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Ben explained much of this already, but let's see if I can add some more:

On Thu, Jun 16, 2011 at 14:46, plino <> wrote:

Greg Stein wrote:

As Ben has explained later in this thread, you never had that right.
Ergo, Apache has not removed any rights from You.

This is why I think the statement "removes rights from people's
contributions" is wrong, or there is some other right that I'm unaware

GPL does say that if you make a derivative work and distribute it to someone
else, you must provide that person with the source code under the terms of
the GPL so that they may modify and redistribute it under the terms of the
GPL as well.

The key thing being "that person". That person is most likely not You,
the developer who is contributing to the software. Thus, You won't get
those changes unless "that person" decides to pass them back to you.

So you don't necessarily have a "right" to the code. You are relying
on the goodwill of "that person" to help you out. Of course, they
might not even know who you are. They might not care. They might not
ever ask for the source code.

The Apache license says you don't have to distribute under the same license
and therefore you don't have to provide the source code.


In the context of a public free Office Suite isn't that the same? If under
GPL you MUST release the source as GPL, isn't that in practical terms the
same as releasing the modifications you made???

Nope. Again, because I only need to release it to the people that I
gave a binary to. That is not the same as "the community making the

Also, recognize that I might make a TON of changes. Create a massively
superior product. And then use it *internally*. I might not ever
distribute my work outside of the company.

Or... hey... I might put a web interface on the front of that Office
Suite, and run a web-based version of it. That isn't releasing the
software to anybody, so all of that awesome work that I did does not
have to be released. (see the AGPL if you want to solve this scenario)

Doesn't this mean that changing the license to Apache removes the right to
have access to the modified source code if a company so chooses?

As a developer, you never had those rights to begin with.

Apache is not removing any rights from You. People who use Apache code
(developers, admins, end-users, hobbyists, companies, etc) have more
rights: they can decide whether to return changes or not. But they do
not have to operate under Free Software principles. That
understandably bugs people. But as a developer, Apache is not reducing
your rights (the original phrase that I took issue with).


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