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11-22-17 05:51:01 AM

Jul - Computers - GPL vs. permissive licenses WRT games New poll - New thread - New reply
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usr_share
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Posted on 01-11-14 02:22:45 AM Link | Quote
Originally posted by Drag

Ok, so if the project is under GPL, and you give a private build to someone for testing purposes, but the project is not currently public, you don't need to give the source code on demand of the recipiants of the private build? Does this mean that people can only demand the source code for public releases of the GPL'd project, and not just arbitrary builds, such as the current private one?

If so, this sounds like something that all GPL users should be made aware of. The fact that this important bit of information is buried in a GIANT FAQ (with lots of conflicting information on this subject) seems unfair.


I think this strictly means organizational use. After all, when you work in an organization, you don't own the computers there.
Drag
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Posted on 01-13-14 03:05:58 PM Link | Quote
Originally posted by usr_share
I think this strictly means organizational use. After all, when you work in an organization, you don't own the computers there.

So, to be absolutely safe from GPL violations, to allow someone to test the program without needing to give them the source, you let them borrow a computer of yours that has the program on it?

I dunno, you could still argue that the "organization" is the development team, of which the testers are part of. That's probably where contracts would get involved. I don't know why, but I really do think that private testing would be permitted under the GPL somehow.

Jeeze, at this point, you could probably get away with it because the ambiguity of what's permitted would spark a GPL-community debate that would outlast the development cycle of your project.
devin

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Posted on 01-13-14 03:15:58 PM Link | Quote
Clearly the just solution here is to begin violating the GPL on purpose as an act of civil disobedience.
Drag
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Posted on 01-13-14 09:21:24 PM Link | Quote
But Devin, the FSF isn't going to like that.
Kak

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Posted on 01-14-14 08:08:07 AM Link | Quote
Originally posted by Drag
But Devin, the FSF isn't going to like that.
But that's the only way to fight the (evil) power.
Drag
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Posted on 01-14-14 03:58:13 PM Link | Quote
Let's free ourselves from freedom for the sake of our freedom to be free of the freedom to be free*!

*free as in tennis
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Posted on 01-14-14 04:38:01 PM Link | Quote
Originally posted by Drag
Let's free ourselves from freedom for the sake of our freedom to be free of the freedom to be free*!

*free as in tennis
Free as in tennis or it's time to get sued!

And it happened some time actually.
Drag
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Posted on 01-21-14 04:32:56 PM (last edited by Drag at 01-21-14 04:33:44 PM) Link | Quote
The author of Paku Paku has an interesting take on licensing:

Source Code (C) Jason M Knight and released to the public domain. If you are going to give something away, lands sake just GIVE IT AWAY!!!. Don't give me none of that dirty hippy "open source" nonsense! Here's a tip: If someone starts running their mouth about "Freedom" and then weigh it down with a 35k licensing agreement placing restrictions on what you can and cannot do with it by way of loopholes in contract law and legalese nobody but a career lawyer can decipher...

Well, does the term "snake oil" ring a bell?

Feel free to do what you like with the code so long as you remain within the scope and practices of International Copyright law by giving credit to the original author - Jason M. Knight.

Paku Paku was initially released 4 Feb 2011, so it's fairly recent. If this game was developed in 2001 or even 1991, I wonder if he'd have a different stance.

For the record, Paku Paku is a game that makes use of a hack mode of CGA that gives you 16-color bitmapped graphics (as opposed to the usual 4-color graphics), but a resolution of 160x100 (instead of 320x200). This isn't some random bit of code nobody would care about; assuming the game has good performance on older machines, someone might be interested in the library this game uses, to write something that takes advantage of the same display mode.
IIMarckus
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Posted on 01-28-14 10:52:52 PM Link | Quote

Essay time!

Wordiness in licensing is a real problem. Here are the word counts of several common licenses:
wordcountlicense
60 wtfpl
118 isc
140 zlib
167 mit
190 unlicense
207 bsd
1055 cc0
1234 lgpl3
2487 gpl2
2699 cc-by
3111 cc-by-sa
4025 lgpl2.1
5174 agpl3
5209 gpl3

Personally, I use the ISC. It is short, permissive, and understandable: just a grant of permissions (first paragraph) and denial of warranty (second paragraph). MIT, zlib, et cetera are fine too—they’re in the same vein, just a bit wordier.

Copyright © 2014 John Doe <jdoe@example.com>

Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this software for any purpose with or without fee is hereby granted, provided that the above copyright notice and this permission notice appear in all copies.

