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Re: PHPNuke license



> > I for one, still find myself in strong sympathy with the arguments put
> > forward in that article, and I think it is inconsistent to apply its
> > reasoning solely to the old 4-clause BSD license.
> 
> Recall that this says that the 4-clause BSD license *is* free.

So?  Not every license that meets one's criteria, be it the DFSG or the
FSF's definition of Free Software, is equally valuable, or promotes the
goals of those criteria with equal efficiency.

Some, in fact, may technically satisfy the criteria but in fact have a
net harmful effect on the community.  The phenomenon of license
proliferation itself has this effect, which is why I support creative
readings of the DFSG *against* unorthodox (and especially complex)
licenses; that kind of approach discourages "gaming the system" on the
part of people who can't be troubled to research existing licenses.

There are, of course, some drawbacks to that approach, which I'm sure
some folks on this list won't hesitate to put forward.

> I also don't see a problem with the About Box interpretation of
> (2)(c), which avoids the 4-clause BSD problem.

Maybe you don't, but I don't see it as being easily construed from the
language of (2)(c); it looks to me like (2)(c) is designed to ensure the
unconditional presentation of the information described to a passive
user, whereas "about boxes" tend to require the user to take positive
action to reveal them (click on the menu bar, select an item from a
drop-down menu, etc.).

> (2)(c) merely states that they *could* have such a notice.  Most of the
> coreutils aren't interactive.

I don't see how you can be go generous with your interpretation of
"interactivity" when it comes to PHPNuke but so strict when it comes to
the coreutils.  When I type "cp" or "rm" at a shell prompt, it feels
pretty interactive to me.  Then of course there are flags in fact use
the dreaded word:

       -i, --interactive
              prompt before any removal

If I were to fork coreutils -- calling it, say "annoyingutils" -- and
add sufficient code to cp and rm to merit a copyright, I could add a
notice that gets displayed when standard input is a tty everytime either
of these commands run.  Or at the very least I could make sure the
notice is printed when someone uses the -i flag, and thanks to 2c, no
one would ever be able to remove the copyright notices.  (They could
remove my code and thus my copyright notice, but not the entire
copyright notice, for the FSF's copyright and no-warranty statement
would still be in force.)

In sum, I don't understand how you can be liberal with your
interpretation of interactivity when it comes to web applications but
conservative when it comes to the command line.

> > Which FSF staffer advocated this extremely broad interpretation of 2c?
> > If this heresy is the new GNU orthodoxy we may have some problems.
> 
> That would be me -- and it's not orthodoxy, just my intepretation.  I've
> been wrong before.  This paragraph is the only part of the message where
> I'm speaking for the FSF.  I don't think the FSF has any position on any
> of this, and I'm not sure we want to.

Well, try telling that to the author of PHPNuke.  :(

> > Yes, I do not think it is ethical to slap your own copyright on someone
> > else's work. 
> 
> Nobody is suggesting that.  Rather, the copyright notice applies to the
> PHPNuke code involved.

I question the clarity of that fact to those who read it.  Of course,
people are not granted the freedom to clarify the copyright notice thus.

> > If I write a novel and put it up on the web, and my
> > publishing technology happens to be PHPNuke, the copyright holders of
> > PHPNuke have no claim on my original work (they'd better not, or PHPNuke
> > violates DFSG 9, "License Must Not Contaminate Other Software"), and
> > nothing should appear to the viewer that would imply thus.
> 
> But PHPNuke's layout and functionality are integral parts of the
> output.  If you wrote a novel and happened to post it with PHPNuke, I'm
> not sure what I think would be the *right* thing.  In some sense, it
> would be like using a tiny little library (like GNU Readline) in a huge
> program...

I think that's a poor analogy.  The content of a novel is severable from
its mode of presentation in a way that a program isn't severable from
its shared object dependencies.

-- 
G. Branden Robinson                |    I've made up my mind.  Don't try to
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    confuse me with the facts.
branden@debian.org                 |    -- Indiana Senator Earl Landgrebe
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |

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