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Re: Questions about liblouis

Eitan Isaacson dijo [Tue, Feb 26, 2008 at 02:29:05PM -0800]:
> (...)
> 1) Using, copying, merging, publishing, distributing, sublicensing,
> and/or selling copies of this software that are either compiled or
> loaded as part of and/or linked into other code is not bound by the
> GPL.

Ok, so maybe they mean LGPL [1] and not GPL? (By the way, which GPL?
v2 [2]? v3 [3]?)

> 2) Modifying copies of this software as needed in order to facilitate
> compiling and/or linking with other code is not bound by the GPL.

This is, IMHO, completely unclear - This could open a door for
allowing it to be redistributed under any license - of course, under a
broad interpretation. Why? Well, if in order to compile and/or link it
with other code I must do a trivial modification, and then I'm no
longer bound by the GPL, what am I bound to? MIT/X11 [4]? BSD [5]?
This clause looks like a not well thought out loophole.

> 3. The translation tables that are read at run-time are considered
> part of this code and are under the terms of the GPL. Any changes to
> these tables and any additional tables that are created for use by
> this code must be made publicly available."

And the restriction is, of course, incompatible with the terms of the
GPL. This sounds that you are looking for something like an Affero
license [6].

My advice: Choose one well-known license, there are (too?) many to
choose from. Stick to it. Don't come up with extra terms on licenses
which will end up back-firing (the least problem is, as in this case,
to limit your program's distribution - the largest problem would be
for it to act in completely the opposite way than what you want, as I
point out to your point 2).

As a last point: maybe you want to take a look to Lawrence Rosen's
book «Open Source Licensing: Software Freedom and Intellectual
Property Law» [7]. It is completely available online. And it will help
you understand several of my points.

(Links below are obvious for most Debian-heads... But might be
important as reference to the authors of liblouis)

[1] http://www.gnu.org/licenses/lgpl.html

[2] http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/gpl-2.0.html

[3] http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIT_License - Must be modified by
    each project, personalizing it with the year and copyright holder

[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BSD_license#Terms - Also must be
    modified by each project

[6] http://www.gnu.org/licenses/agpl.html

[7] http://www.rosenlaw.com/oslbook.htm

Gunnar Wolf - gwolf@gwolf.org - (+52-55)5623-0154 / 1451-2244
PGP key 1024D/8BB527AF 2001-10-23
Fingerprint: 0C79 D2D1 2C4E 9CE4 5973  F800 D80E F35A 8BB5 27AF

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