Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • December 05, 2016, 09:07:40 PM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Last post Author Topic: Goodbye all, I'm out of here effective immediately  (Read 27108 times)

JavaJones

  • Review 2.0 Designer
  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,717
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Goodbye all, I'm out of here effective immediately
« Reply #50 on: August 13, 2010, 02:12:53 AM »
Wow. This thread was making me really sad most of the way through (until Markham's latest reply). Still I know 2 things: DC and its members are not evil, and Markham and Steve are not evil. There are issues on both sides here and it has really just been amplified beyond reality (IMHO) and spiralled out of control.

Markham, it sounds like you've found a way forward and I'm very happy to hear that. I have never been a CD user, and may never be, but I found you and Steve's enthusiasm for the project infectious and loved having you as a part of the DC community. I hope you will continue to be a part of it, regardless of what product(s) you may be working on. I wish you the best of success on everything.

Lastly, I want to make a brief, general, and probably not entirely welcome comment on the GPL. This the 2nd time I have seen a major meltdown occur over GPL issues, and as I am not a part of that world very much, I can only assume this happens much more often. I do not think the GPL license itself is fundamentally bad or "evil", but I do think many people do not consider all its legal consequences when they get involved (in any sense) with GPL'd products. The simple fact is that as a software license it inherently has serious legal implications and that fact alone makes it beyond the easy understanding of most average people. The complexities of the case we have here illustrate that very well. Even if the license itself is comparatively simple, and the consequences of that license "simple" in a glib recitation of its effects, the ultimate consequences when applied in practice can be all too complicated and *chilling*. It is that chilling effect which bothers me...

That being the reality, while I don't find the GPL to be fundamentally bad, incidents like this make me like it less and less. The other major incident I am referring to is the whole Joomla debacle, which now means my favorite forum software SMF - the same one used here - cannot easily integrated with Joomla because of incompatible licenses.

So, did people here abuse the GPL? Yes. Is that legally wrong? Yes. Was there bad intention behind any of their actions? Not that I can see. So what is "right" here? Is it vital to ensure that the legal mandate of the GPL is upheld? That seems a small issue to me. A legitimate one, but a small one. I wouldn't ask that anyone not exercise their legal rights under the license, but I do think it's important to consider the relative importance of issues here with the topic at hand, and while a legal issue could be considered to trump all personal and emotional ones, quite honestly I value the community here, its integrity, and its contributors (of which Markham and Steve are both significant ones) far beyond any non-malicious license breaches. I hope within this community that mutual respect and understanding is something that we all hold among our highest values.

- Oshyan

Eóin

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,401
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Goodbye all, I'm out of here effective immediately
« Reply #51 on: August 13, 2010, 04:58:29 AM »
Quote
There is, however, a caveat: Eric Wong's source archive (and binaries) does contain proprietary (non-GPL) units (DLLs) for which source code is not (and can not) be provided.

Ironically then Eric's code was in GPL violation as well. That technically means even his binaries can't be distributed. Ah the joys of the GPL :) Mark, removing the remaining GPL parts is a great idea, good luck.

Markham

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2009
  • **
  • Posts: 404
    • View Profile
    • Circle Dock
    • Donate to Member
Re: Goodbye all, I'm out of here effective immediately
« Reply #52 on: August 13, 2010, 05:38:35 AM »
Quote
There is, however, a caveat: Eric Wong's source archive (and binaries) does contain proprietary (non-GPL) units (DLLs) for which source code is not (and can not) be provided.

Ironically then Eric's code was in GPL violation as well. That technically means even his binaries can't be distributed. Ah the joys of the GPL :) Mark, removing the remaining GPL parts is a great idea, good luck.

Actually, I don't believe that is the case. Much would depend on the wording of the particular non-GPL licences - many will permit their binaries to be distributed in both commercial and non-commercial works. But he certainly would be prevented from distributing their source code. When I took the project over, I wasn't at all happy about the inclusion of those binaries - for which no contact info or licences were provided - and took steps to remove them. That meant rewriting a vast amount of code and something I won't have the time to do again.

However the GPL purists here may insist that full source code be provided, since technically the license does provide for that. If they do, we will have no option but to close the whole GPL project, since we would be unable to comply. It could, however, be re-licenced under the MS-PL which does not require full source code to be distributed (and is the licence Eric Wong should have used IMO), but that may not appeal to App103 or Gothic.

Let's see how they react.




