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Re: Corel's apt frontend

On Wed, Nov 03, 1999 at 01:05:53PM +0100, Henning Makholm wrote:
> What Raul seems to be getting at is that dpkg is presently the only
> existing implementation og the command-line interface in question.
> His arguments apparently lead to a general principle: if, for some
> protocol (a command line interface is a particular example of a
> protocol, but one of the basic premises of the argument is that
> such technical differences are irrelevant) there is only one existing
> implementation of one side of the protocol, then every implementation
> of the *other* side of the protocol automatically becomes deriviate
> of the implementation of the first side.
> I don't think copyright law acknowledges such a principle.

Copyright law (by which I mean U.S. Copyright law) does indeed
have such a principle, but it's formulated very differently:

According to U.S. Copyright law, 

       A ''computer program'' is a set of statements or instructions to
       be used directly or indirectly in a computer in order to bring
       about a certain result.

Notice that this doesn't care about protocols or interfaces.  If the
instructions are used to produce the result they're part of the
program -- this is a very inclusive statement.

To balance this out, there's also a concept of fair use.  Most uses
of the command line interface count as fair use.

I'm not going to go into this any deeper.  I've posted that definition of
a computer program something like a dozen times and most of the responses
I've gotten don't even acknowledge the key issues.  I worry that a second
sentence would be too complicated for people.


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