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Re: Linux and GPLv2

On Sat, Mar 26, 2005 at 11:25:29PM +0100, Francesco Poli wrote:
> > c) If the modified program normally reads commands interactively
> > when run, you must cause it, when started running for such
> > interactive use in the most ordinary way, to print or display an
> > announcement including an appropriate copyright notice and a
> > notice that there is no warranty (or else, saying that you provide
> > a warranty) and that users may redistribute the program under
> > these conditions, and telling the user how to view a copy of this
> > License.  (Exception: if the Program itself is interactive but
> > does not normally print such an announcement, your work based on
> > the Program is not required to print an announcement.)
> This clause is known to be controversial.

This clause is known to be right on the borderline, to the point where
it can possibly be twisted to be non-free. However, in the vast
majority of packages, it is inactivated by the exception.

> However it's some orders of magnitude less demanding than the "do not
> drop the get-the-source-through-HTTP feature" clause, I would say.
> Printing one or two statements to stdout or in a splash screen is really
> really easier than implementing (or keeping) HTTP support and the
> capability to send the program's own source.

And a program which 'reads commands interactively when run' (this
means 'in the style of gdb', more or less) should be functionally
unaffected by displaying this text. It still does exactly the same
thing as before, just with a little extra chatter to the user. Note
that when being invoked entirely on the command line, or from a
script, or anything else like that, the clause makes no restrictions.

We'd probably be better off without this clause, but I can't even
think of a way it could be as bad as the 'pet a cat' license.

  .''`.  ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
 : :' :  http://www.debian.org/ |
 `. `'                          |
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