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Re: DFSG#10 [was: Re: Draft Debian-legal summary of the LGPL]

On Wed, May 19, 2004 at 03:18:05AM +0100, Andrew Suffield wrote:
> GPL 2(a) is easy to satisfy (given the conventional interpretation
> that published revision control logs are adequete, and do not have to
> be included in the file itself) and does not prevent you from
> modifying the work in any way you desire.

    a) You must cause the modified files to carry prominent notices
       stating that you changed the files and the date of any change.

I don't think revision control logs can possibly satify it; it specifically
says that the modified files must carry it, not external logs.

Besides, a free license shouldn't mandate revision control, any more than
they should mandate proper indentation or regression testing.

> GPL 2(c) has two escape clauses; the first is that you only need
> display an "appropriate" notice, which can mean almost anything but
> should not require you to do anything which poses a significant
> problem to you, and the second is that the clause doesn't apply if you
> modify the program such that it does not "read commands interactively
> when run".

The word "appropriate" is only modifying "copyright notice"; there are
several other requirements:

"an announcement including an [1]appropriate copyright notice and [2]a notice
that there is no warranty ... and [3]that users may redistribute the program
under these conditions, and [4]telling the user how to view a copy of this

I can't release a derived work of gdb that doesn't spam the user on start by
default (and my personal definition of spamming the user is any unnecessary
output at all).  I like quiet programs, and programs with defaults that
resemble my preferences.

The existance of that exception does seem to suggest that none of that is
actually "legally" critical, though, strengthening my opinion that it
shouldn't be there.

> A clause which says you must credit the original author, is okay.
> A clause which says you must credit the original author using the
> following text, is not okay.

I tend to think "A clause which says you must credit the original author in
the default output of the program is not okay."  I'm happy to put credits in
--version and in documentation, but I don't think the output of a program is
the right place.  (I don't credit myself there in my own programs, either.)

I think that 2c's four-part output requirements are well beyond "crediting the
original author", though.

I agree that these are borderline--but I think it's touching the wrong side
of the border.  (The fact that they're borderline means that people will
disagree, of course.)

Glenn Maynard

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