license question

Tim Peters at
Sun Jan 19 23:37:12 CET 2003

> The scenario is as follows:
> I am distributing code that is itself dependent on a Python 3rd party
> modules.
> The distribution of *that* module silently overwrites the
> index.html file in the Doc directory of the standard Python
> distribution.  So that if one is to do "Help", "Python Documentation..."
> from the standard IDLE, one gets the top-level help file for the third
> party module, rather than the normal Python toplevel help file.  If one
> unistalls that third party module, things stay exactly the same, one
> gets the substituted toplevel help file, forever.
> The overwrite, is without prompt.
> I have contacted the person responsible for that distribution and let
> him know I thought that the practice of his distribution was at the
> minimum, ill-mannered.
> He gave me some justification I could make no sense of.
> Since my code is dependant on this distribution I have a "situation".
> Would the practice of silently overwriting a file that is part of the
> standard Python distribution in any way constitute a violation of
> the Python license.

Not for that alone:  the PSF license explicitly grants permission to make
modifications and distribute derived works.  Every OSI-certified license
does, since freedom to make derived works is part of the Open Source
definition (point 3 at <>).  While
I am not a lawyer, it was intended that it be *hard* to violate the Python
license.  The license does require that derivative works include "a brief
summary of the changes made to Python 2.3".

> And, if so, who might have standing to press the issue.

The PSF holds copyright.

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