SocialText license discussion--call for closure of arguments

Matthew Flaschen matthew.flaschen at
Mon Jan 22 21:50:11 UTC 2007

Ross Mayfield wrote:
> Socialtext has been monitoring the conversation and we appreciate your
> input.  Based on our review of the discussion, it appears that beyond
> the general concerns about attribution, the proposed provision raises
> two issues for the group:
> 1)  What happens if the product does not have a UI?

Yes, this is a serious problem.  More generally, what happens if the
constraints of the original attribution (e.g. "same size" logo) can't be
applied to a new UI.  What does "same size" even mean?  Does it refer to
number of pixels, width at a certain resolution, the length of an SVG
path, or what?  If it's physical size of the image, what if that exceeds
the size of the whole UI? The AAL allowed much more discretion about the
format of the attribution (and besides was approved before OSD #10).

> 2)  What happens if the location requirement is too specific?

Yes, and what happens if two attribution licenses conflict or make
extended derivative works difficult (OSD #3)?  For example, if two GAP
provisions require different logos in the same place, what happens?
Even if they're different places, what happens if one logo has to be so
big that it would cover the other?

More generally, what happens if you use so many GAP packages that the
screen becomes full of logos?  This seems a possible and quite
troublesome consequence of the provision.  It could ultimately make the
software unusable.  The original BSD advertising clause was already
considered troublesome, and it didn't require the program display anything.

> We think that we can come up with acceptable answers to both of these
> concerns, but we wanted to make sure that we have addressed all of the
> major concerns.


One major issue is still the question of it being a Generic Attribution
*Provision*.  As noted, the approval process
( requires
the submission of a *license*, which you have not done.  Do you intend
the board to consider the combination of GAP and all 50-something
licenses,  just the ones that explicitly allow modifications to the
license text (to avoid the question of what is aggregation and what is
modification), or really just MPL?

There's also the question of GAP's grammatical correctness, or lack
thereof (e.g. "[...]ensure that each time the resulting executable
program, a display of the same size as found in the [original
code][...]").  It should be reformulated, explicitly noting what must be
done and when using standard English.

Matthew Flaschen

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