[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: GPL 2c objections

I've always wanted a standard-ish environment variable, eg. "QUIET_GPL",
to turn off GPL notices globally.  I havn't bothered since it's less work
for me to just set up aliases and rc files as needed to disable it in
individual programs than to patch programs and try to convince upstreams
to take them.

On Tue, Mar 04, 2003 at 02:48:12PM -0800, Mark Rafn wrote:
> 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.

I'm referring to wanting to have programs that are clean and quiet by
default, not via an environment variable or parameter.  I'm speaking as
a programmer, who wants programs that behave ideally (in my view of things),
and 3c (in some cases) prevents this.

In fact, it would make me feel rather foolish to distribute an interactive
program, typically used for two or three commands, which outputs a multi-line
license blurb each time it's run.

# glennftp foo.com
/> cd foo
/foo> get fum
/foo> exit


# glennftp foo.com
GlennFTP is free software, covered by the GNU General Public License, and you are
welcome to change it and/or distribute copies of it under certain conditions.
Type "show copying" to see the conditions.
There is absolutely no warranty for GlennFTP.  Type "show warranty" for details.
/> cd foo
/foo> get fum
/foo> exit

I don't want users to see that mess; I don't want any text at all before
the prompt, and I don't want users to have to figure out how to disable it.

Of course, I simply don't add these messages to my own programs--but it
prevents me from turning existing programs into ones which are quiet by
default (and it's freedom to modify other programs that we're interested in).

Now, David Turner is mentioning some discussions that might fix this
particular problem entirely at some point.

> 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.

It says you must "print or display an announcement".  It clearly means
that you must tell the user running the interactive program; I think any
interpreting of that to mean printing to a place the user is never
likely to see it (syslog, or /dev/null) is a stretch and certainly not
what was intended.

Glenn Maynard

Reply to: