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Re: PHPNuke license

On Tue, 2003-03-04 at 20:12, Glenn Maynard wrote:
> 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?  

I don't think they need to see it, but that they need to *be able to*
see it.  So, I do think the current (2)(c) is slightly flawed (although,
as the discussion has revealed, it's quite hard to exploit the flaw, if
you adopt sane definitions of interactive).

> 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.

As a user, I would be interested.

> 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.

But they might be if, instead of an ircd, it were an ftpd hooked up
through inetd.

> 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".  

I think we *can* -- I think displaying on the console, or in the
comments, would be fine.  OTOH, I think that if a copyright holder
interprets it differently, their interpretation should dominate -- just
as in the PINE case, this might make their software non-free.

> 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)?

Of course.

> 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.

I think we ought to ask them to change it because the footer thing is
definately outside of (2)(c), but the front page thing is definately
DFSG-free (by grandfathering if nothing else).

-Dave Turner                     Stalk Me: 617 441 0668

"On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters 
of principle, stand like a rock." -Thomas Jefferson

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