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Legal Group Releases Guide To GPL Compliance 141

Posted by Soulskill
from the information-wants-to-be-free-and-legal dept.
An anonymous reader brings news that the Software Freedom Law Center has published a guide for compliance with the GNU General Public License. The purpose of the guide is to prevent "common mistakes" the SFLC has encountered during its various GPL violation investigations. Their suggestions include close scrutiny of software acquisitions, more precise tracking of changes and updates, and avoiding "build gurus." They also provide tips for dealing with a violation. The full guide is available at the SFLC's website.
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Legal Group Releases Guide To GPL Compliance

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  • by cp.tar (871488) <cp.tar.bz2@gmail.com> on Saturday August 23, 2008 @11:03AM (#24718701) Journal

    Any kind of legalese could do with such a guide.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    but yes this does rather highlight all the obligations of the GPL, which is a good thing because a lot of companies don't realise what it actually entails.

    When making a software product from open source software, one of the tasks is to find out about all the licenses and to be quite honest it is to avoid a lot of software that is GPL, which thankfully most isn't as far as the building blocks go.

    GPL software is nice when you want to include a tool that the end user can use but is not central to your software

  • Build Guru (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    What is a build guru? Tried looking it up in various places but no luck...
    • Re:Build Guru (Score:5, Informative)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @11:37AM (#24718955) Journal
      The term is defined within the text: "build guru" is their term for a team member who handles the firmware build process for your product, given a situation where the knowledge of how to do so exists in his head, rather than in documentation or shared knowledge.

      I don't think that the term is a standard one in the broader sense; but it is clear enough for the purposes of their discussion. Relying on one person's personal knowledge for a vital step in your process is never ideal, especially if you have a legal obligation to provide your customers with some of that knowledge, if they ask for it. Simple enough, really.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bcrowell (177657)
        Someone should show this document to Sun's OOo team. If you download the source on any given day and try to compile it, there's about a 75% chance that something is broken on that day.
    • by PingXao (153057)

      I never heard that term, either, but I'm guessing it's someone who knows the entire build process from start to finish. Possibly even wrote the scripts for it. For embedded Linux firmware this would involve shell scripts, custom tools written in C/C++, a ton of Makefiles, maybe a little Buildroot, and how to script the source code control system. Just figuring out how the various SCCS tools do "branching and merging" takes a guru all by itself.

      • "I never heard that term, either, but I'm guessing it's someone who knows the entire build process from start to finish. Possibly even wrote the scripts for it."

        There is no official term, and your interpretation makes sense, but a thorough reading of the article and the actual guide to which it refers, shows that they mean something different. It is, in effect, a facetious term in the content in which they use it. In this case the articles author actually used quotes correctly - [stops to gasp]

        If some

  • by BitterOldGUy (1330491) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @11:12AM (#24718777)

    GPL compliance need not be an onerous process.

    They say at the end of a 15 page document.

    • by Spad (470073) <slashdot AT spad DOT co DOT uk> on Saturday August 23, 2008 @11:18AM (#24718821) Homepage

      To be fair, 15 pages is nothing to most lawyers.

    • by Ed Avis (5917) <ed@membled.com> on Saturday August 23, 2008 @11:20AM (#24718833) Homepage

      Exactly. It kind of makes you think the BSD folk might have a point in insisting on simple, permissive licences (though even those can be open to misinterpretation - see ipfilter in OpenBSD).

      Still, this 15 page document is only needed for legal-corporate types, anxious to know the letter of the law and the exact boundaries of what's permitted. For ordinary programmers, RMS has tended to say that the letter of the GPL is less important than its spirit, which is to share your code and give all users the same rights you have. If you stick to that principle you can be pretty sure you are within the letter of the licence as well.

      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @11:45AM (#24719021) Journal
        GPL arguably has more complex goals than BSD, so it really isn't realistic to expect the GPL to be simpler than, or even as simple as, the BSD licence.

        Making sure that your licence is as short as possible, without compromising your goals, is always good; but compromising your goals just to make your licence simpler is perverse at best.
        • GPL arguably has more complex goals than BSD, so it really isn't realistic to expect the GPL to be simpler than, or even as simple as, the BSD licence. Making sure that your licence is as short as possible, without compromising your goals, is always good; but compromising your goals just to make your licence simpler is perverse at best.

