POV-Ray : Newsgroups : povray.object-collection : License reassessment and other matters Server Time
19 Jun 2021 16:50:29 EDT (-0400)
  License reassessment and other matters (Message 1 to 8 of 8)  
From: Cousin Ricky
Subject: License reassessment and other matters
Date: 10 May 2021 18:50:32
Message: <6099b8b8$1@news.povray.org>
While we are waiting for the Object Collection website to be restored,
this is probably a good time to discuss the license and management of
the Collection.  These are some concerns and questions I have:

The LGPL has been updated to version 3.0.  Should we switch to that as a
collection?  Should we leave it up to the author of the module?

The one liner required by the old Object Collection upload software does
not include the LGPL version.  This seems potentially problematic.  A
statement to the effect of "2.1 or later" or "3.0 or later" seems
appropriate.  Or should we keep the required one liner as is, and leave
it up to the author of the module to specify an LGPL version on a
separate line of SDL comment?

Can any lawyer among us explain in plain English the differences between
v2.1 and v3.0?

The LGPL 3.0 is essentially an addendum to the GPL 3.0.  If we upgrade
as a collection, how should the README handle the two-part nature of the
license?

Should we change the link to point directly to the GNU website, skipping
Creative Commons altogether?  (If so, we'll need a new icon.  There is
one on the GNU website for the LGPL 3.0, but not for 2.1.)

If we upgrade to LGPL 3.0, is there even a CC wrapper?  The CC website
appears to have orphaned all the pages for its older licenses, and the
GNU wrappers appear to be among those.  (If someone can find a link from
anywhere on their website, please let us know!)

The recommended LGPL notice, aside from being wordier than the one liner
required by the old Object Collection upload software, implies that a
copy of the license itself should accompany the module downloads.
Should we do this?  GNU's instructions are at
  https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-howto.html

Above all, can someone be granted all the administrative powers that
Chris Bartlett had before he disappeared?  Decisions need to be made,
the license being only one.  Another example is whether my suggestion to
avoid all-lowercase identifiers should be formalized.  The community
thinks it's a good idea, but there seems to be no formal mechanism to
adopt it.

Can there be a method of succession, so the Collection is not again left
without an administrator?

There was also supposed to be a validation process to insure that
modules marked as compliant meet those standards.  So far, only 12
modules have been validated--all written by the previous administrator.
If the administrator himself validated his own modules, then effectively
*none* of the modules have been validated.

If a module is found to be out of compliance for its declared level, how
should the issue be rectified?  This is a likely situation, as
compliance requirements have changed since the Collection was inaugurated.


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From: Bald Eagle
Subject: Re: License reassessment and other matters
Date: 10 May 2021 20:00:00
Message: <web.6099c8558535d42e1f9dae3025979125@news.povray.org>
Cousin Ricky <ric### [at] yahoocom> wrote:

> The LGPL has been updated to version 3.0.  Should we switch to that as a
> collection?  Should we leave it up to the author of the module?

We can, assuming they are still around.   Is there some time period after which
it becomes public domain or at least under the custodianship of the site
maintainer?


> Above all, can someone be granted all the administrative powers that
> Chris Bartlett had before he disappeared?  Decisions need to be made,
> the license being only one.

I think there should always be multiple keyholders and redundancy.  Anything
could happen to any one of us, and given the state of the world, internet access
and communications in any country could become . . . spotty to nonexistant.

> Another example is whether my suggestion to
> avoid all-lowercase identifiers should be formalized.  The community
> thinks it's a good idea, but there seems to be no formal mechanism to
> adopt it.

Perhaps a term for submission to the object collection can be agreement to edit
code to align with compliance standards, changes in SDL syntax, and namespace
considerations.

> Can there be a method of succession, so the Collection is not again left
> without an administrator?


> If a module is found to be out of compliance for its declared level, how
> should the issue be rectified?  This is a likely situation, as
> compliance requirements have changed since the Collection was inaugurated.

I think that some of those modules are, at this date, and given the
circumstances, the equivalent of abandoned property.  Sometimes there are
mechanic's liens, salvage Rights, for certain things there's usually some legal
requirement that an announcement/notification be published in a (local)
newspaper for a certain period of time - but I have no idea what the global
internet equivalent of that would be.

I'd say just edit them and retain the original.  Post a notice that "If you have
a complaint, then you can request that the edited version be taken down."
I mean, it's an object, written in SDL, for a 25-year-old raytracer.  I would
hope that they'd take some sort of pride that their object is even being used
after the time elapsed since they've coded it.  Not to mention - why submit it
to the object collection unless you wanted to distribute it freely for others to
USE in the first place?

