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Re: Integrity of Source Code

On Wed, 29 Nov 2000, Wesley W. Terpstra wrote:

> I wanted to enquire if clause #4 of the DFSG would allow a warning splash
> screen as follows:

> The program by default pops up a splash saying 'This is the official version
> of X obtainable in source and binary form from Y' - justs popups up for 3
> seconds or something not to obnoxious.

Some may disagree with how annoying a popup is, but that's a secondary

> If the source code (not build parameters) are changed you are required to
> have the message popup with 'This is an UNOFFICIAL version of X. The
> official version can be obtained from Y.' - again for ~3 seconds.

Hmm.  What if I modify it for non-gui or non-interactive use, and the
popup no longer is possible?  Would I be in violation of the license?

> Obviously any changes to the source code that improve it's configurability
> or quality would be merged upstream.

How about the modification to remove the annoying popup ;)

> Further, we have no intention of inhibitting the free flow of modified
> version of the source or binaries, we merely want the user of derived works
> to be made aware that this is no longer a version approved by us although it
> is based off of work by us.

DFSG #4 is certainly not in conflict with this goal.  The required-popup
implementation of the goal MAY be in conflict with DFSG #3 (you're
limiting the ability to derive works) or DSFG #6 (you're limiting it's use
in applications where a popup is undesirable or impossible).  It's a
pretty fine point, though, so I'd recommend against it and probably accept
it if you decided to use it anyway.  (not that I decide whether it's
acceptible, this is just MHO).

> We want this warning prominently visible b/c unless the user knows to look
> they are not going to root through help files and documentation to see if
> the program has been modified. And of course, if they know to look, they
> probably know the program has been modified.

This is a common concern.  One possible way to fix it is to reserve the
name of the official release (through trademark or license), and require
that modified versions not use that name.  You don't need to specify what
name they use, though you could suggest they use [Unofficial Name]. You
don't need to specify HOW they tell the user their name, just that they
may NOT tell the user that it's [Official Name].

This leaves people free to modify it without infringing on your
reputation, but doesn't limit them to having a specific behavior like a
Mark Rafn    dagon@dagon.net    <http://www.dagon.net/>

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