Mark

Markham

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2009
  • **
  • Posts: 404
    • View Profile
    • Circle Dock
    • Donate to Member
Re: Goodbye all, I'm out of here effective immediately
« Reply #53 on: August 13, 2010, 05:47:27 AM »
Markham, it sounds like you've found a way forward and I'm very happy to hear that. I have never been a CD user, and may never be, but I found you and Steve's enthusiasm for the project infectious and loved having you as a part of the DC community. I hope you will continue to be a part of it, regardless of what product(s) you may be working on. I wish you the best of success on everything.

Thank you!

By the way, who is Steve? :D I think you mean the Sarge ("sgtevmckay") but his name is not Steve! :)



Mark

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Goodbye all, I'm out of here effective immediately
« Reply #54 on: August 13, 2010, 07:16:21 AM »
However the GPL purists here may insist that full source code be provided, since technically the license does provide for that.

Umm...just a minor point regarding access to underlying source code under the GPL...

The license does not merely "technically" provide for that. Nor does it have anything to do with being a "GPL purist." (Whatever that means.  ;D)

Requiring complete, free, and unrestricted access to source code is at the very core of what the GPL and the FSF is all about. That is its raison d'être if you will.

Just wanted to point that out.  ;)


Carol Haynes

  • Waffles for England (patent pending)
  • Global Moderator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 7,986
    • View Profile
    • Dales Computer Services
    • Donate to Member
Re: Goodbye all, I'm out of here effective immediately
« Reply #55 on: August 13, 2010, 07:52:11 AM »
I have been reading this thread with some bemusement (not to say sadness at all the bitterness in evidence).

Total aside:

Is GPL in practice ever enforceable except in the most trivial of examples?

If source code has to be provided then almost by definition it is ultimately impossible to satisfy that criteria in full. The only way it would be possible is the writing of assembly language with no external calls to the operating system.

To comply in a higher level language would require the source code of all the libraries used (including OS calls) and probably the source code of the compiler!

I know I am being pedantic but GPL does sound rather stupid in this regard - especially where external non-GPL code is incorporated.

Jibz

  • Developer
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,126
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Goodbye all, I'm out of here effective immediately
« Reply #56 on: August 13, 2010, 08:19:05 AM »
Is GPL in practice ever enforceable except in the most trivial of examples?

If source code has to be provided then almost by definition it is ultimately impossible to satisfy that criteria in full. The only way it would be possible is the writing of assembly language with no external calls to the operating system.

To comply in a higher level language would require the source code of all the libraries used (including OS calls) and probably the source code of the compiler!

There is an exception for "system libraries" in the GPL:

However, as a special exception, the source code distributed need not include anything that is normally distributed (in either source or binary form) with the major components (compiler, kernel, and so on) of the operating system on which the executable runs, unless that component itself accompanies the executable.

without which you are right, GPL software could only be developed and run on GPL operating systems.

Btw, as mentioned in the FAQ entry linked above, the copyright holder can add an exception to allow linking with non-GPL libraries, which amusingly enough provides a truck-sized hole mentioned in http://www.gnu.org/l...html#MoneyGuzzlerInc
« Last Edit: August 13, 2010, 08:30:03 AM by Jibz »

mouser

  • First Author
  • Administrator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 36,406
    • View Profile
    • Mouser's Software Zone on DonationCoder.com
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Goodbye all, I'm out of here effective immediately
« Reply #57 on: August 13, 2010, 08:42:53 AM »
Just wanted to say it's nice to see this thread has taken a turn in the positive direction overnight, let's try to keep it that way  :up:

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Goodbye all, I'm out of here effective immediately
« Reply #58 on: August 13, 2010, 09:11:39 AM »
Is GPL in practice ever enforceable except in the most trivial of examples?

Actually it has. The provisions of the GPL have been recognized as both legal and enforceable by courts in the US and in Europe where cases have been filed against infringers.

And the possibility of legal action and adverse publicity has also been very effectively used to convince even some of the 'big players' (e.g. Sun, Linksys) to not try to ignore the provisions of GPL when incorporating covered code in their commercial projects.

Maybe FSF's low key approach is not as effective and dramatic a method of enforcement as having the SPA/BSA and copyright cops show up with a warrant and kick your door down. But it does accomplish its goals.

