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Re: PHPNuke license

On Mon, 2003-03-03 at 19:43, Glenn Maynard wrote:
> Just to be clear: I'm not sure exactly how or where PHPNuke outputs the
> given text.  If it's part of output templates, then it doesn't seem to
> be a problem.  My problem is if PHPNuke is claiming that I have to maintain
> the GPL blurb even if I redesign its output (eg. rewrite templates); that
> PHPNuke must always output a GPL blurb.

I think that's the claim -- that certain modifications of PHPNuke are

> That would be akin (in my mind) to Apache requiring the same thing [1], or
> perhaps even to Gimp requiring that GPL blurb be stamped on the output of
> its images.  

These cases seem somewhat different to me, because in no sense is a
viewer of GIMP's image *using* GIMP.  One browsing a web site served off
of Apache is "using" it in a very limited sense.   Fortunately, neither
of these two cases would be (2)(c) cases.  Recall that (2)(c) says,
"...when started running for such interactive use in the most ordinary
way, to print or display an announcement ..."  Apache is started in the
most ordinary way via the apachectl or /etc/init.d/apache scripts.  A
little copyright notice outputted from these scripts would harm nobody. 
Similarly with GIMP.

Interestingly, I don't think (2)(c) would forbid a modified PHPNuke to
print the copyright notice to a printer (or console) in the server room,
instead of on the web page the user sees.  The more I look at the
clause, the more convinced I am that its sole purpose is to torture me.

> I have no idea if there's an argument that a user on the Internet is in
> some way bound by the copyright of the programs used to generate the
> output of the links he's clicking (eg. Apache or PHPNuke).  (I can't
> think of one, but IANAL.)

This seems rather unlikely -- the point of the copyright notice isn't to
tell users what they can't do, but rather what they can.  Actually, I
have no idea what the point of the copyright notice is, but I can't
imagine that it's intended to bind mere users -- that would go against
everything we know of copyright law.

> (I'm certainly not arguing against giving credit, but I don't believe
> credit is the purpose of the GPL blurb and no-warranty statement.)

I have a hard time figuring out what that purpose is, at this point.

> On Mon, Mar 03, 2003 at 06:06:58PM -0500, David Turner wrote:
> > A program in the middle of a pipeline never directly accepts input from
> > the user, nor does it output direcly to the user.  
> > 
> > How does this sound for an interpretation of interactive in shell
> > scripts: "A program is running interactively if stdin and stdout are
> > ttys."  This should prevent most of the spam effect, right?
> I'm not arguing that a program in the middle of a user pipeline should
> be considered interactive; I just think that Branden's argument (which I
> can see as reasonable but am not quite decided on) is that it's in the
> same class as a program generating HTML output through a pipeline
> (eg. Apache)--they're equally interactive (or uninteractive).  (Branden,
> am I still remotely close to your argument, or have I wandered?)
> (Incidentally, I've always thought of programs like "gdb" as being
> interactive, and programs like "df" and "cat"--including ones that
> happen to read data from stdin--as being uninteractive.  I don't mind
> debating these interpretations of "interactive" here, but it's tangental
> to the PHPNuke discussion.)

Do you say that it's tangential because you think PHPNuke is clearly
interactive?  Or because, interactive or not, Debian should consider its
interpretation of (2)(c) non-free (whether or not it's correct from a
legal perspective)?

I actually am inclined (after looking at the Foldoc definition pasted in
another message in this thread), to agree on df and cat.  It's the
back-and-forth which defines interactivity.  Interestingly, this
provides a "out" for Apache other than the two I listed above, since
HTTP is technically stateless...

-Dave Turner                     Stalk Me: 617 441 0668

"On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters 
of principle, stand like a rock." -Thomas Jefferson

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