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Re: PHPNuke license

On Tue, Mar 04, 2003 at 06:53:51PM -0500, David Turner wrote:
> This, I simply don't think I can agree with.  Perhaps a clearer example
> would be irc.worldforge.org.  It lives on a computer owned and operated
> by Bob.  But Bob basically never logs on to IRC.   I asked, and the two
> people currently active said that they were currently "using" the
> server, while Bob wasn't (since he wasn't connected then).

But why should they need to see licensing information for software when
they're not bound by the licenses?  It's Bob that potentially needs that
information, not the users.  Similarly, the license itself (the GPL
text) must be made available to Bob, but nothing requires it be made
available to the users on IRC.  I doubt the warranty disclaimer is relevant
to them, either.

I think we're just hitting concepts of "users" that aren't exactly clear, and
probably weren't considered at all when the GPL was written.  After all,
the GPL says "when run", and IRC users certainly aren't "running" the
IRC server when they connect to it; only Bob did that.

In any case, I don't think we can come to any safe conclusion of whether
it's correct to interpret 2c to include "displaying the GPL blurb on the
main page of PHPNuke output".  The GPL doesn't say; it wasn't written
with this case in mind, so the only safe thing to do is to ask the
copyright holder, and this copyright holder's position is clear (he's
interpreting it even more liberally than that).

However, PHPNuke's interpretation is broader: it insists that the blurb be
"in the footer of each page", not just the main page.  Even if we can can't
determine the above, can we agree that it's not a reasonable interpretation
to apply it to the output of each page (akin to outputting the blurb for
every command issued to gdb)?

I'm not sure where we could go from there; asking them to change it to only
the main page is pointless if that's 1: still ambiguous and/or 2: still of
questionable DFSG-freeness.  Even if that's DFSG-free, it's still probably a
bad idea to ask them to change to that if it's still a questionable
interpretation of the GPL.

Glenn Maynard

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