 8)   


Carol Haynes

  • Waffles for England (patent pending)
  • Global Moderator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 7,986
    • View Profile
    • Dales Computer Services
    • Donate to Member
Re: Goodbye all, I'm out of here effective immediately
« Reply #59 on: August 13, 2010, 09:21:28 AM »
Quote
Consider this situation: 1) X releases V1 of a project under the GPL. 2) Y contributes to the development of V2 with changes and new code based on V1. 3) X wants to convert V2 to a non-GPL license. Does X need Y's permission?

    Yes. Y was required to release its version under the GNU GPL, as a consequence of basing it on X's version V1. Nothing required Y to agree to any other license for its code. Therefore, X must get Y's permission before releasing that code under another license. (from http://www.gnu.org/l...pl-faq.html#Consider)

Interesting idea that once a project has been released under GPL even the original author cannot release it as a commercial product after further development whilst one developer in the world objects! Presumably there is nothing to stop Y releasing a commercial version 2 of the software provided the version 1 code remains under GPL?

Having said that according to the rules of the license any derivative of version 1 is legally obliged to be GPL too - so does this apply to the original author? In which case a commercial product is not possible.

From the discussion in the rest of this thread does this not imply that a GPL product that is developed must remain GPL even if the development goes so far as to modify every single one of the original lines of code?

Also are there no intellectual rights on the original concept which would preclude the development away from the original license?

Redeveloping a functionally identical product from scratch of an existing product is surely a violation of the intellectual rights of the original author even if it is under GPL.

How would this work:

A writes a software library (for the sake of argument containing two functions) and releases it under GPL
B rewrites the code for function 1 and releases it as a standalone product with no license restrictions
C rewrites the code for function 2 and combines his work with that of B to produce a new library containing none of the original code of A.

Is the new library forced to be under GPL since none of the original code exists - yet the product is functionally identical to the original GPLed software?

What would constitute modification in this case that would allow the product to be removed from GPL? Can it be trivial (such as adding 'ripoff' to all the variable names) or does it have to be substantial change - in which case how is that quantified?
« Last Edit: August 13, 2010, 09:28:21 AM by Carol Haynes »

phitsc

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 1,187
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Goodbye all, I'm out of here effective immediately
« Reply #60 on: August 13, 2010, 09:32:19 AM »
on a GPL-unrelated note: although actually uninvolved, I had quite a bad night, with surreal circle-dockish dreams :o

Tuxman

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 1,769
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Goodbye all, I'm out of here effective immediately
« Reply #61 on: August 13, 2010, 10:03:41 AM »
Markham: Thanks for clarification. :)

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Goodbye all, I'm out of here effective immediately
« Reply #62 on: August 13, 2010, 10:09:35 AM »
without which you are right, GPL software could only be developed and run on GPL operating systems.

Not really, although doing so would make understanding the legalities a lot easier.

But again, the GPL does not presume to replace existing licenses or other agreements a software author is under. Nor does it argue it has the right to do so. Which is why, mainly to accomodate Windows developers who wanted to release and share their work under GPL, that some of those special conditions (which I'd hestitate to characterize as exceptions) got incorporated into the license.

The whole issue of the programming 'tool chain' and how existing non-GPL developer licenses may impact the GPL has been a very active discussion topic over the years. And there have been some who gave argued that the entire chain needs to be under GPL in order for GPL to work. But saner heads have prevailed, and a compromise has been reached that seems to work quite well for most people. 

Or should, unless you're the sort of person that's trying to find yet another loophole to get around it.  ;)

Basically, when you GPL your work, only your work is under the license. You're still bound by the terms of any other licenses you are already under for compilers, tools, libraries, dlls, precompiled included binaries, etc. GPL doesn't override any of that. All it covers is your code. It does not force itself on anybody else's code with one big exception: and that's any code that incorporates your code downstream.

And in those cases, the rule is simple and very clear. If you incorporate any code that is licensed under GPL in a downstream project - and if you distribute that project to the general public (whether for free or for a fee) - then you are required to also share your code under the same terms as the GPL code you incorporated into your project.

And while the license itself doesn't split hairs over how much source needs to be incorporated before a GPL violation occurs, the FSF isn't in the litigation business.  It has always used reasonable standards and common sense in cases where it does get involved in attempting enforcement actions.

So yes, while 'technically' only one short line of GPL'ed code needs to be present to make a 1 million line program also subject to GPL, you won't ever see FSF taking action on so ridiculous a complaint. Too bad the creators of proprietary licenses don't feel the same way. Companies have pursued smaller competitors and individuals and sought criminal and civil penalties in cases often involving nothing more than single code snippets. One case even argued that the overall structure of a  competitor's program amounted to theft of their intellectual property even though not one single line of the actual code was the same!