Anyway, those are my thoughts on the topic.
I'm more of a Patrick Henry guy concerning licenses, anyway.


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From: Cousin Ricky
Subject: Re: License reassessment and other matters
Date: 11 May 2021 02:14:17
Message: <609a20b9$1@news.povray.org>
On 2021-05-10 7:57 PM (-4), Bald Eagle wrote:
> Cousin Ricky <ric### [at] yahoocom> wrote:
> 
>> The LGPL has been updated to version 3.0.  Should we switch to that as a
>> collection?  Should we leave it up to the author of the module?
> 
> We can, assuming they are still around.   Is there some time period after which
> it becomes public domain or at least under the custodianship of the site
> maintainer?

IIRC, the death of the author, plus 70 years.  Out of the hands of us
contemporary mortals.

>> Another example is whether my suggestion to
>> avoid all-lowercase identifiers should be formalized.  The community
>> thinks it's a good idea, but there seems to be no formal mechanism to
>> adopt it.
> 
> Perhaps a term for submission to the object collection can be agreement to edit
> code to align with compliance standards, changes in SDL syntax, and namespace
> considerations.

Such an agreement is already implied in the LGPL.  The question is what
formal mechanism should we use to make such changes, if we decide to.
More generally, how do we formalize the rules for this collection?

>> If a module is found to be out of compliance for its declared level, how
>> should the issue be rectified?  This is a likely situation, as
>> compliance requirements have changed since the Collection was inaugurated.
> 
> I think that some of those modules are, at this date, and given the
> circumstances, the equivalent of abandoned property.  Sometimes there are
> mechanic's liens, salvage Rights, for certain things there's usually some legal
> requirement that an announcement/notification be published in a (local)
> newspaper for a certain period of time - but I have no idea what the global
> internet equivalent of that would be.

IANAL, but it doesn't seem to me that copyrighted works can be
"abandoned."  Does a writer or an artist lose the rights to their works
if they don't regularly issue new editions?  (Trademarks *can* be
declared abandoned, but we are not dealing with trademarks here.  Well,
except for AndroidRobot, but Karl and I are not the trademark holders,
so that's still no concern here.)

> I'd say just edit them and retain the original.  Post a notice that "If you have
> a complaint, then you can request that the edited version be taken down."
> I mean, it's an object, written in SDL, for a 25-year-old raytracer.  I would
> hope that they'd take some sort of pride that their object is even being used
> after the time elapsed since they've coded it.  Not to mention - why submit it
> to the object collection unless you wanted to distribute it freely for others to
> USE in the first place?

Again, this is why the LGPL was chosen for this collection.  The module
author must check some agreement boxes on the upload form, and the
upload engine scans the SDL to make sure that an LGPL license statement
is present.  In other words, the upload form will not allow you upload a
module unless you first agree that anyone and their grandmother have the
right to modify the code, within the terms of the LGPL.

Those terms do require modified files to prominently note the date of
the changes and who made them.  License violations obviously cannot be
detected by the upload engine, but a human administrator can resolve
such problems upon request.

> Anyway, those are my thoughts on the topic.
> I'm more of a Patrick Henry guy concerning licenses, anyway.

Licenses don't get much more Patrick Henry than the LGPL.  See for
yourself at https://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/lgpl-2.1.html


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From: Cousin Ricky
Subject: Re: License reassessment and other matters
Date: 31 May 2021 18:29:36
Message: <60b56350$1@news.povray.org>
On 2021-05-10 6:50 PM (-4), Cousin Ricky wrote:
> 
> The LGPL has been updated to version 3.0.  Should we switch to that as a
> collection?  Should we leave it up to the author of the module?
> 
> The one liner required by the old Object Collection upload software does
> not include the LGPL version.  This seems potentially problematic.  A
> statement to the effect of "2.1 or later" or "3.0 or later" seems
> appropriate.  Or should we keep the required one liner as is, and leave
> it up to the author of the module to specify an LGPL version on a
> separate line of SDL comment?
> 
> Can any lawyer among us explain in plain English the differences between
> v2.1 and v3.0?

I've been reading more commentary on the LGPL 3 vs. 2.1, well, as much
as a Web search can get you on such a narrow topic.  It seems that the
main rationale for the GPL/LGPL 3 was to prevent TiVo from de facto
mooting the right to modify its code.  In a nutshell, you are legally
permitted to modify TiVo's software, but then it will no longer work on
TiVo's hardware.