          Complexity isn't the issue with the GPL: it's the legalese. And because of the legalese, I am not confident to use it or any software using that license for commercial use without legal advice; which increases the cost of using GPL software on a commercial level. This extra cost is factored in when evaluating and comparing against software under other licenses.

          • by jbn-o (555068) <mail@digitalcitizen.info> on Saturday August 23, 2008 @12:10PM (#24719181) Homepage

            Large corporations (which probably do way more business than you or whomever you're speaking for) don't have that problem. Reasonable business operators recognize that you should not be "confident to use" any software without complete understanding of the terms of the relevant licenses. This goes for any software license. In this way the new BSD license is deceptively simple and framing this issue as though it only affected the GPL is unfair.

            • by sumdumass (711423)

              Large corporations are also inclined to want possession of the software. Unless they are tailoring to a specific niche or hold a number of advocated in it, GPL's opensource software doesn't have much of a change. Therefore, I think the license should fit the smaller corp like the GP was talking of. This also stops open source software from getting the name a hacker OS or hobbyist software which further discourages larger corporation usages.

            • Reasonable business operators recognize that you should not be "confident to use" any software without complete understanding of the terms of the relevant licenses.

              I agree totally; hence the need for legal advice.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            What if someone takes your code and patents a part of it? BSD then says you cannot claim the patent or protect yourself from it.

            And patent law says you can't use your BSD code.

            It therefore doesn't matter if you feel confident in obeying the BSD. Your feelings will not make a hill of beans difference. And you will be disallowed.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by jeaton (44965)

              What if someone takes your code and patents a part of it? BSD then says you cannot claim the patent or protect yourself from it.

              The BSD license does not mention patents. There is nothing in the BSD license preventing you having patents based on BSD code, nor protecting yourself from others patent claims.

            • What if someone takes your code and patents a part of it? BSD then says you cannot claim the patent or protect yourself from it.

              This is incorrect. The word "patent" or derivatives do not appear in the BSD license. You can read it here [opensource.org]

              And patent law says you can't use your BSD code.

              Patent law says you must license legally patented methods to include them in a product. It does not interact with the concept of software licensing.

              It therefore doesn't matter if you feel confident in obeying the BSD. Your

              • The patent may be invalid for prior art. But the onus of proof is on you to prove that. That is often prohibitively expensive, and even it you can can afford it, a court battle is never a certain outcome and always takes longer than you expect.
          • by Haeleth (414428)

            because of the legalese, I am not confident to use it or any software using that license for commercial use without legal advice; which increases the cost of using GPL software on a commercial level.

            But at least once you've got legal advice on the GPL once, you can freely follow that advice for any of the many software packages that are licensed under it.

            This compares rather favourably to the situation in the closed-source world, where every single EULA is different, and they are all many, many times longer

          • by legirons (809082)

            Complexity isn't the issue with the GPL: it's the legalese. And because of the legalese, I am not confident to use it or any software using that license for commercial use without legal advice; which increases the cost of using GPL software on a commercial level. This extra cost is factored in when evaluating and comparing against software under other licenses.

            I dread to think how long it takes your organisation to install a typical proprietary program... the legalese in any EULA is at least two orders of magnitude worse than the GPL (and those are expected to be understood by children, teenagers, and people with no IT nor legal knoweledge...

            e.g. take iTunes. Required to use an ipod. How many people know that you've signed a contract with someone other than Apple, and given that company permission to modify the contract at any time without them even having to

          • by cfulmer (3166)

            So, as a lawyer, I don't consider the GPL to be written in "legalese." It's just not written very well, especially v2.

            When drafting a document, a lawyer tries to make sure that it can only be read one way--his. Often lawyers drop into the habit of "legalese" to do this. And, as a result, that document may be difficult for non-lawyers to understand. But, that "legalese" is rarely required.

            So, here's an example of the GPLv2 poor drafting:

            The "Program", below, refers to any such program or work, and a "wor

          • by xenocide2 (231786)

            Complying with the GPL is simple: when you ship binaries based on GPL code, provide the source you used to build them. It's only when people think they can get away with not providing the source because they're not technically linking to GPL'd code or otherwise violate the spirit of the agreement that it gets complex. Do you disagree, that shipping source is a sufficient action to comply with the GPL?

