ISC considering a change to the BIND open source license

Ted Mittelstaedt tedm at
Tue Jun 14 22:24:42 UTC 2016

On 6/14/2016 1:42 PM, Mukund Sivaraman wrote:
> On Tue, Jun 14, 2016 at 08:06:55PM +0000, Evan Hunt wrote:
>> On Tue, Jun 14, 2016 at 12:38:14PM -0700, Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:
>>> 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.
>> Thank you for the explanation.
>> As I undesrtand it, commercial entities *will* be able to use BIND as they
>> see fit, even if the relicensing goes ahead.  Share bug fixes back, or get
>> a support contract, and we're good.  We really just want everybody to be a
>> mensch about it.
>> On a personal level, I actually agree with you, and I find the idea of
>> relicensing somewhat regrettable.  It's not that I'm against the GPL, I
>> think software creators should be able to share their work on whatever
>> terms they like, but *personally* I like giving my stuff away with as few
>> encumbrances as possible.  It's disappointing to me to add any burden to
>> it at all.  I do like eating, though, and I won't be able to fix as many
>> bugs if I have to stop doing that. :/
> This last sentence sums it up well.
> There's been quite some internal discussion about the license change,
> which is not a lightly attempted and achieved endeavour, and the
> discussion is still continuing. There seems to be some public anger at
> such a license change, but it is misdirected. Be angry for us, not at
> us. We care deeply about BIND's users, the DNS and DNS users in general
> (if you have any doubt about that, look at communication with ISC staff,
> even if it is with a member of staff from a company that's shipping a
> closed fork of BIND, or even another DNS implementation).
> In reality, the world is not perfect as we expect it to be, or we would
> not have to attempt this license change. It is a means to an end, for
> the goal that we most care about which is to make BIND and the DNS
> better and have BIND available to everyone to use, modify.
> Your anger is misdirected when you say things like "kicking all BSD
> distributions in the teeth". That's not what we're thinking of.

BIND occupies a unique position in the Internet - there is no law that
compels people to use DNS nor the root nameservers.  In fact nothing
prohibits Internet users using name resolution from using a completely 
alien mechanism from DNS.  And, before 1983, THEY DID.

Of all the Internet standards DNS is probably the one that the most
Internet users VOLUNTARILY choose to use.

In an ideal world, the major beneficiaries of the Internet would
equally share in funding BIND and BIND would have no license 
restrictions at all, and the ISC would not feel compelled to do this.
(or to fork the code and rename it after a doofus on the TV show
Married With Children)

I see nothing to celebrate here.  This is a wake.  Just in the name
of the spirit of openness and freedom, once you have your new release
out there under the license, sic the legal people on the a-holes who
have been abusing it, starting with the "BIND without the bugs" people,
whoever they are, as they are the ones who caused this to happen.


> (also speaking for myself, not ISC.)
> 		Mukund

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