Subject: RE: [OT?] GPL v3 FUD, was For Approval: MLL (minimal library license)
From: "Philippe Verdy" <verdy_p@wanadoo.fr>
Date: Sat, 1 Dec 2007 02:50:10 +0100
Sat, 1 Dec 2007 02:50:10 +0100
Requiring copies to be verbatim is against what the GPL protects: allowing
modifications.

 

The only verbatim copy that the GPL requires is for the GPL licence itself,
and keeping the copyright assignments and attributions, somewhere with the
distribution. Everything else should be freely modifiable, including in the
source files themselves (there’s no requirement to keep the copyright
notices embedded directly within the sources, despite it is the easiest way
to convey them along with the sources, and clearly document which source is
linked to a copyright notice). In fact the copyright assignments should
remain even in a binary distribution, somewhere within a readme or licence
file or in an “about” menu item or help command line option (so they should
be part, in this case, of some sources, or the binary program may read an
external text file provided with the distribution that must come along with
the licence file itself).

 

You should also correctly interpret the term “verbatim”. It means that the
textual terms are preserved (including its punctuation, or even its possible
typos), but not necessarily its exact encoding. Under this consideration,
all blanks are considered equal, including line breaks, and the licence can
be provided and viewed or example in HTML form, provided that the software
distribution makes sure that the licence text is readable and copiable
directly from the distribution. So a mere reencoding of the ASCII-only text
of the GPL licence file into EBCDIC is compliant, if this is the best way to
make it readable on an EBCDIC system: it does not affect the text itself,
given that all its characters are preserved by EBCDIC decoders; you could as
well reencode it into UTF-16 or UTF-32 if this is the way to transport it
safely in an environment that requires such encoding.

 

The goal is that the text must remain readable and intact, without creating
new distinctions or confusions (so changing the capitalisation or correcting
some punctuation is not permitted for example, as it changes the semantic of
the text and its possible interpretation). In addition the licence text
could be provided as a PDF, or a bitmap, or a printed document, if there’s
no way to access to the software itself (for example if the GPL is used to
cover code in a embedded device without a file system that is easily
accessible to the user without using some additional software like an EEPROM
or NVRAM flashing program).

 

Or it could be provided with a separate CDROM that is part of the bundle
containing the provided device, and optionally containing the sources and
tools to reprogram it, but that should provide the written offer to anyone
(not just the first recipient of the pack) giving them the right to get the
sources if these sources are not provided directly within the pack, as soon
as they know that the pack is covered by a GPL licence (and even if they
don’t have the pack itself!). For this reason, the licence must not be
hidden and any way that facilitates accessing to its exact text is welcome.

 

         

De : Chris Travers [mailto:chris.travers@gmail.com] 
Envoyé : vendredi 30 novembre 2007 21:45
À : License Discuss
Objet : Re: [OT?] GPL v3 FUD, was For Approval: MLL (minimal library
license)

 

 

On Nov 30, 2007 11:43 AM, Alexander Terekhov <alexander.terekhov@gmail.com>
wrote:



* <db@FreeBSD.ORG> wrote this file. As long as you retain this notice
you
* can do whatever you want with this code, except you may not
* license it under any form of the GPL. 
* A postcard or QSL card showing me you appreciate
* this code would be nice. Diane Bruce va3db


It seems like an open question whether, if you incorporate a file verbatim
under this license into a GPL'd work whether that is a violation of the
license.   IANAL, though. 

It depends on what is meant by "this code," I suppose.  An email to the
author for clarification would be a good idea.  My narrow reading of it
suggests that there is no compatibility problem (i.e. "this code" means
"this code Diane provided" and does not extend to modifications made to it)
but it would be good to check.  Since it is not safe to assume one can just
change the license on permissively licensed code itself , this would not
seem to me to be *any* different than using ISC-licensed code. 

However, when in doubt, it is a good idea to ask.

Best Wishes,
Chris Travers

 



Requiring copies to be verbatim is against what the GPL protects: allowing modifications.

 

The only verbatim copy that the GPL requires is for the GPL licence itself, and keeping the copyright assignments and attributions, somewhere with the distribution. Everything else should be freely modifiable, including in the source files themselves (there’s no requirement to keep the copyright notices embedded directly within the sources, despite it is the easiest way to convey them along with the sources, and clearly document which source is linked to a copyright notice). In fact the copyright assignments should remain even in a binary distribution, somewhere within a readme or licence file or in an “about” menu item or help command line option (so they should be part, in this case, of some sources, or the binary program may read an external text file provided with the distribution that must come along with the licence file itself).

 

You should also correctly interpret the term “verbatim”. It means that the textual terms are preserved (including its punctuation, or even its possible typos), but not necessarily its exact encoding. Under this consideration, all blanks are considered equal, including line breaks, and the licence can be provided and viewed or example in HTML form, provided that the software distribution makes sure that the licence text is readable and copiable directly from the distribution. So a mere reencoding of the ASCII-only text of the GPL licence file into EBCDIC is compliant, if this is the best way to make it readable on an EBCDIC system: it does not affect the text itself, given that all its characters are preserved by EBCDIC decoders; you could as well reencode it into UTF-16 or UTF-32 if this is the way to transport it safely in an environment that requires such encoding.

 

The goal is that the text must remain readable and intact, without creating new distinctions or confusions (so changing the capitalisation or correcting some punctuation is not permitted for example, as it changes the semantic of the text and its possible interpretation). In addition the licence text could be provided as a PDF, or a bitmap, or a printed document, if there’s no way to access to the software itself (for example if the GPL is used to cover code in a embedded device without a file system that is easily accessible to the user without using some additional software like an EEPROM or NVRAM flashing program).

 

Or it could be provided with a separate CDROM that is part of the bundle containing the provided device, and optionally containing the sources and tools to reprogram it, but that should provide the written offer to anyone (not just the first recipient of the pack) giving them the right to get the sources if these sources are not provided directly within the pack, as soon as they know that the pack is covered by a GPL licence (and even if they don’t have the pack itself!). For this reason, the licence must not be hidden and any way that facilitates accessing to its exact text is welcome.

 


De : Chris Travers [mailto:chris.travers@gmail.com]
Envoyé : vendredi 30 novembre 2007 21:45
À : License Discuss
Objet : Re: [OT?] GPL v3 FUD, was For Approval: MLL (minimal library license)

 

 

On Nov 30, 2007 11:43 AM, Alexander Terekhov <alexander.terekhov@gmail.com> wrote:



* <db@FreeBSD.ORG> wrote this file. As long as you retain this notice
you
* can do whatever you want with this code, except you may not
* license it under any form of the GPL.
* A postcard or QSL card showing me you appreciate
* this code would be nice. Diane Bruce va3db


It seems like an open question whether, if you incorporate a file verbatim under this license into a GPL'd work whether that is a violation of the license.   IANAL, though.

It depends on what is meant by "this code," I suppose.  An email to the author for clarification would be a good idea.  My narrow reading of it suggests that there is no compatibility problem (i.e. "this code" means "this code Diane provided" and does not extend to modifications made to it) but it would be good to check.  Since it is not safe to assume one can just change the license on permissively licensed code itself , this would not seem to me to be *any* different than using ISC-licensed code.

However, when in doubt, it is a good idea to ask.

Best Wishes,
Chris Travers