GPL is not a panacea for all our licensing woes.

But imagine what the IP landscape might be like without something like the GPL around - even if it only served as a reminder that there are alternatives to the legal quagmire we've created for ourselves with software licensing.  

                  

« Last Edit: August 13, 2010, 10:11:21 AM by 40hz »

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Goodbye all, I'm out of here effective immediately
« Reply #63 on: August 13, 2010, 10:44:16 AM »
Redeveloping a functionally identical product from scratch of an existing product is surely a violation of the intellectual rights of the original author even if it is under GPL.

GPL does not address programming concepts, or ideas, or intellectual property, or equivalent functionality. It works more like how our copyright laws  used to be interpreted and enforced. It protects the actual expression of an idea (i.e. the source code) and not the idea (as in the function of the program) itself. To do otherwise would stifle the incentive for innovation. GPL was created with the specific intent of encouraging the development of derivative works.      

Repeat three times: all GPL covers is source code.

If you rewrite something completely from scratch, it's a totally separate thing which you are free too do with as you wish so far as GPL is concerned. And that is true even if it looks and fuctions exactly the same as a GPL product.

Try doing that with proprietary licensed products. Most forbid reverse- engineering, patching for any reason, add-ons, or producing a work that has an  equivalent look or functionality.

In short, they claim to own the entire idea along with the product they produced.

FWIW, I predict that if the follow-on CD starts getting even more popular than it already has (and especially if it becomes profitable) it will only be a matter of time before a letter from an attorney arrives informing Team Circle Dock that her client holds a patent for something like an "on-screen control interface incorporating a circular graphical representation of system controls and files" - with a note attached asking if they'd prefer to settle immediately or just go to court?

And that will be if they're lucky. Usully the first time somebody finds out this is about to happen is when their ISP boots them off without warning because they received a DMCA takedown notice and decided to cover their butts and comply without questioning it.

I wish Markham & Co. the best of luck should that happen.  :tellme:      
« Last Edit: August 13, 2010, 11:00:06 AM by 40hz »

mateek

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 72
    • View Profile
    • GetAnd.com
    • Donate to Member
Re: Goodbye all, I'm out of here effective immediately
« Reply #64 on: August 13, 2010, 11:29:31 AM »
I think 40hz has spoken clearer than any other contributor on this thread in this latest post...

FWIW, I predict that if the follow-on CD actually does get even more popular (and especially if it becomes profitable) it will only be a matter of time before a letter from an attorney arrives informing Team Circle Dock that her client holds a patent for something like an "on-screen control interface incorporating a circular graphical representation of system controls and files" - ...

I'm thinking this could only be initiated by Eric Wong with any hope of legal success.  I poured over this thread for awhile, but couldn't find the quote where I'm sure I read someone's reassurances that several proprietary dlls in Eric's sourcecode had no restrictions as to redistribution, as opposed to some that do.
Stop war: GetAnd.   Mobile edition: AndAnd.

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Goodbye all, I'm out of here effective immediately
« Reply #65 on: August 13, 2010, 11:36:44 AM »
I think 40hz has spoken clearer than any other contributor on this thread in this latest post...

FWIW, I predict that if the follow-on CD actually does get even more popular (and especially if it becomes profitable) it will only be a matter of time before a letter from an attorney arrives informing Team Circle Dock that her client holds a patent for something like an "on-screen control interface incorporating a circular graphical representation of system controls and files" - ...

I'm thinking this could only be initiated by Eric Wong with any hope of legal success.  I poured over this thread for awhile, but couldn't find the quote where I'm sure I read someone's reassurances that several proprietary dlls in Eric's sourcecode had no restrictions as to redistribution, as opposed to some that do.

Only Eric Wong could probably pursue a copyright claim or GPL complaint with a reasonable expectation of success.

But what I was talking about here are software patents, which are a whole 'nuther hassle and totally separate from copyright or licensing considerations.  

Software patents are offensive as opposed to defensive legal weapons. Successful software products have an unfortunate tendency to attract attention. And where the light of public attention shines, there's often an attorney lurking in the shadows.

 ;D
 
« Last Edit: August 13, 2010, 11:39:05 AM by 40hz »

mouser

  • First Author
  • Administrator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 36,406
    • View Profile
    • Mouser's Software Zone on DonationCoder.com
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Goodbye all, I'm out of here effective immediately
« Reply #66 on: August 13, 2010, 11:44:06 AM »
let's have our discussions about general license/copyright/patent issues on a different thread, and then maybe we can wrap this thread up.

