"Ben Tilly" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:

 > "John van V" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
 > >
 > >Actually, this the ~only~ obvious thing here.  What I
 > >just learned from the GNU/FSF/UWIN/MinGW issue is that
 > >perl ~is~ legally defined as an operating system.
 > Defined by who?  I am curious here.

I believe, if I'm following this correctly, John is referring to the
fanaticist rants of GNU/Debian and their leaders where GNU is designed to
be a complete operating system (currently perhaps more correctly termed an
"operating environment" for realism). It is a stated goal of the free
software / GNU movements to eventually reject any and all commercial
software or anything that is not totally GNU. They are currently "using"
the Linux kernel because it temporarily suits their goals, and hope
eventually to replace even that core.

 > >So we are all learning here.  I am in the perl business,
 > >and I know that litigation will kill my business.

Until Perl can be freed of its commercial dependencies and control, this
risk - and not just risk but outright, factual harms already committed and
those pending to be committed - will continue to exist. By this I don't
mean to eliminate the commercial entites, but simply to prevent them from
controlling the language and culture through control of both development
and information. A modification of licensing can help that to a degree. A
modification of policy can go even farther should Larry et al. step up to
bat to deal with the issues. For that matter we could use a good slap in
the face when "high ranking" Perl programmers express that they don't care
what happens to Perl on any given platform as long as their own is safe (,
Tom): the reality is, the infection is spreading.

The GNU license as it stands, and even the AL, can't stand up to this.
These licenses are designed for different purposes. They are not prepared
for commercial entities to purchase controlling interest in the software
in question, and thereby purchase "market space". As enforced, differing
perl's (the executables) are marketed as the original, and gross
aberrations are marketed as one-and-only standards (which shows a second

We need a licensing scheme that protects both the interests of the public
who uses perl and the interests of commercial entities who desire to
profit from the use of perl, but is powerful enough to withstand the now
successful efforts of those commercial entities to control the language
and thereby entire markets (though currently shabbily at best). We also
need a willingness from our leader to enforce this. Until these exist, we
might as well not copyright perl, or go beyond the GNU license, because it
currently has little in means of practical protection from the only
current, real abusers of the rights granted.

 > > > If you meant that the people working on the Perl project and the
 > > > working on the GNU project have the same licensing goals,
 > >
 > >Have the same overall economic and technological goals,  I
 > >am saying that the licensing differences should not impact
 > >the creation of free s/w.
 > They don't have the same economic and technological goals.
 > Larry Wall wants to help people get jobs done with a mimimum
 > of inconvenience so long as nobody tries to claim his hard
 > work as theirs.  The FSF wants to destroy proporietary
 > software.  Those goals both result in free software but are
 > not the same and in many key respects are not even very
 > similar.

These goals are no different in an environment where the former is not
enforced, and, rather, is encouraged.

 > Very specifically, the FSF actively wishes to inconvenience
 > people who are developing proprietary products.  Larry wants
 > to be nice to them by default.  This is a huge philosophical
 > divide.

Larry wants to be nice to everybody by default. That's not a legal
safehouse. If you're too nice, you get stepped on, and perl has a lot of
footprints right now.

 > >Also, I am speaking for others here, who are on this list but
 > >are not speaking up.  Not me :)
 > Let them speak up then.

Damn spiffy I'll speak up! There are few of us left. Most of us have given
up and moved to PHP or Python or Ruby by now, rebuffed by "higher ups" who
attack them for speaking out of line with the collective.

You guys _have_ heard these arguments for some years now from multiple
sources, not just John and not just myself. That they speak one at a time
and are rudely rebuffed one at a time in this manner is a tragedy. John,
however, will NOT speak alone here; and I absolutely resent your using the
same tactic against him that you've used against myself: I resent your
using it at all. He does not speak alone, will not speak alone, and is in
a company of many others who since 1998 have spoken up and spoken out only
to be smacked square in the face by elitist nonsense and laziness. We must
treat everyone's concerns with equal dignity and respect, or stop
pretending to be attempting to make a "perl for the people": at the point
where we don't consider the dangers in improper licensing, and that lack
of consideration receives a stamp of approval from above, "perl for the
people" becomes as much a farse as "one perl" was. The current licensing
scheme sucks, and will lead nowhere but into further trouble. John _is_ a
bit tangented at the moment, but the core of his arguments are completely
sound, and his fears are completely founded, even though he is expressing
different sides of the same coin. Perl needs licenses that grant freedom
to the community WHILE controlling corporate monopolists.

 > >So perl is bigger than GNU because it is no longer glue but
 > >moldable resin structure.  This will be true in the public
 > >perception as well.
 > I doubt you understand what the GNU project is.
 > The objective of the GNU project is to create a world in
 > which proprietary software has been completely replaced by
 > free software.  Creating an operating system, utilities,
 > libraries, and so on are necessary to the overall goal, but
 > the goal is all software, not just some.

