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From Neil Macneale <mac4-harm...@theory.org>
Subject Re: The Unofficial "Harmony, Licensing, the Universe and everything" FAQ
Date Mon, 14 Nov 2005 17:34:17 GMT

Stefano Mazzocchi wrote:
> Leo Simons wrote:
> 
>> Its kind-of hard to make sense of the whole
>> legal+java+licensing+patents+open source
>> picture. I think in the end it comes down to the US legal system just
>> not making a
>> lot of sense.
> 
[snip]
> Both the ASF and the FSF are slowly but surely thinking about changing
> their respective policies to increase the ability for people to exchange
> code and package things together.
> 
> Yet, both have strong and loyal communities that need to be reassured
> that changes are not going to "pollute" their philosophical vision and
> their social ecosystem.
> 
> This is no different than a "cold war" diplomacy battle: both sides
> think their way of thinking is superior, yet they respect the power and
> capacity of the other side and would like to be able to use it, but they
> are afraid of the non-linear effects of doing so in their social ecosystem.
> 
> My gut feeling is that Harmony is going to make it clear that it is in
> the interests of both communities for the ASF and the FSF to find a way
> to collaborate.
> 
> But making it clear and making it happen are two different things: how
> we are going to get there, though, it's a huge question mark in my head.
> 

Are the licenses in question so restrictive that that they would prevent
someone from writing a script which would download all the required
packages and assemble them correctly on the installer's computer? For
example, if some entity were to determine that component ABC v1.2.3 in
combination with component XYZ v 3.2.1 would combine to satisfy some
useful functionality, then is there any legal reason for them to
distribute a script which downloads the parts and puts them together?
The script could request that the user agree to each license as well.

If we restrict ABC and XYZ to be licensed under some sort of "free
license," is there any legal reason preventing someone from doing this?
I'm not suggesting this is what harmony should do, but more trying to
get at the core of the issue.

Cheers,
Neil

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