ISC considering a change to the BIND open source license

Ted Mittelstaedt tedm at
Tue Jun 14 19:38:14 UTC 2016

It seems some on the list are short on philosophy?  Well here is
the actual philosophy and I'll apologize in advance that it won't fit
in a SMS message for those people unable to have deep thoughts more
complex than a SMS message.   Hopefully you are not one of them.

You are asking about GPL but ISC didn't say they wanted to use GPL they 
said MPL, but I will frame my explanation in GPL terms since it is quite 
clear that you are coming from "all the world's a GPL" perspective.

"free" means free as in free beer.  RMS has done a lot of damage
over the years warping the idea of free software to fit his agenda
and that should have become obvious after GPL v3.  (and indeed it
HAS become obvious to a great many people)

Nevertheless the damage has been done, even though licenses like
Mozilla MPL try to retreat from the militancy of RMS to "strike a
middle ground"

In reality, there IS no "middle ground"   If you truly believe a
piece of software SHOULD be freely licensed, then that includes the
idea that commercial entities can use it as they see fit.  Some of
those uses may irritate you or disgust you but they have to be allowed
or it is NOT free.  Imagine for example if the people who invented 
photography had insisted that it only be used to "take nice pleasant 

Otherwise you are simply subscribing to the RMS's idea of "free" as
in "free like I say so in GPL" without even realizing it.   The argument
is lost before it is even made because you, Keith Christian, have
unconsciously already accepted a definition of "free" that is NOWHERE
in the dictionary and have unconsciously accepted RMS's redefinition
of the word "free" in software to mean "free except for this and that 
and this and that".

People read books like 1984 and think "no way that could happen" but 
here it is, it's already happened and you don't even see it.

Now, I get that damage can be done by certain jerks out there who take
BIND code, modify it so it is not compatible with other BIND, then 
release it into the wild as "BIND with the bugs removed" or whatever 
other odious name they can dream up.   I get that certain large 
commercial orgs who are making more money in 5 seconds than I'll ever
see in my lifetime due to BIND code should be helping out the hand that
feeds them.  And I also get that a bunch of RMS apologists out there
are trying to remove the word "free" from free software because they
are feeling guilty about their Orwellian tactics which have apparently
succeeded with a lot of software developers who should be intelligent
enough to know they are being played.

But, there are other ways than changing the license so you can make 
legal threats against those jerks to protect your software.   For 
starters, public shaming works pretty damn well - and as a benefit it 
helps out countless of admins out there making product decisions of what 
to purchase, when ISC makes a public statement saying "brandX included 
BIND code but they are lying like dogs when they say their stuff is 
compatible with BIND"   or "BrandY has made 100 million bucks off our 
stuff and never given us a nickle let alone kicked any code back"

If ISC's sole purpose to move to Mozilla is to "protect the purity and
integrity of BIND" or whatever whitewash, and their intent is to do it
by applying a license then using legal threats behind closed doors to
the commercial offenders out there who are screwing up their stuff, they
are simply allowing those offenders to continue to make money by
hoodwinking the public with their products, because while all this is
happening behind closed doors, the public is still buying the stuff. 
Worse, because ISC is following the "get the lawyers in a smoke-filled
room to cut a deal" route, for all we know ISC is signing off on
permitting BrandX to continue to contaminate the DNS system with their 
recompiled version of BIND that is non-standard, in exchange for filthy
lucre and a promise to fix it in the next Windows Service Pack (oops, 
did I say that?)

Licenses are licenses and people can write up whatever license they 
want.  My objection is this continued Orwellian GPL BS of claiming you
are making software free by restricting it.  And a lot of other
people agree or ISC would just stick it under GPL instead of MPL.   The 
sad part is that the entire discussion has been moved to use terms that
GPL people have redefined, and as a result a superficial discussion
or comment (like has been thrown up so far on this) always ends up
with GPL or GPL-approach licenses (like MPL) winning the discussion.

There is a famous line used to illustrate how redefining terms can
always cause one side to win, it is "have you stopped beating your
wife yet"  That is what has gone on in free software licensing with GPL 
and it's just a shame to see so many people sign off on that with
thunderous applause without even realizing what has been taken from them.


On 6/14/2016 11:48 AM, Keith Christian wrote:
> (Sorry if this ends up on the list twice, did not send to "bind-users"
> the first time.)
> Is there any reason not to use a GPL license, which requires that
> changes be shared back with the user community?
> Keith
> _______________________________________________
> Please visit to unsubscribe from this list
> bind-users mailing list
> bind-users at

More information about the bind-users mailing list