Re: GPL + revision log license

From: Arthur Keller <arthur_at_kellers_dot_org>
Date: Mon Aug 18 2003 - 12:21:35 CDT

At 12:33 PM -0400 8/18/03, David Mertz wrote:
>"Douglas W. Jones" <> wrote:
>|Copies of all or any part of this code may be used freely
>|in non-voting applications. Copies of all or part of this
>|code may not be used in voting applications unless the entire
>|revision history relevant to the code in question is retained
>|and additions are made to reflect any and all revisions to
>|that part of the code that is copied.
>I quite agree with Doug's point here. It would be very useful for vote
>administrators (or EVM vendors, etc) to see explicitly the whole history
>of changes made to the software.
>Part of this goal can be accomplished strictly within a GPL framework
>simply by looking at diffs between the code versions (since each version
>must be released along the way). But looking at a diff does not always
>highlight WHY a given change was made.
>Adding a clause like Dr. Jones', unfortunately, would probably not meet
>with approval from the FSF. I think we can get OSI to OK such a
>license, but FSF is more strict. We wouldn't be the first project to
>modify the GPL, but such modifications usually receive a heightened
>scrutiny from the open source community.
>As well, although Doug's proposed language looks good to me, IANAL.
>Maybe I'm missing some subtleties in the legal ramifications. I wonder
>if Arthur has an opinion on the clause, since he has some background in
>IP law (not as a lawyer, but as an expert witness).

It shouldn't be a legal problem. It's an additional restriction
added on top of the GPL license, crafted specifically because of the
sensitivity of this matter. I would suspect that other projects
would in turn adopt our language or language similar to ours.

Please explain to me why we need approval for our license mods from
OSI or FSF, particularly when we are adding restrictions, not
removing them.


Best regards,

Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA  94303-4507
tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424
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Received on Sun Aug 31 23:17:12 2003

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