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Re: Is the xdebug's non-free license necessary?

On Mon, Dec 20, 2004 at 08:34:49PM -0500, Glenn Maynard wrote:
> > Find something that allows me to exclude people from using "Xdebug+" or
> > "RealXdebug" for names of derived products. That is exactly what I mean
> > with this clause. I don't see why this should render something non-free.
> > The source is free as you can get, I just do not want any confusion that
> > people might get if somebody makes a derived product and calls it
> > Xdebug+, as I as original author, will get silly support questions about
> > it.


> In the general case, I think this type of clause is sticky.  It doesn't seem
> free that my (hypothetical) game, "Apache Combat", couldn't reuse code from
> Apache[1].  "Xdebug" doesn't seem as bad, but it feels wrong to be determining
> freeness of the clause based on whether the word being prohibited is a
> dictionary word or not.

What's worse, this licence can't stop me from writing my own
(non-Xdebug-derived) project, even closely modelled on Xdebug, and calling
it RealXDebug or XDebug++ or something that *is* confusingly similar.

If you really want to avoid people jumping on your good name, use the proper
means for doing so -- trademark it.  Using the copyright licence to try and
do trademark-like things has the following effects:

1) It stops people from doing things they really should be allowed to do in
a Free licence, such as "take over" the project if you totally give up on it
(or take the metaphorical "bus betwixt the eyes");

2) It doesn't stop people from doing what you *really* want to stop them
from doing -- creating a confusingly similar makr of trade;

3) Irritates people who think copyright is for controlling the rights to
copy a work, and trademark is for protecting marks of trade.

> > As long as there are no strange patches that removes or adds
> > functionality (something that I feel distributions should NEVER do),
> > there should not be a problem as you're only delivering a 'pure' Xdebug
> > to users.
> I don't know what "derived product" means.  Most packages are probably
> derived works, which has a very specific legal meaning, but I don't
> know if "derived product" means "derived work".

I read them as being the same.  And I also believe (although this is
probably less agreeable) that a package of a program is a derived work, and
not the work itself, because there are added / modified elements in there,
and (at the very least) creative input has been involved in those additional

And it's very common for the Debian maintainer to apply at least some form
of patch to the package somewhere along the line.  Some packages are patched
to hell and beyond because upstream is either dead, non-responsive, very
non-patching, or just wants to take the program somewhere other than where
Debian users want it to be.  Prohibition on doing so is prohibition to fork,
something that Free Software / Open Source people really don't like.  If it
needs a name change, so be it.  We'll change the name.

- Matt

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