on Sun, Jan 20, 2002 at 10:55:55PM -0500, Michael Bauer ([EMAIL PROTECTED]) wrote:
> On Sun, 20 Jan 2002, Karsten M. Self wrote:
> > on Sun, Jan 20, 2002 at 12:07:53PM -0800, Lawrence E. Rosen ([EMAIL PROTECTED]) 
> > 
> > > The FSF website (http://www.fsf.org/philosophy/bsd.html), specifically
> > > discussing the "obnoxious" BSD advertising clause, argues that
> > > advertising clauses in licenses potentially lead to long lists of
> > > acknowledgements in derivative works.  RMS wrote that in 1997 he
> > > counted 75 such sentences that needed to be included in one version of
> > > NetBSD.  
> > > 
> > > I am unmoved by this perceived threat to free or open source software.

> > These comments are meant to amplify Bruce's comments.
> > 
> > It depends on where this text must be kept, relative to the software.


> > Free software must be careful about thousand-cuts practices.  There
> > are requests which seem reasonable in the single instance which
> > become a prohibitive burden in aggregate.  Close-binding obligations
> > (e.g.:  the obligation follows directly with the software, and can't
> > be satisfied on secondary media or means) not directly related to
> > software performance runs this risk.  Multiplied out 8,776 times
> > (the number of packages listed in my Debian packages list today),
> > they become a nightmare -- that's 8,776 cuts.

> A simple solution seems to be simply requiring a URL for the
> appropriate credit.  The list of credits could be automatically
> compiled using an appropriate convention and be as long as necessary.
> It would certainly save space.  I suppose there is some technical
> legal reason why this won't work, right?

Actually, this is a relatively poor suggestion for reasons similar to
those I'm pointing at indirectly in my post:  it specifically mandates a
practice which may seem reasonable in a current context, but would be
burdensome in a possible future one.

Good requirements IMO should:

  - Not be specific to specific technologies or presentation.  E.g.: the
    GPL calls for an interactive display message, but only if the
    program ordinarially runs interactively.  Specifics of
    implementation are left to the developer.  Current practice seems to
    be to include the message in a "Help -> About" screen, accessible
    via menu selection.  I'm not sure this satisfies the GPL's
    requirements, though I've been informed by several projects that it
    does.  I'd prefer not getting a splash screen on startup though,
    unless it's after the program main window appears.

  - Tend toward requirements that would very likely be met through
    practices otherwise required of the act of writing, transmitting, or
    executing a program.  Copyright statements in source code are, to
    me, eminantly reasonable.  You've already got source, and likely
    something telling you who wrote it.  Packaging requirements are
    clearly less so -- again, 8,776 lables on a box, buttons on a
    website, or copyright statements on a boot screen, vary from
    impossible to nuiscance (though possible) to possible but rather

A former co-worker once suggested to spec out any task assuming you had
at least 32,768 of anything.  These days, 2^15 is probably too small by
many powers of two, I'd say assume 2^20 - 2^30, and plan appropriately,
larger in many disciplines.

My current /usr/share/doc tree contains...25,122 files, totalling well
almost 10 million lines -- 9,794,373.  Of these, 953 are copyright
files, totalling 139,152 lines.  This being Debian, many of these
copyright files just point to /usr/share/common-licenses, which includes
the canonical copies of the Artistic, BSD, GPL, and LGPL licenses
(representing the bulk of packages).  Granted, I try out a large number
of packages (over 1,000 installed), but this amounts to 5.8 MiB of
licensing-related data.  Trivial on a 100 GiB system.  Significant if
you've only a few MiB to deal with.


Karsten M. Self <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?              Home of the brave
  http://gestalt-system.sourceforge.net/                    Land of the free
We freed Dmitry! Boycott Adobe! Repeal the DMCA! http://www.freesklyarov.org
Geek for Hire                      http://kmself.home.netcom.com/resume.html

Attachment: msg00122/pgp00000.pgp
Description: PGP signature

Reply via email to