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Re: A possible weakened rephrase of clause 5d [was: Re: GPL v3 Draft 3- text and comments]

On Thu, 12 Apr 2007 15:15:38 +0200 Lasse Reichstein Nielsen wrote:

> On Thu, 12 Apr 2007 00:46:06 +0200, Francesco Poli
> <frx@firenze.linux.it>   wrote:
> > OK, this is my attempt to rephrase clause 5d in a form that is weak
> > enough to be less harmful than clause 2c of GPLv2:
> >  ~~~~~~~~~~~~ begin proposed text ~~~~~~~~~~~~
> >    d) If the Program has interactive user interfaces which display
> >    legal notices, this feature must be preserved in each
> >    interactive interface that is also present in the work.  In
> >    this subsection, an interactive interface is said to "display
> >    legal notices" if it includes a convenient feature that
> >    displays an appropriate copyright notice, and tells the user
> >    that there is no warranty for the work (unless you provide a
> >    warranty), that licensees may convey the work under this
> >    License, and how to view a copy of this License.
> >  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ end proposed text ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> What does "each interactive interface" mean? I.e., what delimiters an 
> interface?

The term is not defined in a precise manner, but I think that it's clear

> Does a program with more than one window have more than one interface?

Not in my understanding.
AFAICS, a program with two interfaces could be something that may be
started in such a way to offer a GUI, but also in a different way to
offer an interactive textual command interpreter, for instance...

> What if it is a web application with several clients? That each open  
> different
> windows? (This is not specified in the GPLv3 draft either, but I don't
> think
> it is at all obvious.)

As long as the web application presents the same kind of window to each
client, it has only one interface, AFAICT.

> Anyway, consider this case:
>   Program A has a graphical user interface with an "about" feature
>   showing legal
>   notices. It also has some very clever algorithms in its belly.
>   Program B wants to use the algorithms, but cares not for the
>   interface of program A.

Minor nitpick: program B wants to reuse the algorithm *implementations*
(algorithms are not copyrightable, only their implementations are).
But anyway, let's go on...

>   Program B has an interactive textual user interface.
>   (Can the *feature* be preserved when going from graphical to
>   textual?)

Maybe, but my proposed clause is *not* intended to mandate this, as no
interactive interface of program A is kept in program B.

Maybe it's clearer if the clause says:

  "this feature must be preserved in each interactive interface that is
   present both in the Program and in the work"

>   Program B extracts the algorithms and uses them, but dumps the
>   interface. Should Program B preserve the legal notices? Obviously
>   yes.

As stated above, my proposed clause is *not* intended to mandate the
preservation of the feature that displays legal notices, when the
affected interactive interfaces are dropped.
Of course program B must have appropriate copyright notices and stuff
required by the rest of the GNU GPL.  But, with my proposed clause,
program B would not be compelled to implement a feature to display legal
notices in the interactive interfaces that are not "taken" from program

>   Now the people at Program B Software first extract the clever
>   algorithms and distributes them, alone, under the original license,
>   as allowed by  
> the GPL.
>   Then they use *this* distribution in program B. The program they use
>   has  
> no interactive
>   user interface at all, and no feature displaying legal notices, so  
> program B isn't
>   required to have it either.

That is the same exact result that we would get in your previous example
(assuming that my proposed clause works as intended...).

> This problem is inherent to linking a requirement relating to an
> entire   program
> to only parts of that program (here: the user interface). Anybody can 
> remove those
> parts and distribute the rest, thereby removing the requirement.
> Your version does alleviate this problem. Clause 5d of GPLv3draft3, as
> you   quoted it,
> does. It requires that legal notices be inserted if deriving form a
> program with no user interface (but not from one with a user interface
> but without legal notices). It's not necessarily the same notices as
> the original   program, though,
> just the default GPL notices.

Wait, let me understand: are you criticizing my proposed clause because
you feel that it's not restrictive enough?
If this is the case, please note that it's *intended* to be *more*
permissive than clause 5d of GPLv3draft3!  After all, I said that my
proposed clause is a *weakened rephrase* of clause 5d!
Indeed, I hope that my proposed clause is more permissive than clause 2c
of GPLv2...

 Need to read a Debian etch installation walk-through?
..................................................... Francesco Poli .
 GnuPG key fpr == C979 F34B 27CE 5CD8 DC12  31B5 78F4 279B DD6D FCF4

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