Re: bettering open source involvement

Brian E Carpenter <> Wed, 03 August 2016 00:55 UTC

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Subject: Re: bettering open source involvement
To: Michael Richardson <>,
References: <> <> <> <> <> <>
From: Brian E Carpenter <>
Organization: University of Auckland
Message-ID: <>
Date: Wed, 3 Aug 2016 12:55:08 +1200
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On 03/08/2016 03:42, Michael Richardson wrote:
> Brian E Carpenter <> wrote:
>     > This is a *very* important point. If an IETF WG sponsors code development, it needs to
>     > be under an IETF-friendly licence. One way is to post it as an I-D. Another way is the
>     > BSD 2-Clause "Simplified" or "FreeBSD" License. GPL is not a useful
>     > option.
> GPL is not useful for **some** companies that want to exploit the code directly.

It's significantly worse than that. Companies that have already been sued over
such matters will *not* allow employees who have studied GPL code to discuss
details with employees who are not "contaminated" in that way. The boundary
between fair use and plagiarism is not clear cut. If code that closely resembles
GPL code shows up under sub poena in a non-GPLed product, anything can happen
in court. So the company lawyers makes sure that never happens.

> There are a number of advantages otherwise to GPL.

There are. But if the IETF wants to encourage code that anybody can study
and/or borrow, GPL is not the way to go.


> *One* of them is that it becomes very clear to the IETF when patent claims on
> the protocol are incompatible with the GPL.
> The other major advantage has to do with how and when patches get contributed
> back to the system over time if the code turns out to be more than an
> existence proof.
>     >> (This is a major reason what we are doing IETF specs for DCTCP and
>     >> CUBIC - so that they can be implemented without needing to
>     >> read Linux kernel code.)
> Aside from the white-room issue of reading source code, the code doesn't
> explain to how deal with corner cases that the coders didn't consider.
> --
> Michael Richardson <>ca>, Sandelman Software Works
>  -= IPv6 IoT consulting =-