      • by fermion (181285)
        Any commercial entity has to understand what it can and cannot do with it's licensed assets. IMHO, the issue with software that given for no or little cost, but with other limitations attached, is that there is no salesperson who job is to spell those limitations out in detail. This means that you have to either understand the strings yourself or pay someone to explain it to you. This is a necessary expense as violating the GLP license is as much theft as having an unlicensed copy of MS Windows 95 or you
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Dear Fermion:

          If you trust a salesperson to spell out legal limitations, you are a fool.

          More than likely, you aren't a fool, but are just working a little weekend overtime at Microsoft.

          Am I right?

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      Exactly. The result is that I have been advising my employer to remove dependencies on GPL and LGPL software from all of our products. Either take a commercial license, find an alternative that has a more permissive licence or roll your own.

       

      • by jbn-o (555068) <mail@digitalcitizen.info> on Saturday August 23, 2008 @12:12PM (#24719211) Homepage

        You don't mean a "commercial" license. The GPL is a commercial license. Commerce is done with software licensed under the GPL. You mean something else, perhaps "proprietary".

        In any event you haven't explained what is so bad about the GPL or that you understand the licenses you deal with (any of them) to warrant such trust in these other more permissive licenses or licenses you erroneously referred to as "commercial".

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Ironchew (1069966)

          Trolls don't have to explain their reasoning. All they have to do is take what (might) be a minor inconvenience in a license such as the GPL, and expand it into a FUD-storm, listing, and not explaining, dubious alternatives.

        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          You want to know what is so bad about the GPL? Anything that takes 15 pages to explain how to be compliant and contains recommendations that you change your software development process as part of it is a significant problem. And did you notice those terms that copyright owners might impose? They could cripple a small company (and most software development companies are small).

          And that is just GPLv2. GPLv3 and the patent bar makes it even worse. Companies often have to defend themselves from patent infringe

          • There's nothing dangerous about the GPL if you comply with the license terms. If you don't want to comply with the license terms, the libraries simply aren't available to you. I don't see what the problem is.

            • Obviously I am not getting through to the GPL fanbois here. Maybe shouting will help.

              THE MAIN PROBLEM IS THE GPL LICENSE TERMS ARE TOO COMPLEX AND IMPACT THE ENTIRE SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS. A 15 PAGE DOCUMENT LIKE THE ONE THE ARTICLE REFERS TO IS *NOT* REALISTIC. ASSURING COMPLIANCE IS DIFFICULT AND OVER A MULTI-YEAR SDLC WITHIN A SIGNIFICANTLY SIZED ORGANIZATION LIKELY IMPOSSIBLE.

              A lot of companies cannot realistically use 3rd party software under these conditions. Licenses like artistic, apache, BSD

              • It's absolutely true that the GPL has a higher cost of compliance than a "BSD style" license.

                The cost of compliance is still trivial compared to the benefit of using pre-existing code in a scenario where releasing source for a module is compatible with your business goals. This 15 page document basically says "you really have to release the source for your modified GPL modules", and explains that it's easier to do that if your build process isn't messed up.

                Conclusion: No software has a $0 acquisition cost

          • I agree. Sadly most of the people here assumes that every company has the moral duty to release its code, so GPL is not dangerous but "ethical promoting". I will not judge about that, but GPL fans have to understand that a lot of people (yet) considers "close code" their best fit, so GPL (like any "pirated" comercial/propietary software) is potentially dangerous.

            • by jbn-o (555068)

              It's no less "ethical promoting" to distribute proprietary software and claim that that is necessary. It's totally appropriate to judge whether proprietary software is ethical.

              • Agreed. I thing nobody will believe that it is estrictly necessary to distribute software in "propietary/obscure/commercial" terms (except, maybe, in some security domains) from a technical point of view; saying that would be a plain lie. From a business perspective, IMHO I think most owners yet prefer that way, and I just do recognize the right of a lot of people/companies to do so for whatever reason they choose. Call it "freedom to hide", despite not being of my personal taste... and apparently to their

      • N00b.
    • "GPL compliance need not be an onerous process."

