473,595 Members | 2,473 Online
Bytes | Software Development & Data Engineering Community
+ Post

Home Posts Topics Members FAQ

wxPython Licence vs GPL

we have some Python code we're planning to GPL. However, bits of it were
cut&pasted from some wxPython-licenced code to use as a starting point
for implementation. It is possible that some fragments of this code
remains unchanged at the end.

How should we refer to this in terms of copyright statements and bundled
Licence files? Is there, say, a standard wording to be appended to the
GPL header in each source file? Does the original author need to be
named as one of the copyright holders, or that ours is a derivative work
from his? Which of these would be required under the terms of the
Licence, and which by standard practice / courtesy?

(This assumes the wxPython Licence is compatible with the GPL -- if not,
do we just cosmetically change any remaining lines, so none remain from
the orignal?)

Thanks

John
Nov 22 '05
84 6492
Paul Boddie <pa**@boddie.or g.uk> wrote:
That would be "free as in freeloading", right? (And no, I'm not
intending to start a licensing flame war with that remark, but I think
it's inappropriate to ignore central licensing concepts such as
end-user freedoms, and then to make sweeping statements about how
"free" the GPL is or isn't. If people want to use the GPL as a
convenient punchbag, I think they have to work a bit harder justifying
their gym subscription.)


Blame the GPL and FSF for the confusion.

Try this little experiment: Walk up, at random, to 100 people on the
street. Show them a software CD-ROM -- a game, a word processor,
whatever. Tell them it's free. Then ask them what they think that
means.

99 times out of 100, they'll think it means it's free-as-in-beer.
They *won't* think it means they'll get the source code, and the right
to tweak that source code. They *won't* think it means they have the
right to infinitely redistribute it.

At best, the GPL/FSF engaged in what I consider false advertising.
Free Software (note the capital 'F' and 'S') *isn't*, by the most
widely understood and assumed definition of "free". They should have
called it "liberated software" or "share and share alike software" or
"free as in herpes" software. Free Software is certainly not free
software, since it comes heavily encumbered by licensing issues.

The success of things like Python -- which is not GPL licensed, afaik
-- pretty much proves the GPL is unnecessary for the success of free
projects. The GPL is just some bizarre social agenda being pushed by
some crazies, and a lot of programmers (who are not lawyers) fell for
the hippie nonsense.

So, you may like to bandy around the mildly offensive "free as in
freeloading", but then that gives me the right to refer to GPL'd
software as "free as in pushing my personal social agenda".
Nov 23 '05 #11
Steven D'Aprano wrote:
On Tue, 22 Nov 2005 12:57:12 -0800, Scott David Daniels wrote:
I would, at the very least, acknowledge the wxPython origin of the code
whether any remains or not (credit is appreciated and cheap to give).


... In this world where ideas are thought to be property (if only I could
own the idea that ideas can be owned) the safest position is to claim
you've never read a book, seen a line of code, been to the movies or heard
a song in your life.

(Only half joking.)


OK, we are working in a language released for free use around the world.
wxPython is publicly available for free. Guess whether someone will sue
you for using such things. Failure to give credit, _especially_ given
you were charged nothing for the original is _at_the_very_le ast_ rude,
and I would go for immoral and don't care to speculate about the
legality. Using another's work without giving credit is plagiarism,
you are representing that you came up with the whole. The point of
open source is not to be able to represent as your work a larger work
than you can really accomplish. The point is to collectively produce
what we cannot produce singly. Give others their due, and perhaps (at
least some of the time) they will do the same for you.

I would rather know from the creator of a work the extent to which he
feels he owns the original and derived works, and simply avoid using
the others.

--Scott David Daniels
sc***********@a cm.org
Nov 23 '05 #12
John Perks and Sarah Mount wrote:
we have some Python code we're planning to GPL. However, bits of it were
cut&pasted from some wxPython-licenced code to use as a starting point
for implementation. It is possible that some fragments of this code
remains unchanged at the end.
Whether or not some fragments of code remain unchanged at the end of
your project, if you start out with a piece of source code lifted from
wxPython then what you have created is definitely a "derivative work"
and, as such, you must take into account the wxPython license in your
licensing of the derivative work.
How should we refer to this in terms of copyright statements and bundled
Licence files? Is there, say, a standard wording to be appended to the
GPL header in each source file? Does the original author need to be
named as one of the copyright holders, or that ours is a derivative work
from his? Which of these would be required under the terms of the
Licence, and which by standard practice / courtesy?
You'll have to read the wxPython license in order to find out the answer
to that question.
(This assumes the wxPython Licence is compatible with the GPL -- if not,
do we just cosmetically change any remaining lines, so none remain from
the orignal?)

