Grits 
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 Grits

+ >

+ >
+ > >     For most Forth applications, the underlying Forth system is
+ > >really just a dinner plate. It is something that the author of
+ > >the application needs to deliver his work to others.
+ > >
+ > >     When you cook a meal and serve it on a dinner plate, what do
+ > >you get?  You may tell me you get an enhanced version of a dinner
+ > >plate -- but I think you get a meal being served on a plate....
+
+ This is a pretty nice analogy!
+
+ If you come to my house for dinner, I do not expect you to take home the
+ dishes.  I offered you hospitality and dinner, not free china.
+ Similarly, our software products are intended to help you make and
+ distribute applications, not Forth development systems.


Elizabeth Rather's comment, but I don't think it is a reply to
what I was saying -- even though the quotes suggest it.

       In my original story, I was concerned about a dinner plate
supplier trying to use legalism to force his personal taste in
food on a restaurant owner -- I was supposing the customary use
of dinner plates to deliver food. I don't think any subtle legal
issues are involved here. It seems more a matter of common sense
and perhaps a concept of "fair usage".

      Dinner plates are necessary in a restaurant -- and they are
customarily used as a vehicle for delivering food to the
customers.  It is fair usage if a dinner plate is used to serve
food, it is gathered after the meal, and washed and reused. We
all acknowledge that what arrives at the diner's table is a
combination of food and dinner plate -- but so what.  In my
opinion the plates are being used in a fair manner, there is no
injury to the plate manufacturer if the restaurant owner does not
want to serve grits. I really don't understand legal nonsense
that everything is OK if the people eating in the restaurant
themselves put the food on the plate -- but not if the chef does.

          Monsieur, "Chez Henri" is not a cafeteria!

     Let me say that I, personally, would never distribute any
Forth system or part thereof without the consent of its authors.
I am not interested, right now, in using or recommending any
Forth system which does not provide a fair way for distribution
of applications.

     I have seen the policy for SwiftForth -- it essentially
says:

         It cost us to produce this system.  It would harm
         us to have programmers give it away.  We are interested
         in having you use it to distribute applications.  So
         you may include it as runtime support in your
         applications provided you disable the ability for it to
         be used as a development system. It is up to the
         programmer to decide how best to do this.

This is a paraphrase, and you should read the original yourself.
But I think it is notable in acknowledging that the purpose of
buying a development system is to write applications. It makes
the issue of fair usage simple:  "You may use our system to
distribute your applications if you do us no harm". I also like
the fact that it recognizes the intelligence and integrity of
the programmer. I would like to believe that most of us do not
intend any harm -- and that this will prove far more powerful
than pages of legal technicalities.

Quote:
Anton Ertl writes:
> The dinner plate is another attempt by John Wavrik to convince
> us that the GPL or our interpretation of it are wrong.  What's
> common to all his attemps is that he uses analogies that don't
> involve copyright. If he does not like copyright law, he should
> not complain to us, but to his congressman.

    I believe that Bernd Paysan was the one who professed not to
understand me.  The dinner plate analogy was an attempt to make
clear what is at issue. I'm sorry you don't understand it,
because it about as clear as I can get. I did feel it was worth
another stab to explain the heart of the matter.

    This thread started when someone asked about distributing
applications with a GPL Forth. I did, last year, look into the
implications of the GPL -- and I came away with an impression
that the GPL was not designed for languages that require runtime
support or for applications targeted outside the community of
computer programmers. I don't think these are inflammatory
statements.

    I'm really sorry that Anton Ertl seems to be turning this
into a personal matter.  I actually have not been on a soapbox
nor have I made many contributions to the thread. I did point out
that the word "free" is used by the FSF in a technical way -- and
I have tried to focus attention on the overall issues.

    The main question raised is whether an author is put at a
disadvantage by writing an application in a GPL Forth as opposed
to a GPL "C". Anton Ertl's contributions have quite effective in
making the case.

     The complexity of the legal fine points which have been
discussed in this thread is persuasive evidence for the need for
a better license. I really don't think a professor should have to
hire a copyright lawyer or write to his congressman to find out
if he can use an application he has written with one of his
classes.

     I applaud Forth, Inc. for the approach it has taken in the
license for SwiftForth.

                                        John J Wavrik

                                        Univ of Calif - San Diego
                                        La Jolla, CA  92093-0112



Fri, 30 Mar 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 Grits

Quote:
> Anton Ertl writes:
> > The dinner plate is another attempt by John Wavrik to convince
> > us that the GPL or our interpretation of it are wrong.  What's
> > common to all his attemps is that he uses analogies that don't
> > involve copyright. If he does not like copyright law, he should
> > not complain to us, but to his congressman.

>     I believe that Bernd Paysan was the one who professed not to
> understand me.  The dinner plate analogy was an attempt to make
> clear what is at issue. I'm sorry you don't understand it,
> because it about as clear as I can get. I did feel it was worth
> another stab to explain the heart of the matter.
>...  
>     The main question raised is whether an author is put at a
> disadvantage by writing an application in a GPL Forth as opposed
> to a GPL "C". Anton Ertl's contributions have quite effective in
> making the case.

        I think (_appropos_ the discussions of REQUIRED and wordsets)
that sometimes the legacy of previous discussions on a topic puts the
wrong context in place for interpretating a new discussion on that topic.

