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Re: The copyright of a keyboard mapping and its implementation

On Mon, Mar 16, 2009 at 05:47:55PM +0100, Josselin Mouette wrote:

> there are two available layouts for French Dvorak keyboards. One of
> them, which is the cause of my concern, was written by Francis Leboutte,
> and was originally distributed as a (non-free) Windows driver.

> I started then to make another implementation of the same mapping, for
> X11. It soon turned out that the mapping forces to use dead keys, which
> sucks, so I used a variant that removes this need. Several people asked
> me of a French Dvorak layout, so I started to distribute it under the
> X11 license, and it finally ended up in the official X.org tarballs.

> Later, Francis Leboutte started to license the *layout* (not only the
> Windows driver) under a clearly non-free license (CC-NC-ND), and asked
> X.org to remove the driver, arguing that the X11-licensed version is
> illegal, being a derivative work of his layout. The X.org guys finally
> agreed to distribute the original variant instead, with the following
> licensing header:
> // Licence  : X11 (the layout itself is released under CC-NC-ND licence)

What in a keyboard layout is claimed to be original expression?

Unless there are copyrightable comments, which can be stripped out, I don't
think there's anything here that we should recognize as covered by copyright
at all.  Keep the keyboard mapping we currently have in X if it's useful
(correcting the claim that there are restrictions on modification), or
replace it with one that works better for the users.

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer                                    http://www.debian.org/
slangasek@ubuntu.com                                     vorlon@debian.org

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