Eóin

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,401
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Goodbye all, I'm out of here effective immediately
« Reply #67 on: August 13, 2010, 11:52:53 AM »
All it takes for an application to switch license away from the GPL is to have all authors of present code, i.e. all the copyright holders agree to relicense their parts. Effectively then that version of the program become dual-licensed under GPL and something else.

From that point forth any new code can be licensed exclusively under the second license (or a compatible one). Of course the original code to the GPL version can still be requested.

[edit] opps, didn't mean to drag this on further, sorry mouser :)

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Goodbye all, I'm out of here effective immediately
« Reply #68 on: August 13, 2010, 12:01:13 PM »
I don't see how you can separate the general legal issues surrounding software from a specific case and still have anything amounting to a reasonable discussion about it. These things do not occur or exist in isolation. And to my mind, these larger issues go right to the heart of what went down with CD as well as helping to understand the varied and occasionally conflicting reactions from the members that followed.  

Nevertheless, it's not for me to say how a discussion should be conducted here.

(With a nod of acquiesence, 40hz tips his hat to Mouser and scrams the long post he was just about to send. ) ;D

 

ouroboros

  • Participant
  • Joined in 2010
  • *
  • default avatar
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Goodbye all, I'm out of here effective immediately
« Reply #69 on: August 19, 2010, 01:39:32 AM »
I'm going to ask the blunt question; If I can't download the current Markham version at the wikidot site or on DonationCoder, and the sourceforge site only contains the Eric Wong versions, where can I download the current Markham version?

sgtevmckay

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2009
  • **
  • Posts: 838
  • Magis Esse
    • View Profile
    • Rainmeter
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Goodbye all, I'm out of here effective immediately
« Reply #70 on: August 19, 2010, 01:47:43 AM »
Greetings ouroboros
Glad to have you here at Donationcoder.com

Unfortunately the easy answer is; No.
Markham's code has been pulled from here and the wikidot site.
So unfortunately Markham's "Version" is no longer available through these resources  :-[

PhilB66

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 1,522
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Goodbye all, I'm out of here effective immediately
« Reply #71 on: August 19, 2010, 02:32:20 AM »
@ouroboros

You can download Circle Dock Version 1.5.6 32-bit from cnet @ http://download.cnet...2344_4-10915490.html

wraith808

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 8,405
  • "In my dreams, I always do it right."
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Goodbye all, I'm out of here effective immediately
« Reply #72 on: August 19, 2010, 07:45:40 AM »
I don't see how you can separate the general legal issues surrounding software from a specific case and still have anything amounting to a reasonable discussion about it. These things do not occur or exist in isolation. And to my mind, these larger issues go right to the heart of what went down with CD as well as helping to understand the varied and occasionally conflicting reactions from the members that followed. 

Nevertheless, it's not for me to say how a discussion should be conducted here.

(With a nod of acquiesence, 40hz tips his hat to Mouser and scrams the long post he was just about to send. ) ;D

 

Personally, I also see this as a point of contention, though I can understand the reason for it, as forums have self-destructed over such conversations.  But when we have differences of opinions, it seems that it can be constructive (as long as the discourse is moderated) to talk those things out over the point in question.  Abstract conversations are all well and good, but having a concrete incident to base a discourse around tends to gel the issues and make it more useful in general.

Just my  :two: :)

Markham

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2009
  • **
  • Posts: 404
    • View Profile
    • Circle Dock
    • Donate to Member
Re: Goodbye all, I'm out of here effective immediately
« Reply #73 on: August 19, 2010, 06:10:36 PM »
I'm going to ask the blunt question; If I can't download the current Markham version at the wikidot site or on DonationCoder, and the sourceforge site only contains the Eric Wong versions, where can I download the current Markham version?

Firstly, the version on C/NET was not uploaded by me nor was its upload authorised by me. Apart from a short period of time when we mirrored downloads on MediaFire's servers, the only recognised download site was DonationCoder.

You will shortly be able to download the very latest version under a different branding. We are currently putting together a completely new web site devoted to the new product and a reciprocal  link to it will be placed on the Circle Dock Home Page.



Mark

Gwen7

  • Participant
  • Joined in 2009
  • *
  • Posts: 134
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Goodbye all, I'm out of here effective immediately
« Reply #74 on: August 19, 2010, 06:35:04 PM »
is that when your 'effective immediately' becomes effective? :-))