[sf-lug] Free software talk

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Dec 18 15:39:28 PST 2008

Quoting Steve M Bibayoff (bibayoff at gmail.com):

> Then please explain this from the License:
> "5. [...]You may not charge a fee for this Package itself."

Yr. wish is my command.

1.  Artistic License has _no such clause_.  Check for yourself:

2.  Oh, you are undoubtedly talking about the obsolete, universally
deprecated, legally catastrophic[1] version _1.0_ licence text.  The reason 
the quoted sentence lifted from the obsolete, let's-try-to-forget-that-
Larry-Wall-can't-write-licences-for-sh** version does _not_, in real-world
effect, stand in the way of selling the code for any desired price, is 
the sentence-after-next in section 5:

   However, you may distribute this Package in aggregate with other
   (possibly commercial) programs as part of a larger (possibly commercial)
   software distribution provided that you do not advertise this Package as
   a product of your own.

So, put the hypothetical code snippet that some idiot has left under
Artistic License 1.0 inside a tiny wrapper with a separate brand identity 
and, voila, you can charge anything you want.

Fortunately, almost the sole repository of Artistic License usage is the
Perl community (usually dual-licensed with GPL), and rare indeed is the
Perlmonger who hasn't heeded the standard "For ghod's sake don't use AL
1.0" advice.

> Yes, the Artistic License is a really bad license. Yes, people sell
> software licensed under it. And AFAIK, nobody has ever been accused of
> violating the license by very clearly selling software that is
> licensed under the Artistic License. But, imho, section 5 is clear
> about NOT selling the software.

Too bad you didn't read the _entire_ paragraph.

[1] I refer to the Jacobsen decision (Jacobsen v. Katzer).  If Jacobsen
had heeded prominent warnings to avoid AL 1.0, he'd have saved himself a
costly court battle.

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