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Re: GPL v3 Draft

On Mon, Jan 16, 2006 at 09:07:40PM +0100, Florian Weimer wrote:
> > Failing that, at least make it clear that you don't have to identify
> > yourself here, or that an alias is acceptable.
> Hmm, I'm not sure if this is the right direction: I'm strongly in
> favor of a clear copyright status of a work, and a way to identify all
> copyright owners seems to be a necessary condition.

This clause requires marking that you've changed stuff, and when, but it
does not prohibit others from later removing that information.  Indeed,
I've pulled in code in the past with huge dated changelogs right in the
code.  With little hesitation I deleted the whole block, leaving only
attribution.  Changelogs don't belong in code, they belong in changelogs
or in CVS commits.  (This particular project uses mostly CVS commits,
and I had no interest in changes made to the code before I started using
it, so I deleted the information wholesale.)

Since it allows that, it doesn't seem like it's much help in identifying
copyright status.  For that, you want copyright notices (which isn't
what this requires), and of course you can't remove those.

I'm in favor, in principle, of being allowed to make anonymous changes.
I may be persuaded to qualify that to "that are placed in the public
domain", to avoid the problem of copyright ownership.  (If I was releasing
code anonymously, where I don't even want my name associated with it,
I certainly don't care about placing restrictions on it; I'd have to
reveal myself to enforce them anyway.)

> > I may want to use a special-purpose download server for object files,
> > for automatic downloading and installation of binaries; that server
> > may have carefully limited facilities, as fewer unused features in a
> > server means less to break, which means less downtime.  In that case,
> > I'm likely to want to put the source on a more traditional http server.
> > This clause seems to unintentionally prohibit this class of
> > distribution.
> I think it's intentional and necessary to keep things simple.  There's
> no other straightforward way to require equal access to object and
> source code.

When "keeping things simple" prohibits legitimate uses, uses which are
not fundamentally at odds with the GPL, you have an oversimplification.
I don't think "collateral damage" of this kind should be accepted lightly.

Glenn Maynard

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