Misunderstanding of the basics?

Andrew J Bromage Andrew.Bromage at its.monash.edu.au
Tue Jan 16 00:30:47 UTC 2001

G'day all.

On Mon, Jan 15, 2001 at 06:42:28PM +0000, Dave J Woolley wrote:

> In any case, the GPL is only requiring that you record the removal
> of the code, whereas you are forbidding its removal, in this clause,

One of the things I notice is that the requirement of the GPL not to
remove certain documentation and the IPL requirement not to remove
certain lines of code are in some sense equivalent.

In a very abstract sense they are, but there is a key difference.  The
GPL requirement is there to enforce what in Europe is referred to as
"moral rights", specifically the moral right to be identified as the
author of a copyrightable work.  In some countries, this right cannot
even be waived!  The GPL documentation restriction (i.e. you must state
what changes were made and who did it) as merely codifies this "moral

I would even argue that the OSD perhaps should contain a clause that
an OSD-compliant licence may contain requirements a list of
modifications be maintained and preserved.

Restricting what derivative works can and cannot contain is very
different from preserving the software's audit trail.  The former is
a business decision which is in conflict with the OSD, and the latter
is good engineering practice. :-)

Andrew Bromage

More information about the License-discuss mailing list