That won't stop your code from being a derivative work. You'll need to
take licensing and copyright issues a little more seriously before you
release anything.

regards
Steve
--
Steve Holden +44 150 684 7255 +1 800 494 3119
Holden Web LLC www.holdenweb.com
PyCon TX 2006 www.python.org/pycon/

Nov 23 '05 #13
Ed Jensen wrote:
Try this little experiment: Walk up, at random, to 100 people on the
street. Show them a software CD-ROM -- a game, a word processor,
whatever. Tell them it's free. Then ask them what they think that
means.
It's interesting that you bring this tired thought experiment up in the
context of the original remark: "Its license is far more "free" than
GPL is." If we were focusing on the "vox pop" interpretation of the
word "free", that remark wouldn't make any sense at all: after all,
what's more gratis than gratis (to use a less ambiguous word)?

[...]
The success of things like Python -- which is not GPL licensed, afaik
-- pretty much proves the GPL is unnecessary for the success of free
projects.
Python is moderately successful, yes, but the GPL is a useful tool to
ensure that certain freedoms are preserved. I've been made aware of a
certain level of dissatisfaction about whether organisations porting
Python to other platforms would choose to share their modifications and
improvements with anyone, or whether binary downloads with restrictive
usage conditions would be the best even the customers of such
organisations would be able to enjoy. Ensuring some of those freedoms
can be an effective way of making open source software projects
successful.
The GPL is just some bizarre social agenda being pushed by some crazies, and a lot
of programmers (who are not lawyers) fell for the hippie nonsense.
At least when it comes to software licensing, what probably upsets the
anti-GPL "pragmatic licensing" crowd the most is that Stallman is quite
often right; the BitKeeper debacle possibly being one of the more
high-profile cases of some group's "pragmatism " (or more accurately,
apathy) serving up a big shock long after they'd presumably dismissed
"the hippie nonsense".
So, you may like to bandy around the mildly offensive "free as in freeloading",
Well, from what I've seen of open source software usage in business, a
key motivation is to freeload, clearly driven by people who neither see
nor understand any other dimension of software freedom than your "vox
pop" definition. Such users of open source software could make their
work a lot easier if they contributed back to the projects from which
they obtained the software, but I've seen little understanding of such
matters. Of course, businesses prefer to use euphemisms like "cost
reduction" or "price efficiency" rather than the more accurate
"freeloadin g" term, and they fail to see any long-term benefits in
anything other than zero cost, zero sharing acquisition and
redistribution of code. But then in some sectors, the game is all about
selling the same solution over and over again to the same customers, so
it's almost understandable that old habits remain.
but then that gives me the right to refer to GPL'd software as "free as in pushing my
personal social agenda".


Pushing on whom, though? No-one makes you use GPL'd software by, for
example, installing it on almost every computer you can buy from major
vendors. If, on the other hand, you mean that some social agenda is
being imposed on you because, in choosing to redistribute someone's
work, you are obliged to pass on those freedoms granted to you by the
creator (or distributor) of that work, then complaining about it seems
little more than a foot-stamping exercise than anything else.

Paul

Nov 23 '05 #14
On Wed, 23 Nov 2005 16:33:24 +0000
Steve Holden <st***@holdenwe b.com> wrote:
Whether or not some fragments of code remain unchanged at
the end of your project, if you start out with a piece of
source code lifted from wxPython then what you have
created is definitely a "derivative work" and, as such,
you must take into account the wxPython license in your
licensing of the derivative work.


This is certainly a very pervasive claim, but I really don't
think it's true. Copyright law (at least in the US), says
nothing about how a work was created -- only what the end
product is. Copyright, after all, protects "expression s",
not "ideas".

What it means to "derive" a work from another is also
extraordinarily vague in fact -- I gather there has been
some definition through precedent, and I suspect it is the
use of provenance as *evidence* of derivation that promotes
this myth. But the mere fact that you started with someone
else's work does not make it derivative.

Consider for example that there are fine art collages made
by cutting out magazine photos and assembling them -- in
most cases, the work is regarded as a new work.
Furthermore, it is generally true that a work may quote
another work. But the interpretation is very vague and
highly inconsistent from medium to medium.

For example, it used to be that the same argument protected
sampled music and TV (and it is still common to find works
created under that assumption), but I believe that more
recent cases have attacked this and won.

Scholarly works quote copyrighted sources routinely, and in
general, free speech must surely require this ability. In
the Sony DRM case, though, would this make quoting a GPL'd
piece of code in order to recognize it as a signature legal?
(I know that allegations have been made that they do more
than that, making the issue academic, but it's still an
interesting question).

