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Re: [Steve Lidie <Stephen.O.Lidie@Lehigh.EDU>] Re: xodometer licensing

On Mon, 26 Feb 2001, Sam TH wrote:

>On Mon, Feb 26, 2001 at 05:32:19PM -0700, John Galt wrote:
>> On Mon, 26 Feb 2001, Sam TH wrote:
>> >What's that supposed to mean?
>> Meaning that from your cite, one cannot be sure that they are.
>Would you like to cite some other part of the license, contesting my
>interpretation of that?
>> >>
>> >> >>
>> >> >> >Aside from the really stupid decision to reference a particular server
>> >> >> >(which doesn't appear even to exist anymore), do you know what this
>> >> >> >clause means?  For example, Freely Available means that "no fee is
>> >> >> >charged for the item itself".  Does this mean that I can't charge for
>> >> >> >distributing modified binaries, even if I provide free source with
>> >> >> >them?  It also means that "recipients of the item may redistribute it
>> >> >> >under the same conditions they received it", but that doesn't help you
>> >> >> >at all.  You can redistribute Microsoft software as well, under
>> >> >> >whatever terms you like.
>> >> >>
>> >> >>
>> >> >> Debian's definition of "freely available"
>> >> >>
>> >> >> 1.Free Redistribution
>> >> >>
>> >> >>      The license of a Debian component may not restrict any party from
>> >> >> selling or giving away the software as a component of an
>> >> >>      aggregate software distribution containing programs from several
>> >> >> different sources. The license may not require a royalty or other fee
>> >> >>      for such sale.
>> >> >>
>> >> >
>> >> >First, what Debina calls freely available is irrelevant to the legal
>> >> >interpretation of the license.  Second, doesn't "no fee is charged for
>> >> >the item itself" seem to contradict that clause?  And doesn't DFSG 1
>> >> >seem to conflict with the later (contradictory) statements about
>> >> >aggregates?
>> >>
>> >> In the text of the license, it specifically states that you may not charge
>> >> for the SV in and of itself...therefore modifications may be distributed
>> >> under the exact same terms as the SV.
>> >
>> >Actually, it states that you can't charge for the SV or derived works
>> >(basically) themseleves.  And doesn't it seem like a violation of that
>> >clause to restrict how much money one can charge for the (unmodified)
>> >package?  Actually, if you aren't selling a copy, but the original you
>> >recieved, the restrictions on prices aren't even legally valid.
>> Cool!  You heard it first.  The GPL is DFSG non-free!
>> Here's what the GPL says about charging a fee:
>>  You may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a copy, and
>>    you may at your option offer warranty protection in exchange for a
>>    fee.
>> What is not expressly allowed is denied, and there is no express
>> permission in the GPL for charging ANY fee for the program qua program.
>Note that my complaint was about "how much money one can charge".
>This is not mentioned in the GPL, and is in the AL.  What you charge
>it for is irrelevant.

Okay, where in the DFSG does it say that one may not specify how much is a
suitable charge?

>> >But yes, it is clear that you are allowed to give away copies of the
>> >SV for free.  That aspect of the DFSG is complied with.
>> >
>> >>
>> >> >> Please note that the only issue in the DFSG is if it can be sold as part
>> >> >> of an aggregate, which the Artistic explicitly allows.  The other clause
>> >> >> of the DFSG applicable is:
>> >> >>
>> >> >>
>> >> >> 3.Derived Works
>> >> >>
>> >> >>      The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must
>> >> >> allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license
>> >> >>      of the original software.
>> >> >>
>> >> >> Show me where the terms are different for the modifications.  I'm guessing
>> >> >> that if it was rewrote today, LW would use CPAN as his example.
>> >> >
>> >> >Well, redistribution of verbatim copies of the distribution is
>> >> >explicitly allowed, without any of the restrictions placed on
>> >> >modififed versions.  What if I create a GPL's patch to an AL binary,
>> >> >and distribute the patch only to my friends.  I fail to see where this
>> >> >is allowed by the license.
>> >>
>> >> "within your company or organization"
>> >>
>> >
>> >Well, the point of me using "friends" was to suggest people not in my
>> >"company or organization".  So how about we consider me distributing
>> >this to 10 random people on the street, and no one else.  Is this
>> >allowed?
>> Let's go to another case: You do the same for OpenSSL.  You've violated
>> the OpenSSL license, since it expressly forbids linking with GPL code.
>> Yet OpenSSL is DFSG free.  Your example fails to make any difference
>> because you've stretched it so far.
>Well, I don't see where in the OpenSSL license you see that.  But it
>is GPL-incompatible, so the GPL forbids linking with the OpenSSL