      "They say at the end of a 15 page document."

      I seem to recall most of the books in the ... for Dummies series being more than 15 pages. Reading " See Spot Run " also requires you to wade through more than 15 pages IIRC ;-)

      (I mean the original children's book, not this one [imdb.com]. That's not a book, and the screenplay is more than 15 pages also, unless I miss my guess.)

  • by Hatta (162192) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @11:16AM (#24718801) Journal

    Share and share alike.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @11:33AM (#24718921) Journal
    By the standards of legal advice, that paper is both terse and clear. Perhaps in the wide world of training webcasts, 30 second commercials, and authoritative voiceovers, 15 pages qualifies as a ponderous tome; but you have to keep that sort of thing in perspective.

    The broad concept of the GPL isn't hard; but a quick guide to a few of the unintuitive points is a useful thing. The details of the source distribution requirements are a matter of considerable confusion in some quarters, as are the terms under which one can regain the licence after violation.

    Those minutiae aside, though, I am very surprised by how much apparent confusion the GPL and other copyleft type licences inspire. There seem to be two main camps of misinterpretation. The copyleft=no copyright group seems to believe that anybody who doesn't do copyright the exact same way they do doesn't do copyright at all. Hence this group's lack of respect for the terms of the GPL and similar. The other extreme has a fear amounting to mania of the GPL, believing that the GPL is unknowably complicated, and will inevitably lead to having all the code you've ever written forcibly expropriated by armed communist penguins.

    I don't understand the confusion because the GPL is a perfectly ordinary licence, from the legal perspective. Its purpose, socially, is quite interesting, and rather unusual; but the form "Copyright law says that you can't copy this without our permission, which we grant if you do foo and bar." is absolutely standard. People seem to go in expecting the legal side to be horribly mysterious, just because the social purpose is unusual. It is rather weird, really.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by BitterOldGUy (1330491)
      If the GPL was written in English instead of legalese, I think there would be less confusion.

      The folks who should be concerned with the GPL are technical folks; not lawyers.

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I've not read the guide yet as I'm somewhat busy this afternoon.

        Does it include any clarification of the requirement to provide source code? That one has always seemed ambiguous/fuzzy. Whenever it comes up in discussion here on /. there is always argument over who the source code must be provided to.

        Having seen the arguing over this requirement so often I feel it is one that certainly could use some clarification.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          A substantial portion of their clarification is of exactly that point. I'm not going to garble it in the retelling, TFA is a quick read, and really quite lucid by legal standards.
      • by McDutchie (151611) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @12:16PM (#24719239) Homepage

        If the GPL was written in English instead of legalese, I think there would be less confusion.
        The folks who should be concerned with the GPL are technical folks; not lawyers.

        If software was written in English instead of programming languages, I think there would be less confusion.
        The folks who should be concerned with software are ordinary folks; not programmers.

        But of course, in reality, both of these matters are too complex to accurately express in standard English.

        The GPL is a hack of the legal system with the goal of turning copyright upside down. That hack only works because it's written in legalese.

      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @12:43PM (#24719423) Journal
        Unfortunately, writing legal documents in English isn't really an option. The law, like math, natural science, or computer programming, has an evolved set of vocabulary, logical rules, stylistic conventions, etc. Some of this is definitely unnecessary cruft, or even deliberately hostile and obscure; but not all of it is. Some legalese is much closer to English than other legalese, just as some programming languages are pretty close to pseudocode; but the two aren't identical.

        I agree that licences(and law in general) ought always to strive for clarity; but(as I'm sure you know from explaining tech stuff to non techies) real clarity often demands a certain amount of jargon. Concepts, whether they be "JIT Compiler", "Special Relativity", or "Derivative Work", can be glossed in English; but they cannot be fully described without reference to the technical terminology of their fields.

        The GPL does pretty well, comparatively speaking, in being precise without being incomprehensible. Unfortunately, it has been forced to become more complex(the difference between version 2 and version 3 is striking) by factors outside of its control, mostly related to software patents, DRM/Tivoization, and technological advances that make the aggregation/derivative work boundary fuzzier.
        • by hankwang (413283) *

          Unfortunately, writing legal documents in English isn't really an option. The law, like math, natural science, or computer programming, has an evolved set of vocabulary, logical rules, stylistic conventions, etc.

