28-Nov-1998 
the dpu manifesto (graphicly)
"We do not support GNU software on most non-Unix-like systems because it is peripheral to the GNU Project."   
-- GNU Bulletin
 
"Some people think that they have a right to software, to my software, based upon the "fact" that software is not "property," that when a copy is made the "owner" still retains the "original." The DPU manifesto is intended to outline reasoning why such thinking is just plain silly."
So begins the Manifesto of The DPU. You can read the full text in ASCII or HTML. Why another article about software copyright ask you? Why not? ask I. However, before brushing it off as yet another rant, I have written it as an examination of the practical side of software, or intellectual property in general, giving examples rather than simple opinion, a side that not many examine. Take a look and see for yourself.

In addition there is the DPU Software License which outlines the practical side of the copying, distribution and modification of software source code.

Although "copyrighted," all of the DPU documents can be copied and redistributed without restriction (that's basically a requirement for these types of documents, eh?).

For those interested here is a collection of many of the most popular (and most important?) software licenses "out here" for you to compare. Note that these licenses are all source code licenses and should not be confused with commercial licenses.

(This list is far from complete. I just chose a few that I, at the time, thought most important.)

GNU General Public License, or GPL, arguably the most pervasive software license in existence.
The "Artistic License", a "kinder and gentler version of the GNU licence [sic]".
Netscape public license and Mozilla public license. (A pointer to the actual texts.)
The BSD Copyright.
X Copyright.
NetBSD Licensing and Redistribution.
NetHack General Public License. Cool. This is what the GPL should have been!

And then there is Open Source, the new player on the block, trying to make the best of them all with it's Open Source Definition.
And here is a another, the Q Public License, which is GPL-like but with a "special restriction".
 


 
 
 

The DPU is a consortium of software writers, publishers and hackers (well, hacks anyway) who find the ever increasing on-line debates over software "ownership" and "intellectual property rights" confusing at the least, and disgusting at the worst. Together, the DPU Group drafted the DPU Manifesto to bring a candle of light into the morass of darkness that the Vocal Phew are trying to envelope us in.

We who support the DPU ask for nothing. We ask nothing of you, except -- If you have something to say, We ask that you think twice, and then thrice, before spouting off, And, more importantly -- to think for yourself.