See the thread started with


More precisely:


BTW, minor correction.  I lumped the ssleay license in with the openssl
license in my mind.  You're violating the licensing of openssl, but not
the openssl license, if that makes any sense.

>My problem is that the license seems to restrict the distribution of
>"modifications", not "modified versions".  Since it is perfectly legal
>to create a GPLd patch to anything at all (even Windows) and
>distribute it, this would seem legally invalid as well as non-free.

The license CAN'T restrict the distribution of modifications.
Modifications are a separately copyrightable work.  <should I> <YEAH!>
When you come to an apparent contradiction, check your premises :P~~~~~~

>> >> >> >is given, cannot be copied.  The same goes for internet archives, even
>> >> >> >the ones that still exist.
>> >> >>
>> >> >> Ahhh, but the aggregate is a separately copyrightable work.  Look at the
>> >> >> OpenBSD CD images...
>> >> >
>> >> >No, I meant individual files on the archives.
>> >>
>> >> If they're archived, I'm assuming they're archived legally.  If there's no
>> >> permission to redistribute, how did you get it in the first place?
>> >>
>> >
>> >Let's see, you can download Microsoft IE freely from the Internet,
>> >right?  Can you give away modified versions?  I don't think so.
>> But we aren't talking about downloading a modified copy, we're talking
>> about uploading a modification and whether it's redistributable.  If it's
>> not redistributable on a server, what's the point of uploading it, and
>> what's THEIR point in accepting it?
>Right.  It could be under the same license as say, the GPL, which
>allows verbatim copying and nothing else.  Then mirroring it would be
>legal, but the modification would be non-free.

?!  Did I miss something here?

>> >> >>
>> >> >> >2) The reference to manual pages is very limiting, in that it only
>> >> >> >works on Unix-like systems.
>> >> >>
>> >> >> The reference is also one of four options again.  Also again, you only
>> >> >> need to comply with one...
>> >> >>
>> >> >
>> >> >The other two (the ones I didn't mention) are:
>> >> >
>> >> > b) use the modified Package only within your corporation or
>> >> > organization.
>> >>
>> >> Look in the GPL, you'll find similar language there...
>> >>
>> >
>> >Right, that clause is actually neccessary to be DFSG free.  My point
>> >is that the DFSG requires a "free redistribution" clause, and that
>> >that one isn't it.
>> Where does it require ANY given clause?
>Well, licenses usually come with clauses, and usually one (or more
>than one) deals with redistribution, and one deals with personal
>modifications, and so on.  You could write a license as a run-on
>sentence with no line breaks, but those aren't that common.  So the
>DFSG doesn't require any given clauses, just some content usually
>arranged in clauses.  That's all I meant.

Right, but the DFSG doesn't require that there be any given wording in a
license, just that the 9 concepts are covered somehow.