The vagueness has been overly exploited and has effectively
allowed copyright owners to claim that "derivative " means
whatever they want it to mean -- and on that basis, maybe
the myth is true as a practical matter. But that isn't what
the law says. What the law actually says is that it has to
be "twenty percent different" -- but this is "in whole or in
part" so the implication is that it somehow has to be 20%
different *throughout the work*.

As regards software, there have been precedents to support
the claim that mere cosmetic alteration does not obviate the
copyright holder's claim, so the 20% change must also be
substantive, not just cosmetic.

But the fact by itself that you started with the original
work in your editor does not, by the letter of the law, make
it a derivative work.

The "clean-room implementation" concept is based on
alleviating a fear of litigation -- it forms the basis of a
defense. It is *not* a legal requirement, AFAICT.

Of course, IANAL. ;-)

Cheers,
Terry

--
Terry Hancock (ha*****@Anansi Spaceworks.com)
Anansi Spaceworks http://www.AnansiSpaceworks.com

Nov 23 '05 #15
On Wed, 23 Nov 2005 15:34:49 +0000, Ed Jensen wrote:
Try this little experiment: Walk up, at random, to 100 people on the
street. Show them a software CD-ROM -- a game, a word processor,
whatever. Tell them it's free. Then ask them what they think that
means.

99 times out of 100, they'll think it means it's free-as-in-beer.
Oh no!!! Are you telling me that people's first thought when you hand
them a physical object and say it is free is to think that you mean
free of cost??? Say it isn't so!!!

They *won't* think it means they'll get the source code, and the right
to tweak that source code. They *won't* think it means they have the
right to infinitely redistribute it.
So what? You just tell them, and then they *will* think that they have the
right to infinitely redistribute it, because they've just be told.

If you tell them "This FREE software that I am giving you for FREE, you
are FREE to make copies for all your friends for FREE" and they still
don't get it, then they are an idiot.

At best, the GPL/FSF engaged in what I consider false advertising.
Free Software (note the capital 'F' and 'S') *isn't*, by the most
widely understood and assumed definition of "free".
Really? So when I take my GPLed software, and legally install it on
100 PCs without paying one single cent for licence fees, it isn't free of
cost?

You a living in a strange and mysterious world, where things that cost
nothing aren't free.

Of course, any particular vendor is FREE (there's that word again) to try
to charge me as much money as they like for the FREE software that I can
get for FREE from another vendor. If they can convince me that they are
offering enough added value to justify paying money for something I can
get for FREE from one of their competitors, I may even pay for that added
value.

They should have
called it "liberated software" or "share and share alike software" or
"free as in herpes" software.
As in Open Source Software perhaps?
Free Software is certainly not free
software, since it comes heavily encumbered by licensing issues.
Firstly, you contradict yourself.

You argue that "free as in speech" doesn't count for squat because 99 in
100 people think *first* of "free as in beer". Fine -- you've laid the
ground rules, you live by them. If that's the only definition of "free"
that you'll accept, then stick with it: "heavily encumbered by licensing
issues" is irrelevant. What counts is cost. Then by this restrictive
definition of "free", Free and Open Source Software *is* free, because I
am FREE to redistribute it for FREE.

Secondly, you are either guilty of rhetorical exaggeration, or you are
exceedingly ignorant of what the various licenses out in the real world
*actually* say. To describe the GPL and similar as "heavily encumbered"
is, quite frankly, idiotic.

Have you ever bothered to read proprietary software licences? They are the
heavily encumbered licences, with restrictions on when, where and how you
can you the software, how many copies you can make, whether and how many
backup copies you can create, whether or not you can transfer the licence
to somebody else, and whatever other restrictions they think they can get
away with. Microsoft, for example, frequently restricts your legal ability
to publish benchmarks for their software.

No, software under the GPL is not in the public domain. I make no
apologies for that. GPLed software is copyrighted, and supplied under a
licence where the software users are FREE (there's the word that you think
people don't understand) to use the software any way they like, FREE to
redistribute it, FREE to publish benchmarks, FREE to copy it, FREE
to create derivative works, and FREE to give it away for FREE, so long as
the user lives by a simple rule: whatever freedoms the GPL licence gives
you, you may not take away from the people you distribute the software too.

The success of things like Python -- which is not GPL licensed, afaik
-- pretty much proves the GPL is unnecessary for the success of free
projects. The GPL is just some bizarre social agenda being pushed by
some crazies, and a lot of programmers (who are not lawyers) fell for
the hippie nonsense.
Ah, I see -- trolling. All that commie pinko nonsense about Free
Speech by the Founding Fathers, all just hippie crap, right?

So, you may like to bandy around the mildly offensive "free as in
freeloading", but then that gives me the right to refer to GPL'd
software as "free as in pushing my personal social agenda".


