license

Cliff Wells LogiplexSoftware at earthlink.net
Tue Jan 21 02:05:08 CET 2003


On Mon, 2003-01-20 at 15:57, Arthur wrote:
> >I'd agree with you that such a modification is annoying and rude.  I
> >think Terry is taking the side of "you're using someone's code for free,
> >and then complaining about it" which also has some validity.
> 
> As is the code I provide.
> 
> But a little twist here is that the distributor is not the developer. He
> sought of  "controls"  it.  He did not write it. In fairness, he does
> support a user group - and is responsive to that user group.  It his not his
> code, though.
> 
> I actually wrote my code.  Not only is free and opensource. But it was done
> on my own time, time stolen from my family and my *real* work.
> 
> I'm the good guy, here.  Of course.

I would never suggest otherwise =)

> People seem to be watching a different movie than me, much of the time.

I just watched "Lilo and Stitch".  Cute, but I wonder where Disney stole
the idea from.  What were you watching?

> > I'm not sure what the package in question is, but I have to ask: does it
> make
> >sense for it to do this?  If the package were, for instance, a modified
> >version of Python itself, or if it modified the behavior of Python in a
> >fundamental way, then perhaps replacing the top-level documentation
> >might make sense.
> 
> Ipso facto, it cannot make sense to overwrite a file that is part of the
> standard Python distribution, unless one works real heard first to tell me
> that is what is going to happen when I push the install button.  The "ipso
> facto" part is to scare you into thinking I might be a lawyer.

Whew, you had me going for a second... Anyway, to clarify, I was
thinking along the lines of Stackless (at least as it used to be) in the
sense that, by installing it, you no longer had a standard Python
install, so after replacing your Python interpreter, messing a bit with
the documentation seemed like a given.

> Anything is sensible, with notice attached, in a separate distribution - as
> the damn license implies.
> 
> I am thoroughly confused.  The Python license says that if you are modifying
> it, you notify users of the modifications.  In essensce, that is the only
> restriction.  Under your hypopthetical, in my mind, there is either
> notification, or there is a license breach.  It seems to disturb people that
> I am suggesting that it is possible to breach the Python license, and
> possible to believe that the license is quite serious about what it says.

Well, I suspect that the Python license is referring to distributing
Python itself, that is, if I provide you with a modified Python distro,
then I would be required to notify you of those modifications.  I don't
think it covers what other programs do to that distro *after* you've
installed it.  For instance, installing a module that did "rm -f
/usr/lib/python" might be grounds for homicide, but would not be a
license violation.

> The case I bring up, if it is a breach at all is a relatively minor one- and
> I am not claiming to be the lawyer to say it is, and a lawyer - or someone
> more informed than I, can tell me it clearly isn't. But its ugly. Nobody can
> convince me otherwise.  And I was simply wondering out loud whether it
> might, in addition, be a technical breach.

It certainly is ugly, and I agree with Bengt's assessment earlier.  The
person responsible should perhaps be drawn and quartered (would that put
his project in the public domain?), but I still doubt if it's a license
violation, any more than a Windows virus replacing command.com violates
M$'s EULA (unless the virus was written using gcc, in which case it
would most likely violate something in their recent EULA's about using
GPL'd software).

> More importantly, God knows I didn't write Python and I am certainly not the
> one to decide whether a breach that in fact does exist will be pursued in
> any way.

It isn't just God who knows.  I suspect others know as well.

> This guy got a damn grant, and I am asking nothing from him other than to be
> sensible and sensitive to other peoples needs surrounding the code he didn't
> write.  I am not asking to comply to *my* standards.  I am asking him to
> comply to *community* standards.

This is the catch-22 of these sorts of situations.  You want to use
something, but disagree with the methods of the owners of that thing. 
Really, the only answer is to not use that thing or create your own
equivalent.  This holds true for other things besides software.  It's a
lose-lose situation but if a compromise can't be reached, there's really
no other recourse.

BTW, you still haven't mentioned the package.  Tell me THE PACKAGE!!! ;)


-- 
Cliff Wells, Software Engineer
Logiplex Corporation (www.logiplex.net)
(503) 978-6726 x308  (800) 735-0555 x308






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