The software is provided “as is” and the author disclaims all warranties with regard to this software including all implied warranties of merchantability and fitness. In no event shall the author be liable for any special, direct, indirect, or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of this software.

Compare this to the pages and pages of license and accompanying FAQ associated with the multiple versions of the GPL. Creative Commons has the same problem—at least they have human‐readable summaries, but the underlying legalese is long and complex.


The other problem with GPL‐alikes is that they’re incompatible with so many other free licenses. The GPL isn’t just incompatible with permissive licenses like ISC/BSD/MIT; it’s not just incompatible with other copyleft licenses like CDDL and Mozilla; it’s even incompatible with itself—version 2 and version 3 are not compatible!

This isn’t just a theoretical problem either:

  • Samba and the Linux kernel both implement Windows filesharing, but can’t share any code because they use incompatible GPL versions.
  • LibreCAD can’t use LibreDWG (a library for AutoCAD file formats) because they use incompatible versions of the GPL; last I heard, LibreCAD was having to reimplement their own DWG functionality from scratch.

All this with supposedly “free” code. This is the biggest reason I always release my projects under permissive, non‐GPL licenses.


In response to this whole “licensing is too complicated” thing, a lot of people are just putting their stuff online with no copyright attached, with the implicit suggestion that people do whatever they want with it. Or they put a cute little statement like “This isn’t worth copyrighting, so I’m making this available for anyone to use for free.” I understand the desire, but please don’t do this! In most countries today (including USA and the EU), everything is copyrighted by default. Just releasing the source isn’t enough, because even if you do that, legally nobody has the right to modify the code, and nobody has the right to share changes, until the copyright holder explicitly grants that right. Yes, it sucks to have to do that—but it’s the world we live in today. At least put in something like WTFPL or ISC. People who don’t care about copyright will use your code anyway, but this way people who want or need to be careful about legality will be able to use it too.

tl;dr: Don’t just put the source online. Use WTFPL or ISC.

Drag
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Posted on 04-10-14 03:14:17 PM (last edited by Drag at 04-10-14 03:14:36 PM) Link | Quote
This is only tangentally related, but I read these two articles:

You don't own your Kindle books, Amazon reminds customer
Digital Death of Copyright's First Sale Doctrine (Linked to from the first article)

The First Sale Doctrine is what allows used books and used games to be traded and sold, because it means the copyright holder's right of distribution terminates with the first sale.

However, the First Sale Doctrine doesn't apply to software if you have to agree to an EULA that states you're only being given a license to use the software and you're not allowed to redistribute it. Consequently, this is why app stores, the xbone, psn, etc are allowed to revoke your access to stuff you "bought" on the service, and why they're allowed to restrict your ability to lend your copies out to others.

Suppose the court case ended with the opposite conclusion, and the First Sale Doctrine does apply to software, regardless of an EULA. Since it says the copyright holder's right of distribution terminates with the first sale, wouldn't that mean that copylefts and share-alikes wouldn't work? Furthermore, wouldn't it mean that any software license, for binaries and sources alike, is nullified by purchasing the work?
usr_share
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Posted on 05-01-14 01:00:30 PM Link | Quote
Originally posted by Drag
Suppose the court case ended with the opposite conclusion, and the First Sale Doctrine does apply to software, regardless of an EULA. Since it says the copyright holder's right of distribution terminates with the first sale, wouldn't that mean that copylefts and share-alikes wouldn't work? Furthermore, wouldn't it mean that any software license, for binaries and sources alike, is nullified by purchasing the work?

Most likely not. The idea of the FSD applies to reselling the item you bought, not making copies of it. What it would mean is that, if you bought, say, a program with its source code, you would have the right to give it to someone else, if you destroy your copy.

I don't think it would invalidate restrictions on modification / disassembly, either.
Drag
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Posted on 05-14-14 05:36:55 PM (last edited by Drag at 05-20-14 06:28:04 PM) Link | Quote
I was wondering about the effectiveness of taking a license and adding a clause which states that the openness of the software cannot be forced by an external license.

So for example, inside the license would be "no external license may impose disclosure or non-disclosure of source code covered under this license". This would mean that the code cannot be forced open-source by the GPL, and cannot be forced closed-source by some company's internal proprietary license. Therefore, it's always the developer's choice as to whether or not to disclose the code covered under this term.

Good? Bad?
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Jul - Computers - GPL vs. permissive licenses WRT games New poll - New thread - New reply




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