On Tue, Jul 24, 2012 at 11:07 AM, Zooko Wilcox-O'Hearn <zooko(a)zooko.com> wrote:
One particular detail of my TGPPL that I value and that I'm not
the TPL provides is that if you take advantage of the permission to
keep a derived work temporarily proprietary, then this obligates you
to offer the same permission to people who make worked derived from
your derived work.
Make sense? So when I publish source code under the TGPPL, I'm not
offering people the option of making a derived work, keeping it
proprietary for a limited time, and then releasing it under a strict
copyleft which disallows others from making time-limited proprietary
derived works of it. On the other hand, I *am* offering people the
option of making a derived work, making it Free/Open immediately, and
disallowing others from making a proprietary derived work from it,
even for a limited time.
The latter option is currently the case for Tahoe-LAFS and the other
software that I release in this way because I offer the recipient the
choice of GPL or TGPPL. So if you want to make a derived work of
Tahoe-LAFS without allowing anyone "downstream" of you to make a
proprietary derivation of your work, even for a limited time, then you
can do so by releasing your derived work solely under GPL.
I'm interested in developing a "TGPPLv2" which is expressed as an
"Additional Permission" to GPL. That would have exactly the same
consequences as the current TGPPLv1, sketched above, but it would
probably be better in a lot of ways to have it expressed as an
"Additional Permission" to GPLv3+.
Makes sense, but I admit that until I skimmed the OSI license-discuss
archives you pointed at a few days ago in
that I missed that you see as critical requiring passing along delayed
free release if one takes advantage of that permission, and that's
what makes forming as an additional permission difficult. I'm not sure
all discussants on license-discuss fully got that either.
It probably will not surprise you that I'm skeptical of the value of
this twist, especially as you aren't even using it. But maybe you
would be if also offering under GPL wasn't required for
GPL-compatibility and/or OSI-certified-OSD-compliant licensing?
Anyway, contrary to some people on license-discuss who seemed to think
forming as an additional permission is impossible, because requirement
to pass along delayed free release permission is an added burden, it
seems to me it is merely difficult. I don't see how conditioning an
additional permission imposes a burden; it merely reduces the scope of
the additional permission, just as public license conditions scope
I hope you and Bradley or whoever does this. Most of my criticism of
TGPPL conceptually is that I don't think it'll make much of a
difference and a description of why I guess no such thing has taken
hold. Incompatibility is what I think tips TGPPLv1 into the negative.
I could well be wrong about the concept being valuable, so I look
forward to it being available via a GPL-compatible mechanism.
(If instead or similarly developed as a copyleft-next additional
permission, I wonder if it'd also have to address the proprietary
relicensing permissive pill.)
Coincidentally, someone just today proposed (as a thought, not an
implementation for approval) a "Delayed GPL" on license-discuss:
Mike posted some criticism of the very idea of TGPPL which I'd
> It may be possible to demonstrate theoretically that an in-between tweak is
necessarily superior to both, but not with any precision, and I'm dubious even of
I agree that reliable evidence about this is difficult to come by.
Nonetheless, I believe I should act based on my current understanding
rather than hesitate while looking for better data.
I personally have pretty high confidence that copyright maximalism,
including "Limited Time → ∞", will yield a worse social outcome than
some alternatives. More controversially in some circles (presumably
including this one), but less controversially among mainstream
economists, I have pretty high confidence that pure copyleft, in which
"Limited Time = 0", will yield a worse social outcome than some
I don't think copyright duration is really relevant (maybe it would be
if it included mandatory registration with source escrow, and release
upon expiration, but even then the present value would be close to
nil). Instead, something like "time till forced source revelation".
My reason for believing that latter assertion is that I think the
production and usage of Free/Open software on earth has grown only
modestly over the last couple of decades, while production and usage
of all software has exploded immeasurably. Software has changed
everything for billions of humans, it appears likely to do so even
more rapidly in the coming decades, and Free/Open software is less and
less important to that. Free/Open software is a tiny and rapidly
shrinking sliver of all software, as measured by human values -- how
much time people spend with it, how much of their money, their
memories, their rights and freedoms they entrust to it, etc.
A typical situation is that the lower-layer and more commoditized
parts of the software stack are more likely to be Free/Open, e.g.
operating systems and web browsers, and the higher-layer and newer
parts are more likely to be proprietary and to otherwise deny freedom
to their users, e.g. Facebook and more or less the entirety of the
Web. It is those newer and higher-layer services that are most
valuable to users and most dangerous to their freedoms. For the vast
majority users it would make little difference to them if you switched
their Windows for Linux or their MSIE for Firefox, but it would be
unthinkable for them to leave Facebook, or migrate off of Oracle, or
stop subscribing to the software vendors and web sites that they rely
So, I personally believe Free/Open software is a social good that is
massively, drastically under-produced, just as simple economic theory
would predict. I think -- or rather I hope -- that a better social
outcome is possible somewhere in the middle, between the two extremes
of 0 and ∞. TGPPL is my stab at it. We can't do much worse than we are
already doing. ☹
I recognize that this may be surprising or unpleasant to this
audience. I mean no offense. You are the big fish in a pond. I'm
asserting that beyond this pond, the world of bigger ponds is growing
at an incredible rate. I very much value and respect your
contributions, including those of Red Hat, which can be measured in
We could be doing far worse, but I agree we could be doing much, much
better, and the situation is dire.
No public license innovation is going to make the big difference needed.