[antlr-interest] licensing stuff
parrt at cs.usfca.edu
Thu Feb 5 11:09:57 PST 2004
Howdy. My intention has always been to publish work without
restrictions of any kind so that nobody has to talk to a lawyer to use
my work. That was 15 years ago. Now, some people won't use my
software BECAUSE it has no restriction! Kinda cracks me up. I'm being
punished for my generosity. There have been a HUGE number of incoming
patches over 15 years and it's too late to get formal emails from all
of them. Some are surely retired persons and off email like Knuth ;)
Programmers understand what public domain means and they don't expect
any compensation for patches.
Anyway, I get email regularly from lawyers at IBM and other big places
that are used to suing everyone (a pox on their families). They then
worry that they will be sued by everyone. This is a fact I cannot
change. Lawyers don't get that software patents and all the related
heinousness is anathema to the anarchistic cooperative programming
community (just my opinion, btw). Programmers love to help each other;
look at jGuru and the ilk. When was the last time a lawyer helped out
another one for free?
ANTLR 3.0 will be BSD license, however, this won't prevent issues
raised in this thread: that contributors will come after users of the
software for compensation. BSD says "do what you want, but don't sue
me". Does this cover contributors? I doubt it; only the original
author is covered. Do we need to modify it to say "any contributions
acquire automatically the BSD license?" Probably not since some lawyer
will simply argue that that is not legal or some crap.
Anyway, there is no good solution. The more we tighten up BSD or some
other license, the more it will become necessary to consult the devil
to use the software! I hate this issue. :( I've been wondering how to
build a formal contributors list for 3.0 and perhaps we can add wording
explicitly transferring ownership to me so that I can say I don't own
it. Bizarre. After these sorts of discussions, it makes me want to do
every line of code myself for 3.0.
A final note: people, please check the "license" on software before you
use it. I had to carefully read licenses for using Lucene, Resin,
etc... when building jGuru. Do it *before*, not *after*.
Thanks for your time and thanks for using ANTLR even though we're all
going to be sued :(
Professor Comp. Sci., University of San Francisco
Creator, ANTLR Parser Generator, http://www.antlr.org
Co-founder, http://www.knowspam.net enjoy email again!
Co-founder, http://www.peerscope.com pure link sharing
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