APL license - What about the enforced logos?

David Woolley david at djwhome.demon.co.uk
Mon Nov 13 22:29:29 UTC 2006

> A few comments (below).  (Incidentally, I'm part of Alfresco, so obviously
> have bias on this, but wanted to make sure the company's voice was heard on
> this, now that license-discuss is going into intentions....)

As I understand it, making public statements about intentions should 
result in those being taken into consideration in interpreting the
licence, so this will change things somewhat.

> > From: David Woolley <david at djwhome.demon.co.uk>
> > Date: Sun, 12 Nov 2006 20:03:55 +0000 (GMT)
> > To: <license-discuss at opensource.org>
> > Subject: Re: APL license - What about the enforced logos?
> > 
> > What I believe the intended purpose of this licence is would be something
> > like this.
> > 
> >   We are providing this software as a loss leader to promote our
> >   commercial offerings (much as Lite versions of concealed source
> >   programs are distributed free of charge and with redistribution
> >   allowed, and like Wordpad is a loss leader for Microsoft Office).
> > 
> >   As such, we intend that it be used in a way that it is always
> >   recognizable as being a version of our software and makes it very
> >   easy for the user to go to our web site where we can try to sell them
> >   our commercial product and services.
> > 
> MNA:  Well, no.  One two levels.  First off, I think it's a bad idea to try
> to read into a license's intentions - any license.  A law/license should be
> read on its face.  If you start to extrapolate from a license's/law's

That seems to me to say that your intention is that the licence should
be taken literally (except where literal compliance would be illegal) and
non-GUI uses are therefore not intended.  One has to consider intentions
before one can interpret the licence to allow things that the letter of
it denies; I think others have assumed that the intention is to conform
to the general norms of the open source community.

> intentions, there's no telling where you'll end up (for better or for worse
> - if you look at how judges in the US read into laws, you'll get a taste for
> just how far "intentions" can take you from the actual text of a law).

People making use of software under a licence have to consider how it
would be interpreted by the courts.  You are saying that the courts do
have wide powers to infer intentions, so they must allow for that, or
you must make your intentions so clear that there is no scope for

> MNA:  Partly  correct.  Because this is an application with a UI, and
> because users, not the administrators, are likely going to be the first ones

The problem with that is that, with open source code, you can extract
and re-use an internal routine, that doesn't have a user interface, and
use it in a program that, itself, doesn't have a GUI interface.

> complaining if something goes wrong, it makes no sense to bury the
> disclaimer in the text accompanying the code *because the end user will
> never have the opportunity to see it."

You don't need a logo or link to the a specific web site to achieve this,
and it is those that gave me the impression that it is a loss leader.
In fact, I think the GPL requirements in this respect probably achieve
the necessary effect, although many authors fail to comply.  They are
conditional on the program normally being run interactively, which 
seems to cover your normal use case, but make it clear that non-interactive
programs don't have to go out of their way to present the copyright notice
and warantee disclaimer.

> MNA:  I don't think "concealed" is an apt term.  No code is "concealed" with
> Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Alfresco, or any other software like this.

The term was not being used for your software or for Red Hat, but for,
say, Adobe Acrobat Reader.  I felt it less ambiguous than closed source,
although I was obviously wrong.  Absent a formal ruling, I think you
probably fall into the class of published source but not OSD compliant.

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