Zsh Mailing List Archive
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Re: Zsh bugfixes released by RedHat


On Thu, Nov 06, 2014 at 08:30:35AM -0800, Bart Schaefer wrote:
> } Shouldn't they at least offer a patch to you so that it might become
> } official everywhere?

I know of nearly no license requiring that. And if so, at least Debian
would consider such a license as non-free[1].

> Technically they are supposed to offer the patch to us, although zsh's
> license is not as clingy that way as the GNU license for example.

JFTR: The GNU General Public License does not require that any
modification made to software under the GNU GPL is sent back to the
_author_ of the software.

It only requires that those modifications are available to _users_ of
binary compilations based on those modifications. Those users can then
decide to forward those patches back to the original author, but
nobody is required to do that.

There are two common license checks (which the GNU GPL fulfills) which
show why it can be a bad idea to require modifications to be sent back
to the authors. Citing from [1]:

    The Desert Island test.

    Imagine a castaway on a desert island with a solar-powered
    computer. This would make it impossible to fulfill any requirement
    to make changes publicly available or to send patches to some
    particular place. This holds even if such requirements are only
    upon request, as the castaway might be able to receive messages
    but be unable to send them. To be free, software must be
    modifiable by this unfortunate castaway, who must also be able to
    legally share modifications with friends on the island.

    The Dissident test.

    Consider a dissident in a totalitarian state who wishes to share a
    modified bit of software with fellow dissidents, but does not wish
    to reveal the identity of the modifier, or directly reveal the
    modifications themselves, or even possession of the program, to
    the government. Any requirement for sending source modifications
    to anyone other than the recipient of the modified binary---in
    fact any forced distribution at all, beyond giving source to those
    who receive a copy of the binary---would put the dissident in
    danger. For Debian to consider software free it must not require
    any such "excess" distribution.

[1] https://people.debian.org/~bap/dfsg-faq.html#testing

		Kind regards, Axel
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