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

Andrew Suffield wrote:
On Tue, May 18, 2004 at 11:05:13PM -0400, Glenn Maynard wrote:

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.

No it doesn't. And the GPL FAQ says it doesn't, too.

'the modified files' is ambiguous - it could refer to each modified file, or the set of modified files as a whole. In the former interpretation, each file must contain prominent notices; in the latter, one prominent notice would suffice for the whole set of modified files. In the latter case, the notice need not be in any of the files; it could be in RClogs, the .ZIP/.RAR comments block, a text file accompanying the source, etc.

In my opinion, this requirement does not 'restrict modification', as per DFSG #3: the compiled form can be modified in any way, and need not incorporate the change notices. 'patches only' software can be considered Free, even though it does not allow any changes that are made to the source files to be distributed.

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.

"Copyright FSF, Inc; available under the GPL with no warranty, 'show
license' for details", only when stdout is a tty, and a configuration
option that will eliminate it completely. Is that really so bad?

"Alexander Zarochentcev (zam) wrote the high low priority locking code, online resizer for V3 and V4, online repacker for V4, block allocation code, and major parts of the flush code, and maintains the transaction manager code. We give him the stuff that we know will be hard to debug, or needs to be very cleanly structured.

BigStorage (www.bigstorage.com) contributes to our general fund every month, and has done so for quite a long time." - Is this really so bad?

Slippery slope...

Lewis Jardine

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