          Maybe you can explain what the purpose is of the UPPERCASE PARAGRAPHS IN EULAS? Uppercase text is harder to read than lowercase text, so if the purpose is to emphasize the important bits, it doesn't do it very well. And why emphasize paragraphs? Is lowercase text less legally binding than uppercase

          • There are certain provisions in contracts that are disfavored at law. This usually includes limitations on liability, disclaimers of implied warranties, and the like - essentially, items that take away rights that the purchaser (usually) would have absent the contractual language. Such provisions are usually construed strictly against the beneficiary. One of the legal arguments available to someone trying, for example, to sue in the face of a liability waiver is that it fails to give "clear notice" of the n

      • Will this do? [creativecommons.org]
      • Confusion? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by hax0r_this (1073148) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @02:01PM (#24719947)

        I have to wonder if people who complain about the GPL (or, for that matter, most software licenses I've dealt with) being confusing have ever actually read it. I read and understood the GPL when I was in 9th grade. Sure it took me a few reads, but any legal document, or for that matter most any book is like that.

        Can you give a specific example of language you find confusing in the GPL?

        I think, perhaps, people simply are daunted by the idea of "so much" language that all has meaning to be understood, not the actual quality of that language.

        • by perlchild (582235)

          I think you got something there. "Natural language" is far less dense than specialised languages. Legalese, or technical language above a certain level, you cannot skip a single word, or sometimes, even a single comma. Most people I know read about 50% of the words on a page, then make up an opinion of what is meant. That's why legalese is scary. It's not that it's hard to understand, it's that the natural process these people use makes it 95% likely to get the meaning wrong. When they say complicated,

        • If somebody can't understand the GPL, either version, I don't want them working on any software I have to deal with in any way. The licenses are a lot more readable than the sort of code I work with daily.

      • by jimicus (737525)

        If the GPL was written in English instead of legalese, I think there would be less confusion.

        The folks who should be concerned with the GPL are technical folks; not lawyers.

        Compared to most EULAs I've read (and yes I do read them, part of my job is to ensure my employer complies with licensing requirements), the GPL is a shining beacon of clarity. Version 3 is rather less clear than 2, but nevertheless both are quite readable.

        I suspect the confusion comes from two places:

        1. People who don't know anything about software development and think it all sounds terribly awkward to follow.

        2. People who have never read any sort of EULA in their lives, GPL included, and go purely on

        • by xenocide2 (231786)

          #2 seems more likely, but I'd phrase it: "People who've used Linux, but never actually read the GPL or informed their clients of their obligations, figuring they could just wing it."

    • by bcrowell (177657)

      The copyleft=no copyright group seems to believe that anybody who doesn't do copyright the exact same way they do doesn't do copyright at all. Hence this group's lack of respect for the terms of the GPL and similar.

      Yeah. I was just talking to a colleague at the school where I teach who is the author of a textbook. We were discussing ways of keeping costs down for students, and he said it ought to be easy these days to get figures from Wikipedia, so the publisher wouldn't have to pay per-copy royalties to

    • by Todd Knarr (15451)

      hose minutiae aside, though, I am very surprised by how much apparent confusion the GPL and other copyleft type licences inspire.

      I'm not. That's because I don't think most of those entities are confused at all. Having heard a lot of them, I'm of the opinion that they understand the GPL and how to comply with it perfectly well, but they've got their own agendas which would be harmed by having to comply with the GPL so they feign ignorance and confusion to try to get out of doing what they know full well th

  • Request: (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Penguinisto (415985) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @11:36AM (#24718947) Journal

    Dude - send a copy to the Utah State Attorney General's Office.

    No, they did nothing wrong, but in 1999 when I was trying to explain that I wanted to put the GPL to use in my former classroom (all non public-domain copyrights are jointly held by a teacher and the State of Utah), most of the Dept'y Att'y General's responses consisted of "...I don't understand". I even pointed him to the GNU website), but he called back later and was still lost. Nice guy, sounded like a good lawyer, but he just couldn't wrap his brain around the concept.