That's fine. 'ls' can be GNU. However, placing Perl under plain GNU is
ridiculous. GNU is a collection. It is a collection of individual pieces
that are currently, properly, being used by commercial entities. These
entities aren't interested in controlling the development and culture of
'ls'. However, they have shown extreme interests in controlling the
CGI/Web markets, and their primary language. The AL provides no protection
from the same entites, and in fact actually helps them along. They can be
collectively packaged by a commercial entity, but no commercial entity
would be trying to take over the development of the korn shell.

Perl is not a tool. It is the key technology in huge markets, the largest
of which is the Web market. Commercial entities _are_ interested in
controlling that, and have done so unrestrained.

 > >No time like the present.
 > Memorize this.  Licenses reflect goals.  In the real world
 > license conflicts usually are the result of conflicting goals.
 > To the extent that goals truly oppose each other, the
 > licenses cannot be brought into agreement.

Memorize this: Licenses reflect goals. In the real world, the interests of
Perl and perl and the Perl community remain unprotected and unenforced.
Until we collectively come to a common goal, we cannot even discuss
licenses. As the goals currently stand, from a real life point of view,
Perl may as well have no copyright and be pure GPL. This isn't to say that
this is what _should_ happen, but what _is_ happening. What do we want to
protect? What do we want to protect against? Granting freedoms is fine, as
long as we define, at the same time, what the limits of that freedom is,
AND ENFORCE IT as a community.

 > Before you can negotiate the issues beneath the licenses
 > you need to understand the goals of the people involved.

Before you can understand them, you have to listen to them. Listen to Red
Hat, SuSE, FreeBSD, and even Debian, who refuse to accept 5.6 because it
just plain isn't "ready for prime time". (You wanted to hear some voices?
I think you're ignoring some big ones.) Listen to the people who are being
hurt and deceived by corporate interests who have their hands into the
Perl pot up to the shoulder blades.

 > >Speaking for "most perl people " is a dangerous thing to
 > >do.  Speaking to people is how I got interested in this
 > >issue.  What I have learned is taht people are not
 > >comfortable w/ the schism between all the different
 > >licenses and a few are downright disturbed.

When confronted with the issues, the primary advocates of the "absence of
license" work for the entities at hand, or are underenthused about
technopolitical issues outside their own little world. I've found this out
the hard way. On the other hand, discussing the issue in open forum is a
good way to get yourself and the people you're talking with banned from
the open fora, because those fora are controlled by precisely the
interests the conversations seek to embattle.

And I'm not just miffed at the lack of attention this has gotten, I'm
outright pissed. I'm not just a Perl advocate and programmer, I'm someone
who has been and continues to be in a position of listening to the
community, and needing to pay attention to it. I see them being hurt, and
it's infuriating to see our "leaders" take no interest in it at all.

 > Good.  The schisms are bad.  They result in duplication of
 > effort.  They inconvenience people.  A significant fraction
 > of developers who want to develop free software do not care
 > about license issues.  And continue to not care until they
 > see how it affects them and people who want to use their
 > work.

I'm unclear about who's arguing what here. Ben, you seem to be pulling
down your own arguments.

 > Richard Stallman very strongly does not want that to happen
 > and has written a number of essays laying out exactly what
 > he believes and why he would never agree to what you are
 > suggesting.  If you try to deal with Richard and the FSF
 > with the belief that their goals have any relation to your
 > goals, you will fail to convince them and be baffled at why
 > you failed.

This is true. You're dealing with total fanatics, John. They don't just
believe in free software. We're almost talking about some freaky kind of
techno-cult religion.

But, Ben, I'm not sure that John outright said we should attend that
particular church. In fact, I see him asking for discussion, and little
more. I do see him pointing out issues that have yet to be addressed.

 > >Any hoo, licensing by design is a high noise / low signal
 > >topic.  I was ~not~ my idea I wish I was as good at coding
 > >as activist politics :)

I wish I was good at diplomacy. But yadda yadda forget diplomacy when
you're speaking to the deaf guy trying to cross the street in front of the
Mack truck. You gotta get in there and do some pushing, yanking, or at a
minimum yell at the people around him to stop him.

Am I a fanatic? Yes. I am fanatical and frantically emphatic that the
interests of the perl community should strongly outweight the interest of
the corporate entities that control it. I have been eagerly awaiting
decisions, or any signs of hope, to trickle down to show that these
issues, well recognized and completely admitted to during the RFC frenzy,
will receive attention and action. What seems to be rolling downhill,
however, is the same old thing.

 > Good luck,
 > Ben


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