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He has to have been the greatest writer of spy novels, ever. Have also enjoyed many of his books, (and film/TV adaptations), including The Constant Gardener - which demonstrated he wasn't just a "Smiley writer".
I need to decode Punycode in a project. So I find myself reading the RFC[^]. Oh look, there is a sample encoder/decoder right there in the RFC! It's my lucky day.
But wait... LibIDN[^] has a verbatim copy of this code with almost no changes with the GNU license slapped onto it.
But wait... the RFC is also 'Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2003). All Rights Reserved.' at the bottom which isn't mentioned anywhere on the GNU provided code.
I can infer that I am not the first person to ask about this... the GNU header says the following:
* This file is derived from RFC 3492bis written by Adam M. Costello,
* downloaded from http://www.nicemice.net/idn/punycode-spec.gz on
* 2015-03-02 with SHA1 a966a8017f6be579d74a50a226accc7607c40133, a
* copy of which is stored in the GNU Libidn version controlled
* repository under doc/specification/punycode-spec.gz.
This is legal speak for 'We took this from a work in the public domain'.
B. Disclaimer and license
Regarding this entire document or any portion of it (including
the pseudocode and C code), the author makes no guarantees and
is not responsible for any damage resulting from its use. The
author grants irrevocable permission to anyone to use, modify,
and distribute it in any way that does not diminish the rights
of anyone else to use, modify, and distribute it, provided that
redistributed derivative works do not contain misleading author or
version information. Derivative works need not be licensed under
So without being a lawyer I interpret this as a guy named Adam wrote the Punycode RFC and put it into the public domain. Then the 'The Internet Society' slapped a copyright on the code. Then someone working on LibIDN copied the code and slapped a third license on it.
And that's trashy what they're doing. I'm glad nobody can take my public domain work (like my GLR parsing code) off CP and slap a copyright on it. If they tried someone could just find my work at CP. It sounds like Adam's work should be accessible. Can't you derive from that, and tell all of these copyright/license trolls to take a hike? That's what I would do.
I used GPL-3 so that anyone who wants to keep their code private will have to ask for another license. My assumption is that they want to use my code for commercial purposes, in which case I want to be compensated.
If anyone knows of a better way to achieve this, I'm open to suggestions.
EDIT: And so the Big 3 (destructor, copy constructor, copy operator)--the guideline being that if you have one, you probably need the others--became the Big 5. Not to be confused with the Big 5 in Cantonese...
It sounds like Adam's work should be accessible. Can't you derive from that, and tell all of these copyright/license trolls to take a hike? That's what I would do.
No, that license is worse than the GPL licence. I have enough experience in this area that I think I know what's going on here...
I suspect that Adam modified his project at a later date and added his license. Even though I am not a lawyer... I submitted over a dozen open source projects through the MSFT 'Source Code Compliance Team' and got them approved for inclusion in Windows 10. So I got to read all of those legal determinations.
There is no way LibIDN would have used that source code if the original work contained those particular paragraphs. Adam had to have added it at a later date.
Sadly there's not much room for "creativity" when it comes to compatibility with viral licenses. I can't afford the lawyers and I wouldn't know one who could answer this anyway (no precedent anywhere).
When the CPOL was created the legal climate around software was vague and, frankly, dangerous for developers. We were aware of cases against software developers who had given away code without any self-protection and we determined that it would be a disservice to our members not to offer them protection (and choice, obviously)
Our lawyers highlighted one case in particular where a developer was sued because their code was used for malicious purposes. This motivated us to put the "don't be bad" clause. Further, things like being clear about the jurisdiction can be the difference between a developer getting treated fairly and a developer getting hung drawn and quartered.
We're not a fan of GPL because while it's "open and free" in the sense you get to see the code and you can use it how you wish, you're not actually free to make proprietary extensions of the code. You add your own cleverness, do some amazing work using the code, and you MUST open it up to the world. That's not how the world works.
So the CPOL is about
1. Protecting our members who share code by buttoning down the many legal agreements that were out there
2. Ensuring other developers can use our members' code freely, and to innovate with that code commercially
3. To ensure the code was open, in the sense that the source code must be available to read
It seems to me if you use only the original code then only the original license applies.
No, that would be not be an option. When making a choice for licences you want to use something with legal precedent.
Btw, the best document I have ever read regarding choice of OSS licences is by the Department of Defense[^]. I can't find it but they use to go in depth on why you can't just take some random: "Anyone can use this!" type licence.
Last Visit: 31-Dec-99 18:00 Last Update: 11-May-21 15:51