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Does masquerading conflict with artistic control?

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Charles Bailey
April 26, 2006 21:45
Does masquerading conflict with artistic control?
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In reading the new draft of the AL, I'm struck by the potential of
section 4 (and by extension 5) to support ham-handed or malicious
replacement of the Standard Version.  As I read it, a Modified Version
may replace the Standard Version on a system as long as the author of
the MV makes the changes available to the author of the SV, whether or
not the SV's author wants them.  As a concrete example, one might
distribute a version of Perl that sends a copy of the process
environment (or /etc/passwd, or name-your-favorite-local-info) to the
distributor prior to executing the task it was invoked to perform.  It
would be legitimate under 4(a) to replace the default Perl
installation on the system with this "modified" version, as long as
you sent Larry Wall a patch which would cause the standard Perl to
send you this info as well.  I'm oversimplifying a bit -- there's the
matter of having to "clearly document" the difference, but I suspect
that's open to some creative interpretation -- but the potential for
(at least reputational)  harm to the original author and the SV seem

This isn't a new problem, and I'm not sure to what extent a
open-source license wants to drift into questions of what constitutes
a legitimate change, but I do wonder whether there's room for
requiring something like 4(b) if the SV's author objects to a
modification.  Just a thought...

Charles Bailey
Lists: bailey _dot_ charles _at_ gmail _dot_ com
Other: bailey _at_ newman _dot_ upenn _dot_ edu

P.S. One other <nit type="trivial">If you disclaim implied warranty,
why not expressed?</nit>  I guess one can claim that "express
warranty" is now a term of art.

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