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GPL 2c objections

[changed subject, as this is no longer related to PHPNuke]

> 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.

On Tue, 4 Mar 2003, Glenn Maynard wrote:
> I like my programs' output to be extremely spartan by default--show a
> single-line command-prompt and nothing else, eg:
> 03:31pm glenn@zewt.pts/4 [~] ftp
> ftp>
> The GPL prevents me from turning another program (eg. GDB) into one which
> has such a clean default interface.  (The default interface is important
> to me because that's what most users see--most people don't spend their
> time figuring out how to disable GPL blurbs, and I want programs to
> present the best interface by default.)

You can work around this, though it's annoying to have to.  Have it read
an environment variable or config file on startup, and use the spartan
output if it's set properly.  This points out that "in the most normal
way" is undefined, but I doubt you'd get in any legal trouble over that.

Hmm.  Reading 2c in a more evil way, the requirement is to "print or 
display", but the exception applies if the original program "does not 
normally print" the message.  Ok, this is stretching.

The saving grace of 2c, which is frequently missing from other licenses
that attempt to force behaviors on modified versions, is that it does not
specify exactly what the message is, nor how or where the notice must be
printed or displayed.  In fact, you could make your derived program spit 
out a line to syslog which points to the copyright and disclaims warranty.

I'd still prefer it be gone, as it makes annoying some cases of extracting 
functionality from interactive programs into easily-scripted ones.  
However, it's much less onerous than those we routinely reject based on 
Mark Rafn    dagon@dagon.net    <http://www.dagon.net/>  
  "Government is not suggestion nor persuasion, it is force.  When you advocate
  any government action, you first must believe that violence is the best 
  answer to the question at hand." -- Laws of the Jungle, by Allen Thornton

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