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Re: PHPNuke license

On Sun, Mar 02, 2003 at 04:42:18PM +1300, Nick Phillips wrote:
> On Sat, Mar 01, 2003 at 05:04:11PM -0500, Branden Robinson wrote:
> > > (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:
> <resisting temptation to stir>
> You're misinterpreting what he said; he meant that the license mentions
> that the original work "could" have a copyright statement when invoked
> interactively, and that if it did, you must retain it. Look at gs for an
> example.

(2)(c) does not mention the "original work":

  c)  If the modified program normally reads commands interactively when
  run, you must cause it, when started running for such interactive use
  in the most ordinary way, to print or display an announcement
  including an appropriate copyright notice and a notice that there is
  no warranty (or else, saying that you provide a warranty) and that
  users may redistribute the program under these conditions, and telling
  the user how to view a copy of this License.  (Exception: if the
  Program itself is interactive but does not normally print such an
  announcement, your work based on the Program is not required to print
  an announcement.)

The only restriction here is what the program "normally" does; thus, if
I change GNU coreutils to have every program "normally" output a
copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty, no one who receives my
my modified version (whether directly from me or not, and whether it
includes further modifications or not) can ever remove the copyright
notice and disclaimer of warranty without making the program
non-interactive, which might be pretty difficult if we are as creative
with our definition of "interactive" as Mr. Turner appears to be.  If I
modify GNU coreutils in other ways, so as to include copyrightable
modifications of my own, then even the FSF cannot accept my
modifications without retaining the copyright notice and warranty
disclaimer banner, because my own copyright will have to be in the
notice, and they have no right to remove it.  If they want the
functionality I have written *and* to get rid of the banner, they have
to convince me to assign my copyright to them, or re-implement my

If I go further, and patent my modifications, to which in the United
States the only barrier appears to be the money to pay a patent lawyer
to file a claim with the USPTO, then the FSF has a real problem.

This is why I continue to agree with the FSF's philosophy about the
4-clause BSD license: compelled advertising sucks.

> > 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.
> And? So? Nobody would use your versions.

Why not?  If I add enough features to make them compelling, why wouldn't
they?  Only a few protestors would bother to stick to the old versions,
and they'd get tarred as communists trying to undermine credit for the
authors' work.  Plenty of people use Jamie Zawinski's software despite
his predilection for the software equivalent of writing his name in the
marquee lights of a Vegas casino.

> > 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.
> /me bites tongue

I appreciate your restraint; cogent arguments are preferable to hateful

G. Branden Robinson                |    There is no housing shortage in
Debian GNU/Linux                   |    Lincoln today -- just a rumor that
branden@debian.org                 |    is put about by people who have
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |    nowhere to live.    -- G. L. Murfin

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