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

Re: PHPNuke license

On Wed, Mar 05, 2003 at 04:20:12PM -0500, David Turner wrote:
> > 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).

> As a user, I would be interested.

As a user, I would also be interested in seeing the ircd.conf of the IRC
server I'm connected to, but the license shouldn't require that, either.  :)
I'm just emphasizing that "some people would be interested in that" doesn't
seem to be enough reason to require it to be there.

Now, it's no bother to me if a license requires that it be available in
some way if the program is substantial (eg. as long as this doesn't
include every bit of software used; BSD4 again), but that's just because
although it strikes me as unimportant and mostly unnecessary, it's mostly
harmless and not something I'd bother to take issue with.  (Making it
*visible* to all users, as the GPL2 requires, is a different issue; it's
substantially louder than that and I'd dislike it being applied to make the
information available where it's really not needed.)

> > 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.

Do you think that users are bound by the ftpd copyright under the inetd
case, but not under the daemon case?  If not, I don't think this
extremely subtle distinction is worth making.  (I can't even decide
solidly whether that's "running" any more or less than a forking daemoned
FTP, much less come up with a strict definition.)

> > 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.

What I meant was that we can't come to a conclusion of whether 2c
includes this type of blurb at all (people not bound by the program's
copyright clicking links and getting its output), not the actual mechanism.
We can't agree on what "interactive" is, or whether they are "running"
it.  The GPL is ambiguous here.

My own interpretation has been that 2c is intended to show licensing
information (etc) to the person bound by the copyright, and that
excludes this case; but the GPL doesn't really say.

> 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).

I disagree for two reasons:

First, it's encouraging them to adopt an uncommon and somewhat questionable
interpretation of the GPL.  It's definitely an improvement over their
current (s/somewhat/extremely/ questionable) interpretation, but I don't
think it's a good idea to recommend questionable interpretations at all.

Second, we don't have a consensus that a requirement to put a
banner/blurb/logo on the main page is DFSG-free.  Let's not jump to
making suggestions that we're not sure about yet.

(I think it's best to ignore the "grandfathering" business when
determining whether something like this *should* be DFSG-free; if we
decide that something *shouldn't* be DFSG-free but may be according to
the grandfathering interpretation of DFSG#10, then something needs to be

(I also acknowledge that this may be largely intellectual if upstream
is likely to completely ignore us, but I think figuring out problems
like this--especially ones that involve odd interpretations of the GPL--is
worth the time, even if the software in question isn't.  This discussion
has been more useful to me than PHPNuke is ever likely to be.  :)

Glenn Maynard

Reply to: