not include any GNU GPL code because the GNU GPL requires that you relicense any code which is compiled into the same program (which it considers to be a derivitive work) under the GNU GPL, which is the only thing that the Antiviral License does not give you permission to do.
The Antiviral License

AFAIK, the BSD licenses, like the GPL licenses (and copyright licenses generally) do require that derived works be bound by their terms. In the case of the 3-clause BSD license, these are: retention of the license in derived sources and binaries (1 clause each) and no use of contributors' names to promote derived works without permission.

Notable conditions of the GPL licenses are: provision of source code (in GPL2 section 3 / GPL3 section 6) and no further restrictions beyond the GPL (in GPL2 section 6 / GPL3 section 10). I expect a license could made be compatible with BSD-like licenses and incompatible with GPL-like ones by disallowing one or both of these conditions on derived works. In particular, the latter one may fit what the author was trying to achieve.

As it is, the requirement "the license of any source code covered by this license must not be modified" sounds to me much like the "no further restrictions" clause of the GPL that I think the author was trying to avoid, while "no requirements about what license you choose for any other code you use alongside" seems to say the opposite. I am not a lawyer, but I suspect this license may either disallow use with any other licenses, or do nothing at all.

Children begin by loving their parents. After a time they judge them. Rarely, if ever, do they forgive them. - Oscar Wilde