[PD] Keyboard shortcuts for "nudge", "done editing"

Marvin Humphrey marvin at rectangular.com
Wed Sep 28 06:49:29 CEST 2011

On Tue, Sep 27, 2011 at 11:34:43AM -0400, Mathieu Bouchard wrote:
>> The three clauses of the BSD license used by Pd Vanilla are compatible with both
>> the GPL v2 & v3
> Integrating GPL code with BSD code makes GPL the overall dominant 
> license, as in it has all the clauses of BSD and makes the most 
> restrictions. The BSD license still applies to any portions still under 
> BSD license.
> The pdextended license (GPL) doesn't say to which parts of the programme  
> it applies, and all the copyright/license notices I can find (in a bêta 
> of 42) are all BSD. Changes & additions to BSD code don't have to be 
> under the BSD license, thus if it's not stated, it's somewhat harder to 
> make any assumptions...

According to "Intellectual Property and Open Source" by Van Lindberg[1] (which
I highly recommend), a patch which is offered up on a mailing list or through
a patch tracker comes with an implicit grant of license to use it in the
project, which means that it must be licensed under the same terms as the
project itself.  I can't imagine that some sort of submarine licensing attempt
would hold up in court: "Yes, I acknowledge that my patch was against a file
with a BSD license header, but even though I didn't say so, I contributed it
under the terms of the GPL and I refuse to grant a BSD license".  Gimme a

I think it's rational to assume that mistakes notwithstanding[2], all content
of any BSD-licensed file in the Pd source is under the BSD license, and all
content of any file with a GPL notice is under the GPL.

If any contributor ever intended some other outcome but did not communicate
their desires explicitly, that cannot possibly be worth worrying about.  To
make trouble, the disgruntled contributor would have to be A) prepared to sue
over the distinction between two free software licenses and B) prepared to

> That kind of license fuzz is tolerated because pd developers have no  
> expectation that lawyers ever have to put their nose in the project... 
> and even if they did, they would not have the background to know how to 
> fix it, or know which advice they can trust.

While copyright violations do not result in injunctions unless a litigant
appears, I do not believe it is in the interest of any project to neglect the

> I think that this is true of many (if not most) open/free projects.

I'm not comfortable with that generalization.

Open source projects with commercial involvement tend to be fastidious about
intellectual property, and there is a lot of activity in that area these days.
Indeed, part of the appeal of Apache projects is that the ASF is known to
emphasize IP cleanliness, and companies feel more comfortable sponsoring
development on projects that aren't likely to be sunk by completely avoidable
legal problems.

Ever increasing numbers of developers are paid to work on open source, which
is a glorious and beautiful thing.  But personally, even before most of my
open source dev work was sponsored, I was careful about IP, partly because
it's the right thing to do and partly because I was determined not to squander
untold hours of labor and creativity.  I don't think that outlook is uncommon. 

It makes sense for us as developers to protect our investments by doing our
best to understand and adhere to relevant laws -- whether our livelihoods
depend on it, or whether we work on a project for fun or other personal

Marvin Humphrey

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Intellectual-Property-Open-Source-Protecting/dp/0596517963

[2] Mistakes do happen.  Sometimes they are fixable:

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