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Re: Is javacc DFSG compliant?

Ken Arromdee <arromdee@rahul.net> writes:

> This may be a side issue, but could someone explain to me how "you
> acknowledge that ____" can fit the DFSG no matter what is acknowledged?
> It sounds like the equivalent of "if you distribute this software, you must
> pet a cat", only instead of petting a cat, you have to make an
> acknowledgement.  Presumably making the acknowledgement has some negative
> effect on the user (otherwise nobody would bother demanding one), so you're
> demanding the user give up some of his rights.

I think it's only for purposes of estoppel.

> Consider this hypothetical: I want to use the software in a nuclear power
> plant.  My lawyers advise me not to make the acknowledgement, because doing
> so might make it harder to later take Sun to court if I have to.  I refuse
> to acknowledge that the software is not intended for nuclear plants, but I
> copy and use the software anyway.  Am I now in violation of the license?

Your lawyers are insane.  It's illegal to use this software in nuclear
power plants.  Yes, I suppose those laws could change.  But the fact
that it isn't designed for use in a nuke is *true*.  I don't see any
fee or other non-free requirement in silent and private
acknowledgement of true facts.

> I know that "you must acknowledge that" doesn't mean you need to mail Sun a
> written statement bearing an acknowledgement, but I don't think that makes a
> difference.  Would a license "you must acknowledge that Jesus is
> Lord" be free?

That's not provably true.  Sun, being the designer of the software,
can make unambiguously true statements about the design.

Similarly, you must acknowledge that I have written the word "Sun".

> Or a license "you must acknowledge that any damage you might suffer as a
> result of using this software is no greater than 99 cents"?  

That's very far from true.

> If not, why is "you must acknowledge <something that might put you
> at a disadvantage in court>" free?

Because the acknowledgement is trivially proven to be true.  I agree
that if there's any question about the truth of the statement, it's
not free.  But for trivially true cases, I don't think it matters.


Brian Sniffen                                       bts@alum.mit.edu

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