    Now that was nine years ago (!? Cripes I'm old),, and things may have changed, but pushing a copy of this new guide to all 50 US State Att'y General offices would, IMHO, not be a bad idea at all.

    /P

  • Build Gurus (Score:4, Informative)

    by russotto (537200) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @11:37AM (#24718957) Journal

    The GPL requires you to include the scripts used to control compilation and installation of the executable. It does not require you to provide the knowledge needed to use those scripts, if it's all in someone's head. So having "build gurus" doesn't necessarily put you out of compliance, though it might make it hard to demonstrate you are in compliance.

    • Too many software projects rely on only one or a very few team members who know how to build and assemble the final released product. Such knowledge centralization not only creates engineering redundancy issues, but it also endangers GPL compliance, which requires you to provide build scripts.

      • by piojo (995934)

        Too many software projects rely on only one or a very few team members who know how to build and assemble the final released product. Such knowledge centralization not only creates engineering redundancy issues, but it also endangers GPL compliance, which requires you to provide build scripts.

        On a literal, hair-splitting note, I'm sure build scripts do not have to be provided if the build guru in question has not actually scripted the build. After all, if no build scripts exist, there is simply no grounds to claim that they must be distributed. Copyright/the GPL do not cover things that do not exist, as far as I can tell.

        • by legirons (809082)

          On a literal, hair-splitting note, I'm sure build scripts do not have to be provided if the build guru in question has not actually scripted the build.

          I guess you'll just have to supply your guru to anyone who obtains the binary code then ;)

          (just kidding, I know GPL explicitly lists the types of files which are considered 'corresponding source')

        • The article's take:

          Therefore, the details of what you need to provide with regard to scripts and installation instructions vary depending on the software details. You must provide all information necessary such that someone generally skilled with computer systems could produce a binary similar to the one provided.

          ...and...

          Most importantly, you must provide some sort of roadmap that allows technically sophisticated users to build your software. This can be complicated in an embedded environment. If your de

          • by piojo (995934)

            Interesting. I guess the FSF's point of view is that such documentation is part of the "work" that constitutes a piece of software. I'm not sure I agree, but life's like that. Sure, it's nice to write build scripts (and you should release them if they are already written), but I think it's merritless to say that my knowledge is part of the derived work.

  • GPL'ed software is notoriously by geeks for geeks. The original GPL was clear enough, as this document indicates things are getting confusing.

    • by ricegf (1059658)
      The eeePC is "for geeks by geeks"? Firefox? OpenOffice.org? Android? TiVo? How exactly do you define "geek"?
  • by jonwil (467024) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @08:13PM (#24722729)

    1.Companies who release software (usually embedded into a hardware device) and then claim "we are working on releasing the source code but its going to take time"

    2.Build systems where one "master makefile" builds the entire project (usually with a "master config file" that selects which model you are building for, what features are turned off and on etc)

    3.Companies who use a version of GCC and/or binutils that isn't publicly available and then dont release source code or binaries for that version, thus making it harder to recreate the binaries they are shipping (I wonder if creating a CPU with a new or altered instruction set, porting Linux to this CPU and then releasing kernel source but not GCC or binutils would be a GPL violation or not...)

    4.Companies who release source code for one firmware revision and then dont release source code for other firmware revisions (*cough*Motorola Z6*cough*)

    and 5.Companies who claim a need to "sanitize" GPL code before its released (this most likely includes removing any comments that reference internal intranet email addresses, web URLs, machine names, internal processes etc but may also include removal of pieces that are used only by or removal of comments/changing of code of pieces related to proprietary hardware so as not to release any more hardware details than they have to. Will likely also include removing anything embarrassing such as swear words)

  • by fizzup (788545) on Saturday August 23, 2008 @08:32PM (#24722871)

    Section 7.1 of the article covers an often-overlooked part of the LGPL. If you include LGPL libraries as part of your application, the EULA must permit reverse engineering to debug the application if the end user modifies the library and uses the modified version, instead of the version that came with the software.

    I suspect that there is a lot of software out there that includes LGPL libraries, but has a blanket "no reverse engineering" clause in the license agreement.

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