Richard Stallman, who created the GPL/LGPL as well as some of the
software utilized by TiVo, considers TiVo's action a violation of the
spirit of the GPL.  Linus Torvalds, who also wrote some of software the
utilized by TiVo says it's not his call.  Stallman acknowledged that
Torvalds was legally correct, and wrote GPL 3 to close that loophole.
The Linux kernel remains under GPL 2 with no license upgrade provision,
so there!

Other considerations were expanding license compatibility and preventing
patent restrictions.

Unless one of you is an attorney and sees weaknesses in the LGPL 2.1
that are relevant to SDL contributions, I see no compelling reason to
upgrade the license.  If 2.0 is good enough for Linus, then 2.1 is good
enough for me.  But I also see no reason to prevent a contributor from
writing "or later" into their SDL comments, though IANAL and I don't
know if "or later" clause would affect the legal interoperability of the
Collection in any way that would matter to a POV-Ray user.

However, now that there is at least one Object Collection repo (Le
Forgeron's) that is not on an official POV-Ray server--and is therefore
separated from the website explications and README files--I think it
would be *prudent* to write the LGPL version, the LGPL URL, and the
warranty disclaimer directly into all SDL files submitted to the Collection.


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From: Cousin Ricky
Subject: Re: License reassessment and other matters
Date: 31 May 2021 18:32:10
Message: <60b563ea$1@news.povray.org>
On 2021-05-10 6:50 PM (-4), Cousin Ricky wrote:
> 
> Above all, can someone be granted all the administrative powers that
> Chris Bartlett had before he disappeared?  Decisions need to be made,
> the license being only one.  Another example is whether my suggestion to
> avoid all-lowercase identifiers should be formalized.  The community
> thinks it's a good idea, but there seems to be no formal mechanism to
> adopt it.

I would still like some discussion on how to formalize Object Collection
policies.


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From: jr
Subject: Re: License reassessment and other matters
Date: 5 Jun 2021 05:25:00
Message: <web.60bb41d68535d42e79819d986cde94f1@news.povray.org>
hi,

Cousin Ricky <ric### [at] yahoocom> wrote:
> On 2021-05-10 6:50 PM (-4), Cousin Ricky wrote:
> >
> > The LGPL has been updated to version 3.0.  Should we switch to that as a
> > collection?  Should we leave it up to the author of the module?
> > ...
> I've been reading more commentary on the LGPL 3 vs. 2.1, well, as much
> as a Web search can get you on such a narrow topic.  It seems that the
> main rationale for the GPL/LGPL 3 was to prevent TiVo from de facto
> mooting the right to modify its code.  In a nutshell, you are legally
> permitted to modify TiVo's software, but then it will no longer work on
> TiVo's hardware.
> ...

I use the GPL v3+ routinely (ie unthinkingly :-)) for everything I "publish".
 appreciate that you (too) are not a lawyer, however, questions: should I change
from v3+ to another, eg LGPL?  what would be the "real" difference?


regards, jr.


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From: Cousin Ricky
Subject: Re: License reassessment and other matters
Date: 5 Jun 2021 13:21:45
Message: <60bbb2a9$1@news.povray.org>
On 2021-06-05 5:20 AM (-4), jr wrote:
> 
> I use the GPL v3+ routinely (ie unthinkingly :-)) for everything I "publish".
>  appreciate that you (too) are not a lawyer, however, questions: should I change
> from v3+ to another, eg LGPL?  what would be the "real" difference?

Have a look at: https://www.gnu.org/licenses/why-not-lgpl.html

As you know, I cannot give legal advice.


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From: jr
Subject: Re: License reassessment and other matters
Date: 7 Jun 2021 03:45:00
Message: <web.60bdcd698535d42e79819d986cde94f1@news.povray.org>
hi,

Cousin Ricky <ric### [at] yahoocom> wrote:
> On 2021-06-05 5:20 AM (-4), jr wrote:
> >
> > I use the GPL v3+ routinely (ie unthinkingly :-)) for everything I "publish".
> >  appreciate that you (too) are not a lawyer, however, questions: should I change
> > from v3+ to another, eg LGPL?  what would be the "real" difference?
>
> Have a look at: https://www.gnu.org/licenses/why-not-lgpl.html
>
> As you know, I cannot give legal advice.

thanks.  did look, still no clearer which of the GNU licences is the "best fit"
for include files and such.  also unsure how/whether GNU v3+ "conflicts" with
Creative Commons license.

(since neither of us is a lawyer, it'd be simply your opinion.  however, you've
concerned yourself with the matter and thus your opinion is of interest (to me))


regards, jr.


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