>> >> >> >3) <quote>You may embed this Package's interpreter within an
>> >> >> >executable of yours (by linking); this shall be construed as a mere
>> >> >> >form of aggregation, provided that the complete Standard Version of
>> >> >> >the interpreter is so embedded.</quote>
>> >> >> >
>> >> >> >Does this mean I can't link with my own modified copy of the Perl
>> >> >> >interpreter?  I don't think that's what Larry meant, but it is what
>> >> >> >that says.
>> >> >>
>> >> >> Covered in the definitions...
>> >> >>
>> >> >>      "Standard Version" refers to such a Package if it has not been
>> >> >> modified, or has been modified in accordance with the wishes
>> >> >>      of the Copyright Holder as specified below.
>> >> >>
>> >> >> So long as the modifications are legally done, it's still the SV as far as
>> >> >> this license goes..
>> >> >>
>> >> >
>> >> >What the hell are "the wishes of the copyright holder"?  That isn't
>> >> >defined in the license, isn't a legal term, and is basically
>> >> >unknowable.  What if my real wish is to have my code included in
>> >> >Windows?
>> >>
>> >> So include manpages.  It wouldn't be the first time that unnecessary cruft
>> >> has been added to a package because of licensing restrictions: look at BSD
>> >> compression in the >2.2.~16 kernels.
>> >>
>> >
>> >What's a manpage?  It's certainly not defined in the license.
>> So it should be easy to cover then.  Make a file "manpage" with the
>> required attributions.
>No, things which are required in the license, and are not defined, are
>*not* easy to cover.  They are impossible to cover, without
>clarification from the licensor.  That's just another reason why this
>is a low-quality license.

low quality != non-free.

>> >And how do you know manpages have anything to do with "the wishes of
>> >the copyright holder"?  My point is that it's impossible to even tell
>> >what the definition of "Standard Version" means, because of this sort
>> >of ambiguity.
>> Taken out of context, "this program" is also ambiguous in the GPL...
>Right, but even in context, SV is ambigous in the AL, since it relies
>on knowledge of the "wishes of the copyright holder".

...as specified below."  It relies on knowledge that it later provides.
Recursive, maybe; ambiguous, no.

>> >> >> >4) <quote>Aggregation of this Package with a commercial distribution
>> >> >> >is always permitted provided that the use of this Package is embedded;
>> >> >> >that is, when no overt attempt is made to make this Package's
>> >> >> >interfaces visible to the end user of the commercial
>> >> >> >distribution. Such use shall not be construed as a distribution of
>> >> >> >this Package.</quote>
>> >> >> >
>> >> >> >This seems highly non-free, as commercial distributions are required
>> >> >> >to be allowed by the DFSG.  However, they are also allowed by clause 5
>> >> >> >of the AL, contradicting that passage in clause 8.
>> >> >>
>> >> >> Again, you're misreading.  Commercial distribution that DOESN'T FOLLOW the
>> >> >> rest of the license is allowed if the user can't see what's going on under
>> >> >> the hood.
>> >> >>
>> >> >
>> >> >Does that clause say that?  It just says "Aggregation of this Package
>> >> >with a commercial distribution", and nothing about whether or not it
>> >> >follows the other clauses.
>> >>
>> >> Well the DFSG doesn't explicitly say that commercial distribution is
>> >> supposed to be allowed either, you're not allowing implicit language in
>> >> the Artistic licesnse to refute your implicit reading of the DFSG...Am I
>> >> the only one to see the problem with this?
>> >>
>> >
>> >"The license of a Debian component may not restrict any party from
>> >selling .. the software"
>> GODDAMN IT!  The cite is above.  You're misquoting it!  The last part is
>> DIFFERENT SOURCES.  What part of "out of context" DON'T you understand!
>> Debian DOES NOT require commercial distribution be an option FOR ONLY THE
>Please, stop hurting the Caps Lock key.

Caps lock is for yelling.  What else is a person to do when they patiently
provide a cite and three messages later, with the cite still being quoted
in the message, the other party misquotes it as part of a straw man?  Send
roses with a thank you card?

>Do you really mean to tell me that there are licenses out there that
>allow redistribution for commercial purposes *only* with other
>programs?  And that such a license would be DFSG free?  Even though

Again, the contradiction is because of a misquote on your part.  Your
ellipsis glossed over "or give away".  To pass DFSG 1, a license must
allow both commercial aggregations and free aggregations.  DFSG 1 is not
about selling a program in and of itself, nor is it about giving away a
program in and of itself: it's about aggregations like the Debian CDs.

>adding a ROT-13 encryptor to the distribution media would make it
>distributable?  And you think this license would hold up in what

Probably the same court that enjoined DeCSS: one with either very little
clue or a newly fat bank balance.

>I challenge you to suggest that the DFSG makes such a pointless and
>stupid distinction.