        - I don't recall whether John argued, the last time this came up,
that it was a mis-interpretation of the GPL to say that an "ordinary
turnkey" application falls under the GPL. But he hasn't argued that point
in the current discussion.
        - I don't recall whether John made any arguments opposed to the
GPL in general in the previous discussion. But he hasn't argued that point
in the current discussion.

        The crux of the discussion is the point that the GPL is
*functionally* different for Forth and C compilers. He and I have both
argued that a gnu forth 'ought' to be licensed in a way that doesn't
*disadvantage* it compared to a GPL'd C compiler. I fail to see how that
either disputes the interpretation of the GPL as applied to a Forth
compiler, or how it argues that the GPL is 'wrong'. Quite the opposite. If
the 'bug' is a discrepency between the implications of the GPL for the two
development environments, and the *fix* is to arrive at a forth license
that is the *functional* equivalent of a GPL'd C compiler with an LGPL'd
library, that implies that there is something basically right (or at least
"OK") about the GPL in the context for which it was developed.
        As with any bug, you can fix it, work around it, live with it, or
use something else. Several work arounds have been suggested. As far as I
can tell from what John has written, its not a satisfactory tool for his
use until the bug is fixed. I'm probably willing to live with a work
around - as long as it works all the way around 8-)# - but the status of
gforth as a second class citizen among GNU development languages ... well,
it bugs me (PTP).

Virtually,

Bruce R. McFarling, Newcastle, NSW



Sat, 31 Mar 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 Grits

Quote:

>      The complexity of the legal fine points which have been
> discussed in this thread is persuasive evidence for the need for
> a better license. I really don't think a professor should have to
> hire a copyright lawyer or write to his congressman to find out
> if he can use an application he has written with one of his
> classes.

     To me, the above strikes at one of the key issues with
regard to the GNU GPL:  If the license is so difficult to
understand that many people find it difficult to comprehend
it and its implications, then the license is flawed.  This
particular flaw is independent of whether the license terms
and their implications are otherwise sound.

Quote:
>      I applaud Forth, Inc. for the approach it has taken in the
> license for SwiftForth.

     Contrast the clarity of the GNU GPL with the clarity of
Borland's "No nonsense licnese" ("treat it like a book") and
the clarity of the SwiftForth license.

     To continue further than even the people who agree with
my above comments might be willing to go, I think it is interesting
to ask whether the GNU GPL's lack of clarity is deliberate
in order to hide some of its implications.

  -- Frank



Sat, 31 Mar 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 Grits

Quote:
> the clarity of the SwiftForth license.

>      To continue further than even the people who agree with
> my above comments might be willing to go, I think it is interesting
> to ask whether the GNU GPL's lack of clarity is deliberate
> in order to hide some of its implications.

>   -- Frank


Never ascribe to malice that which can by adequately explained by
incompetence.
    -LenZ-


Sun, 01 Apr 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 Grits


Quote:


> >      The complexity of the legal fine points which have been
> > discussed in this thread is persuasive evidence for the need for
> > a better license. I really don't think a professor should have to
> > hire a copyright lawyer or write to his congressman to find out
> > if he can use an application he has written with one of his
> > classes.

The GPL does not discuss use. You are free to use a GPLed program in
any way you want. The GPL only discusses copying, distribution and
modification.

Quote:
>      To me, the above strikes at one of the key issues with
> regard to the GNU GPL:  If the license is so difficult to
> understand that many people find it difficult to comprehend
> it and its implications, then the license is flawed.

I guess part of the comprehension problem is that this license is
unusual, because it has unusual goals: "The licenses for most
software are designed to take away your freedom to share and change
it.  By contrast, the GNU General Public License is intended to
guarantee your freedom to share and change free software--to make sure
the software is free for all its users."

As Jeff Raskin says: "Intuitive = familiar". The GPL is unfamiliar, so
it is somewhat unintuitive.

Quote:
> >      I applaud Forth, Inc. for the approach it has taken in the
> > license for SwiftForth.

>      Contrast the clarity of the GNU GPL with the clarity of
> Borland's "No nonsense licnese" ("treat it like a book") and
> the clarity of the SwiftForth license.

Please post URLs or the text for these licenses, so we can all admire
their clarity.

However, the fact that Borland's license refers to a familiar model
(book) indicates that it's authors thought people would have
comprehension problems otherwise.

- anton
--
M. Anton Ertl                    Some things have to be seen to be believed

http://www.complang.tuwien.ac.at/anton/home.html



Wed, 04 Apr 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 Grits

Quote:





>> >      The complexity of the legal fine points which have been
>> > discussed in this thread is persuasive evidence for the need for
>> > a better license. I really don't think a professor should have to
>> > hire a copyright lawyer or write to his congressman to find out
>> > if he can use an application he has written with one of his
>> > classes.
>The GPL does not discuss use. You are free to use a GPLed program in
>any way you want. The GPL only discusses copying, distribution and
>modification.

        But using a program with one of my classes will involve mucho
copying and distribution, although preferably not modification. It
will have to go onto all of the lab computers at least, will have to
be available for download from the Uni web site for distance
education, and will be copied out by any student who wishes for home.
        Note that I am *not* arguing that the GPL gets in the way of
this, just that the GPL cannot be ignored when considering using a
program *with* a class (I already seem to have built a rep as a GPL
opponent in hoping for a license with functions equivalent to the GPL
and LGPL when applied to gcc and glibc).

Virtually,

Bruce McFarling, Newcastle,



Thu, 05 Apr 2001 03:00:00 GMT  
 
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