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Re: PHPNuke license

On Wed, Mar 05, 2003 at 08:06:05PM +0100, Henning Makholm wrote:
> > Does anyone here hold the position that requiring the copyright notice on
> > the front page would not be DFSG-free, if that's a valid interpretation
> > of the GPL?

Well I should say, this case is independant of the GPL due to the specific

> I have a hard time deciding what to think here. On one hand, it is
> not, in the present case, an orneous requirement. On the other, I fear
> a slippery slope leading to output restrictions and all sorts of bad
> things.

I think it is an orneous requirement.  I was looking around for software to
use for my own website, and PHPNuke was one of the things I was evaluating.

I think that any website tool that insists that you include an attribution
or copyright statement is not suitable for us and is not sufficiently free
for the users -- and by users, I mean the users of Debian.

If Apache insisted on this from day one, nobody would have taken it
seriously and it would have lost out.

I think that we can, should, and must take a stand here and say that
requiring that on individual websites goes too far.

> Perhaps a reasonable place to draw the line would be to say that we
> don't find it DFSG-unfree in itself to require a copyright notice (or
> other stuff as detailed in GPL 2(c) on the front page, if the software

Even that is problematic, for the reasons above, but moreover:

Sometimes it can be difficult to determine just what a front page is.  If
you have several categories of information, and always link to one specific
category (yet they are part of an overriding system that has no general
entry page), what is the front page?

Is it still a front page if nobody links to it?  Would intentionally linking
to other pages to avoid the copyright notice constitute a violation of the

> appears *to the remote end user* as a coherent entity that he is
> having a stateful interaction with. This would be independent of how

I'm not so sure.  I've never really felt I'm having a stateful interaction
with the majority of websites.  PHPNuke and its ilk do not automatically
imply stateful interactions either.

> as including. If the restrictions claimed by the upstream author are
> unacceptable, we should treat the software as DSFG-nonfree even though
> the restrictions may not actually be there, seen from an objective
> legal viewpoint.

That's a reasonable stance and I support it.

> one explicitly denied. *Then* we'll nedd to figure out which of the
> authors we believe.

Good point.

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