bmargulies
  • Member for 6 years, 6 months
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How to explain to users that we do this in our spare time?
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47 votes

Put it on the front page. Put it in a pinned message at the top of the forum. Stop worrying about it. Find a way to create a marketplace where people can put up money if they care to, and someone ...

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Security of GitHub.com
22 votes

There is a giant problem with the logic behind this fuss. Storing the source code of malware is not strongly correlated with being infected with malware. Consider http://www.metasploit.com/. It's a ...

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Am I in danger if a project component is relicensed?
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18 votes

The important thing to know is that they (almost certainly (*)) cannot retroactively change the license of the version that you are using. They can change the license to new versions they release. So, ...

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Can you open source firmware for closed hardware?
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14 votes

To answer your question with a question: "Can you build the firmware without needing to violate the copyright or trade secret protection of the target hardware?' The answer to this question is the ...

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Does the open/free content movement lower the barriers of entry for non-qualified people?
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12 votes

Historically, many people have become professionals in coding without benefit of a degree, your perception of the California job market notwithstanding. A CEO whom I know well, amongst many others of ...

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When folks send me pull-requests on GitHub, what are their copyright/licensing terms by default?
Accepted answer
11 votes

Some GPL projects require explicit copyright assignment, not merely licensing, of contributions. Copyright assignment is a bigger deal that licensing, and perhaps can't be arranged by an Apache style '...

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GPL vs. obligatory warranty
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11 votes

The GPL permits warranties: BECAUSE THE PROGRAM IS LICENSED FREE OF CHARGE, THERE IS NO WARRANTY FOR THE PROGRAM, TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW. EXCEPT WHEN OTHERWISE STATED IN ...

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Does a host application's license apply to plug-ins written for it?
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11 votes

Maybe. Yes, you have to comply with the terms of the host application's license. However, a copyleft platform can choose to go either way. Some copyleft applications have a specific licensing ...

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GPL Violation - What is our legal exposure to third parties (not our contributors)?
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10 votes

If the project does not create and distribute a combined work of the plugin and the closed source host, then I see no realistic liability. This is because you aren't violating the GPL. A violation ...

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Are licenses affected if the author adds conflicting clauses alongside?
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10 votes

You are asking three questions, I think: are they enforceable? do they tamper with the enforceability of the main license? do they pollute the open/free status of the overall license? The answer to ...

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What license options do I have for licensing ported source code?
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8 votes

The conservative position is to assume that your port is a derived work of the original. If you consult a lawyer, you might be offered a more-or-less 'clean room' procedure to try to avoid this, but ...

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Adding feature to an Apache v2 package
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8 votes

You should comply with the terms of the Apache License. If you copy AL-licensed source code verbatim, you should keep that license on that source code. if you make a derived work, you can change the ...

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How can it be that using open source software involves costs?
8 votes

You write, 'cost of change to ...'. Change has cost. People have to do work. Changing between Linux and FreeBSD would also be costly for a large infrastructure. The developers of the open source ...

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Do I need to protect myself against liability (loss of data)
7 votes

Open source licenses are licenses for, well, source. Your liability question has to do with binaries that you publish on an app store. Your liability exposure has to do with the contract you accept ...

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Is it OK to remove the license terms for a code snippet?
7 votes

This was contrary to the T&C of stackoverflow. You agree that all Subscriber Content that You contribute to the Network is perpetually and irrevocably licensed to Stack Exchange under the ...

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Can I redistribute libstdc++ with proprietary software?
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6 votes

From the documentation: Grant of Additional Permission. You have permission to propagate a work of Target Code formed by combining the Runtime Library with Independent Modules, even if ...

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On what grounds can companies bring open source projects into closed source?
6 votes

First, the most general case: All common open source licenses permit any legal entity to make a private copy and to use it for their private, internal use. Some common open source license (Copyleft/...

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How can I detect if someone is breaking my license terms?
6 votes

Practically speaking, in general, you can't. By 'in general', I mean, 'you are part of the 99.99% of people who post up something with a FLOSS license.' You will have some users scattered all over ...

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Are you obliged to enforce your license?
6 votes

No. You are not. You hold the copyright, you make up your own mind. The legal concept of adverse possession does not apply to copyright, and so you can't lose your rights by failing to enforce them, ...

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Can Heartbleed have legal implications?
5 votes

The question is: does the project provide legal protection to its contributors? This issue is one of the major drivers behind the creation of foundations such as the ASF. These entities serve as the ...

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Is it possible to use a library under the EUPL license for a commercial closed-source project?
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5 votes

The answer to your question turns on that hardy perennial favorite dilemma: aggregation versus derivation. The 'intermediate-ness' of the intermediate library doesn't matter. The reason it doesn't ...

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How can I encourage users to work on other user's feature requests?
5 votes

This is a matter of community building. I've seen several variations on this theme in the Apache communities I've worked on. I offer them for what they are worth, which might be nothing to you. No ...

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What do I do if I broke the terms of an open source license?
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5 votes

It depends on whether you have, in fact, distributed something to other people in violation of the license. If you have not, you almost certainly have not violated the license, just prepared to. If ...

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Is requiring a license a violation of the GPL? Can I get around it?
4 votes

To answer the direct question: It is not necessarily a violation of the GPL to require a license. Let me describe a scheme which I believe would comply with the terms. I have no idea if the people you'...

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Does an employee have the right to use a CTA?
4 votes

You can't 'work around it.' Whether you are accepting a copyright transfer, or a license, you are trusting, in good faith, that the contributor actually has the rights claimed. At Apache, there is a ...

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Am I free to distribute a software for a file format that was reverse engineered?
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4 votes

Disclaimer: IANAL, and this strikes me as an area where the principle that 'anyone can sue anyone' might be sadly relevant. This will depend on the nature of the intellectual property of the file ...

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The download for source is a newer version than the version shipped
4 votes

What most people do is to make an archive of the release available for download. Access to newer source is nice, but the terms of the licenses are best met by providing the actual source. As we say at ...

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Appropriate licence for later merging back
4 votes

This answer is an experiment; you and others may not like it, but we'll see. You write that you wish to make money with code you plan to publish with a (more or less) open source license. You might ...

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Relicensing from GPL v2 to LGPL v2 - What if I can't contact all contributors?
4 votes

Step 1: document the situation. Put up a notice that explains the problem; but be clear, not alarmist. As discussed on other questions, there's no problem for users of your plugin, only for people who ...

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GPL interpretation - What is our legal exposure if we include another project's code?
Accepted answer
4 votes

So, now we must note that the copyright holders of the included code are in a position to complain if someone distributes in violation of the GPL. However, by the same logic as my previous answer, I ...

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