On Thu, Feb 14, 2013 at 9:39 AM, Theodore Ts'o <tytso(a)mit.edu> wrote:
On Thu, Feb 14, 2013 at 01:29:59AM -0500, Richard Fontana wrote:
> > Assuming you set a 30 year term, would it be ok for the
> > early parts of Linux to enter the public domain in 10 years?
> I was hoping Ted Ts'o might chime in. :)
Because of the rapid pace of hardware change, it's highly unlikely
that Linux from ten years ago would be particularly interesting for
most people. This might be less true of mature, more slowly moving
projects, that don't have hardware dependencies, such as GNU Emacs,
One nice thing about having a sunset clause like this is that it makes
it easier to relicense code, since you only need to try to
find/contact developers who have contributed to the project in the
last ten years.
FWIW (and my opinion is probably the least important), I have been
convinced that it would be worthwhile to have term limit on the
copyleft and have the license reverts to a permissive one after that.
My main concern was with the uncertainty of an effort to commit to the
public domain, but a permissive license instead would solve the
problem. I also wondered whether you would undermine the copyleft goal
but it sounds like not; that after an appropriate period of time it
isn't that likely that the software would be commercially appealing.
In return, there would be some benefit for the legacy users; in
particular you've solved the relicensing problem at the outset (which
it sounds like is a real, not hypothetical, issue) rather than having
to find copyright owners many years later.