Of course you are FREE to do so, and I won't even charge you. That doesn't
make what you say meaningful.

Is the Python licence not "pushing my personal social agenda" too? What
about proprietary licences that prohibit making backup copies? Doesn't
that push a social agenda too, an agenda to make it expected that every
time your software needs to be reinstalled you have to go out a buy a new
one?

--
Steven.

Nov 23 '05 #16
Paul Boddie <pa**@boddie.or g.uk> wrote:
It's interesting that you bring this tired thought experiment up in the
context of the original remark: "Its license is far more "free" than
GPL is." If we were focusing on the "vox pop" interpretation of the
word "free", that remark wouldn't make any sense at all: after all,
what's more gratis than gratis (to use a less ambiguous word)?
My only intention was to point out that "Free Software" is a rather
misleading term.

I still think of the term "Free Software" as false advertising.
Python is moderately successful, yes, but the GPL is a useful tool to
ensure that certain freedoms are preserved. I've been made aware of a
certain level of dissatisfaction about whether organisations porting
Python to other platforms would choose to share their modifications and
improvements with anyone, or whether binary downloads with restrictive
usage conditions would be the best even the customers of such
organisations would be able to enjoy. Ensuring some of those freedoms
can be an effective way of making open source software projects
successful.
I'm aware of this concern. I don't think it's justified. Unless
you'd like to point out all those closed, proprietary Python
implementations that are destroying civilization as we know it.
At least when it comes to software licensing, what probably upsets the
anti-GPL "pragmatic licensing" crowd the most is that Stallman is quite
often right; the BitKeeper debacle possibly being one of the more
high-profile cases of some group's "pragmatism " (or more accurately,
apathy) serving up a big shock long after they'd presumably dismissed
"the hippie nonsense".
Stallman thinks selling closed, proprietary software is evil.
Stallman thinks buying closed, proprietary software is evil.

I find these opinions and "morals" fundamentally and obviously wrong.
Well, from what I've seen of open source software usage in business, a
key motivation is to freeload, clearly driven by people who neither see
nor understand any other dimension of software freedom than your "vox
pop" definition. Such users of open source software could make their
work a lot easier if they contributed back to the projects from which
they obtained the software, but I've seen little understanding of such
matters. Of course, businesses prefer to use euphemisms like "cost
reduction" or "price efficiency" rather than the more accurate
"freeloadin g" term, and they fail to see any long-term benefits in
anything other than zero cost, zero sharing acquisition and
redistribution of code. But then in some sectors, the game is all about
selling the same solution over and over again to the same customers, so
it's almost understandable that old habits remain.
Wah, wah, I gave this software away for free, and people are actually
using it without giving anything back! Wah, wah!
but then that gives me the right to refer to GPL'd software as "free as in pushing my
personal social agenda".

Pushing on whom, though? No-one makes you use GPL'd software by, for
example, installing it on almost every computer you can buy from major
vendors. If, on the other hand, you mean that some social agenda is
being imposed on you because, in choosing to redistribute someone's
work, you are obliged to pass on those freedoms granted to you by the
creator (or distributor) of that work, then complaining about it seems
little more than a foot-stamping exercise than anything else.


Now you're just trying to put words into my mouth.

I never said anything was being "pushed on" me. I never said anything
was being "imposed on" me. I said an agenda was being pushed.
Stallman and company have an agenda, and the GPL is their instrument
of choice for pushing that agenda.
Nov 23 '05 #17
Grow up, Steven.
Nov 24 '05 #18
Take your off-topic argument off-list.

--
Robert Kern
ro*********@gma il.com

"In the fields of hell where the grass grows high
Are the graves of dreams allowed to die."
-- Richard Harter

Nov 24 '05 #19
Steven D'Aprano wrote:
Really? So when I take my GPLed software, and legally install it on
100 PCs without paying one single cent for licence fees, it isn't free of
cost?

You a living in a strange and mysterious world, where things that cost
nothing aren't free.


Many definitions of "cost" include things that go beyond mere *monetary*
value.

Watching a given program on TV might be called "free" by some, but if I
have to suffer through commercials I don't consider it free. Heck, I
despise MSN Messenger and avoided the "free" Opera** because they aren't
"free" for me, loaded with advertisements that flash in my face and
distract me all the time.

I'm just highlighting how discussions of this nature which spend a lot
of time revolving around narrow and non-shared definitions of words can
really waste a lot of time...

-Peter

** Apparently I'm not alone as I understand the latest Opera is entirely
"free" of advertisements as well.

Nov 24 '05 #20

This thread has been closed and replies have been disabled. Please start a new discussion.

By using Bytes.com and it's services, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

To disable or enable advertisements and analytics tracking please visit the manage ads & tracking page.