Richard Fontana wrote at 11:35 (EDT):
we are entering an era where experimentation in licensing seems to
actively discouraged for what appear to be political reasons rather
than reasons grounded in principle.
I agree with you, but I see two reasons to approach new copyleft
licensing experimentation with skepticism. Neither applies to
copyleft-next much now, but could in the future.
The first reason is a simple one: license incompatibility hurts
cross-project codesharing. The question really is, at least for me
regarding this project's goal : does copyleft-next *only* have a AGPLv3
compatibility provision to avoid the political fallout of not having
one, or is it indeed the real goal of copyleft-next to rise above
license proliferation by making a copyleft true "cross-copyleft
compatible", but simpler, more elegant copyleft? This is what I ask
myself when I look at your AGPLv3 compatibility clause.
The second reason I'm skeptical is admittedly a bit more
conspiratorial-sounding, but please hear me out before judging.
Because I'm one of the very few people on this planet who enforce
copyleft, I *know* and *see* every day that there are companies out
there -- including some big, wealthy ones -- who constantly seek to
eviscerate copyleft. They hire expensive law firm lawyers, and use
those lawyers to fight and erode copyleft. They fight proxy wars by
backing violators in their defenses. There's a whole bag of dirty
tricks out there that I face regularly in trying to make sure copyleft
isn't effectively the same as the Apache Software license.
Now, I *don't* think Red Hat is such a company (by contrast, it's
probably the friendliest for-profit company to copyleft out there). Nor
do I even suspect Fontana's efforts are secretly on behalf of Red Hat;
he's made it clear that copyleft-next is a personal project, and I
believe him. *But* that's because I know Fontana very well, we're
friends, and I also know what kind of culture Red Hat has.
However, when I look at something like copyleft-next, I still have to
worry about hidden agendas of future contributors. GPLv3 process, of
course, was *full* of such hidden agendas and manipulations. The whole
damned thing was like a high-stakes, licensing version of the board
game, Diplomacy. The only reason we got a good license out the other
end of that process was because RMS *ignored* the game, and instead
*personally* vetted every last clause and change uninfluenced by any
lobbyists. Indeed, I frequently raise with him things I discover in
GPLv3 -- now years later -- and I say "crap, why is that in there! That
can't be right." and he invariably had already considered the situation
and had a reason and a plan for why that's there. He has -- in every
such case -- convinced me it was the right decision, but, from my point
of view it's all post-hoc because the real important and correct
policy-making was all in RMS' brain .
But, as I said earlier in this thread, there aren't many RMS' in the
world, so when I see someone or a group of someones drafting a new
copyleft license or attempting to influence the drafting of such, I end
up having to follow the money and figure out what's really going on,
because copyleft has more enemies than friends. And its enemies are
well-funded and have good, expensive lawyers.
Zooko's TGPPL, discussed earlier on this list, was an earlier
of this development.
As one of the critics of TGPPL, I was very clear throughout that
non-compatibility with FSF's license suite was my only complaint. Would
there be use to copyleft-next for Zooko and I to finally sit down and
*write* the AGPLv3 additional permission that makes TGPPL? Would that
help inform the copyleft-next project?
 And note that I don't believe in papal infallibility here or
anything like that. RMS is human and can make mistakes. It's just
that he's really good at copyleft policy -- genius-level good -- but
that's IMO the only reason GPLv3 wasn't a disaster. Some might say
it's why GPLv3 *was* a disaster, but that's a separate debate, and
you all can guess what side of that debate I'm on. :)