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Re: [HACKERS] Copyright

From: Thomas Lockhart <lockhart(at)alumni(dot)caltech(dot)edu>
To: Philip Warner <pjw(at)rhyme(dot)com(dot)au>
Cc: The Hermit Hacker <scrappy(at)hub(dot)org>, "Ross J(dot) Reedstrom" <reedstrm(at)wallace(dot)ece(dot)rice(dot)edu>, Tom Lane <tgl(at)sss(dot)pgh(dot)pa(dot)us>, Bruce Momjian <pgman(at)candle(dot)pha(dot)pa(dot)us>, Peter Eisentraut <peter_e(at)gmx(dot)net>, PostgreSQL Development <pgsql-hackers(at)postgreSQL(dot)org>
Subject: Re: [HACKERS] Copyright
Date: 2000-01-29 07:02:30
Message-ID: (view raw, whole thread or download thread mbox)
Lists: pgsql-hackers
> This depends on the definition of open source; I think Netscape is
> OpenSource these days, but I doubt if anyone would be allowed to take the
> sources and create "Petscape: The Dog's Browser". But, as far as I know, I
> could go away tomorrow with the PostgreSQL sources and create "Mostgress",
> so long as I did not try to sell it. AFAIK, I might even get away with
> selling it, but it's not really the point.

Yes you could. The original Postgres developers (or at least some of
them) did just that in founding Illustra. They sold the company a
couple of years later for $50M US to Informix.

> What matters is that it remains open, free, and modifyable by anyone, for
> any purpose.

The original sources, and the modified sources *that we know about*
(someone could have and probably has taken the source code, modified
it, and not contributed back the changes) are always fair game to be
taken out of open source status. That is an artifact or benefit or
downside of the BSD license, depending on your PoV.

> This does bring up the larger question of what happened to the original
> copyrights? Is this covered in Bruce's upcoming book?

The original copyrights are still valid and travel with the code.
However, afaict they are designed to release UC Berkeley from
liability and to preserve some credit for the original work, not to
allow Berkeley to assert ownership control over derivative sources
(into which category I think the current PostgreSQL tree falls, so to

I think Marc is concerned that there be someone or something able to
represent the current code tree, and to prevent hijacking of the
PostgreSQL (and perhaps Postgres) names from this open source group.
He has been consistantly adamant about preserving the BSD copyright,
which leave the maximum flexibility for the use of the code tree
basically for any purpose by anyone. That isn't quite the same goal of
GPL, but check the archives for threads which cover these topics

                    - Thomas

Thomas Lockhart				lockhart(at)alumni(dot)caltech(dot)edu
South Pasadena, California

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