DFSG 1 is all about whether Debian is able to distribute the CD's.  If the
license restricts mere aggregation, then Debian can't distribute it at

>> >Sounds like commercial distribution to me.  And a direct quote from
>> >the DFSG.  Furthermore, the "Fields of Endeavor" clause prohibits
>> >restrictions on commercial use.  Where's my implicit reading of the
>> >DFSG?
>> USE, not redistribution.  Otherwise the GPL fails, since it's primary
>> purpose is to prevent commercial redistribution of a given package.
>First, selling something is using it commerically.  Second, the GPLs

Is it?  If I get a Hyster and use it in a warehouse, is that private use?
Since it's still mine (I didn't sign over the title), I go ahead over to
a friend's house and sell it: am I now a commercial vendor--do I have to
get a dealer's license to sell it?  In that case, what precisely IS a
"private transaction"?  An oxymoron?

>primary purpose is to keep the source free.  It does not place *any*
>restrictions on distribution relating to whether or not that
>disribution is commercial (except that it adds option 3c for
>non-commercial distributions).

Where does the GPL allow for commercial distribution at all?  It places no
restrictions because you cannot restrict zero.

>> >> >I see where you think I have misread the license, and I have tried to
>> >> >show why I read it that way.  I think that you are reading too much of
>> >> >what we all know Larry meant, and not enough of what Larry actually
>> >> >said.  This is, of course, difficult to avoid, since the license has
>> >> >such a long history.
>> >> >
>> >> >But where do you think I made "outright obfuscations"?
>> >>
>> >> Quoting out of context.  Taking only one option of four and basing your
>> >> determination of the DFSG freeness only on that one.  Implicit reading of
>> >> the DFSG but not of the Artistic license.  Did any of these tactics serve
>> >> to make the issues clearer?
>> >
>> >Well, as I explained above, the DFSG requires both "free
>> >redistribution" and "personal use" of modified versions.  The AL
>> HORSE SHIT.  Your out of context quotation does.
>In what way does DFSG 3 not require the ability to redistribute
>modified versions?  Upon closer reading (I've read the DFSG several

It only requires that the same terms as the rest of the license be applied
to modifications.

    3. Derived Works
       The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must
       allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license
       of the original software.

If the SV cannot be distributed, neither may the modifications.  Looks
like it fits to me...

>times today) I see that personal use isn't actually required by the
>DFSG.  So we shall see what happens when and APSL-style license gets
>brought up here.
>> >clearly satisfies the latter.  Since only one clause in the AL has any
>> >hope of satisfying the former, I only looked at it (actually, I looked
>> >at the others too, but not as much).  What's wrong or confusing about
>> >that?
>> >
>> >What did I quote out of context?
>> DFSG 1 for the obvious example.  The Artistic license section 3 and 4 for
>> another.
>Well, I've explained my quote of DFSG 1.  I'm sorry if you think that
>was out of context, it wasn't intended to obscure the context.
>I quoted section 3a from the AL in it's entirety.  I also quoted from
>5 and 8.  I do not recall quoting section 4 at all, but I might have
>missed that.  When did I quote them out of context?

Section 4 is the second "ONE of the following" clause.  Since 3c and 4c
are the same, it was ambiguous which one you meant, so I allowed for
(taken from 4c)
    c. rename any non-standard executables so the names do not conflict
       with standard executables, which must also be provided, and
       provide a separate manual page for each non-standard executable
       that clearly documents how it differs from the Standard Version.

>> >And the supposed "implicit reading" of the DFSG can be backed up (as
>> >it has been) by direct quotes from the DFSG.
>> Actually, the direct quotes had ellipses and omitted qualifying clauses.
>I ellipsed over the phrase "or giving away".  I hope you can forgive
>me for that.

See above.  It changed the meaning, and then you used the amended meaning
as a straw man.

>	sam th
>	sam@uchicago.edu
>	http://www.abisource.com/~sam/
>	GnuPG Key:
>	http://www.abisource.com/~sam/key


You have paid nothing for the preceding, therefore it's worth every penny
you've paid for it: if you did pay for it, might I remind you of the
immortal words of Phineas Taylor Barnum regarding fools and money?

Who is John Galt?  galt@inconnu.isu.edu, that's who!

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