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Re: PHPNuke license

On Tue, Mar 04, 2003 at 01:37:10PM -0500, Don Armstrong wrote:
> I've been thinking a bit about this license and 2c in general. I'm not
> particularly happy about 2c because it restricts the ability of
> programs to be used in specific ways. I can't yet codify what I feel
> is wrong with it, and what I would do to change it, but I hope to be
> able to do so in a few days.

I feel very much the same as you.  Yet as the author of various GPL'd
programs, I don't want people removing my name.

I think it boils down to this.  When I run a KDE app, I think it's
reasonable to ensure that the About box maintains a reference to the
original author for modified versions.  Or the splash screen for "bc".  Or
an interactie OfflineIMAP.

What bothers me about PHPNuke is that there is an effort to maintain a
copyright notice in the output of the program.  That is like having
Konqueror add a KDE copyright statement to every printout of a web page, or
OfflineIMAP adding a copyright statement to the end of each message
transferred.  This is what I think is wrong.

I think we have clearly seen ambiguity in the GPL.  We have the GPL "strict
constructionists" (I seem to fall into that category for this debate) and
"liberal interpreters".  I am the sort of person that thinks that "object
code" isn't just the output of a text file through "tr".  Yet I can see the
point others are making (even though I think it's wrong <g>).  The problem
is, I think, two-fold: 1) that the GPL has not been updated to reflect new
developments in the 12 years since it was written (it was written before the
Web existed, after all); and 2) that the mode for applying GPL to new
situations has been to "liberally interpret" its meaning, with the result
people are encouraged to continue doing so, and the interpretations get more
and more liberal.  The more liberal the interpretations become, the more
debatable they are, and the less enforcable they are.

I for one would like to see a new edition of the GPL return us to a more
precise way of interpreting things.

-- John

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