[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: OK to distribute autoconf.texi under the GPL too?

From: Bruce Korb
Subject: Re: OK to distribute autoconf.texi under the GPL too?
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2004 10:00:10 -0800
User-agent: KMail/1.6.2

On Monday 20 December 2004 01:48 am, Paul Eggert wrote:
> Akim Demaille <address@hidden> writes:
> > Underpinning this is the idea that long examples should be GPL'd, as
> > opposed as "are de facto" as of today.  Why should they?
> Well, let's be concrete about this and take one example from
> autoconf.texi:
>    $(srcdir)/configure: aclocal.m4
>            cd $(srcdir) && autoconf
>    # autoheader might not change, so touch a stamp file.
>    $(srcdir)/
>    $(srcdir)/ aclocal.m4
>            cd $(srcdir) && autoheader
>            echo timestamp > $(srcdir)/
>    config.h: stamp-h
>    stamp-h: config.status
>            ./config.status
>    Makefile: config.status
>            ./config.status
>    config.status: configure
>            ./config.status --recheck
> This is long enough to be copyrightable.

"Piffle".  It is a trivial example.  It is largely what one would expect to
see from someone who has carefully read the manual.  Consequently,
it would be undetectable whether similar code was written by hand
or cut 'n pasted.  In other words, it is not possible to enforce a copyright
on this.  So, rather than spend a lot of time trying to figure out how
to squelch freeloaders from copying this text into their code, just forget it.
Put it in the public domain and let anybody use it any way they like.

> Currently this text is 
> redistributable only under the terms of the GNU FDL, which doesn't
> allow you to cut-n-paste it into your program.  I'm trying to say that
> it's OK to cut-n-paste this into GPLed software.

Yes.  It should be okay to cut 'n paste into GPLed software.  And any
other software, too.  This-all just isn't worth quibbling over.

> I don't think anybody would dispute this.  I'm not so sure that there
> would be wide consensus that it's OK to copy examples like this into
> non-free software.  I suspect that some GNU developers would disagree
> with that.

Then they are fighting the tide.  To no purpose.  People will copy this
stuff into their code and there is no way to stop them.  There would be
no way to assert a copyright claim.  The defense "This was an example
in the software doc" is a pretty good defense.  So, given that you cannot
enforce a copyright claim, given that even the cited example is trivial,
and given that people will copy examples anyway (it _is_ their intended
purpose), then just say up front, "its public domain".

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]