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Should the GPL be Used as a Click-Wrap? 200

swillden asks: "I've come across an increasing number of GPL programs lately that display an EULA-style click-wrap agreement during installation. While not exactly wrong, this seems like a bad idea to me, since it perpetuates the idea that you must agree to some arbitrary set of conditions in order to install and use a piece of software. In this case the conditions are very liberal (there are none, really), but still it reinforces the notion that you can't install a package unless you agree. The FSF says that such click-wrapping is neither required nor forbidden but it seems like a bad idea to promote the click-wrap meme, even if the license is user-friendly. Does Slashdot have strong thoughts on this matter?"
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Should the GPL be Used as a Click-Wrap?

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  • Summary... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vo0k ( 760020 ) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @07:56PM (#16439937) Journal
    Click-wrap of GPL is one thing. Forcing you to click "agree" to install is another.
    Display the license, fine. Don't write "by using this software you agree..." just "this software is distributed under the following conditions". And allow clicking "forward" without any prerequisites.

    • Re:Summary... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Vo0k ( 760020 ) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @07:59PM (#16439955) Journal
      actually, writing in nice red bold letters "You don't have to agree to these terms to use this software" under the license block would create an interesting "WTF" situation where people would get interested in "what kind of license is that?" and possibly create some positive publicity.
      • by mctk ( 840035 ) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @08:21PM (#16440081) Homepage
        The real WTF situation would be when people start reading those things carefully enough to have a WTF situation.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TheSpoom ( 715771 ) *
        Inevitably that would be read by some sleazy corporate types as saying that the software is effectively public domain and that they could do what they wanted with it, since they didn't have to agree to the GPL.

        We both know this is incorrect and that the GPL is still binding on distribution, not usage, but it would generally cause trouble.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by swillden ( 191260 ) *

          We both know this is incorrect and that the GPL is still binding on distribution, not usage, but it would generally cause trouble.

          Only for as long as it took said corporate types to have a discussion with their attorney, after receiving a cease and desist letter from the software's copyright holder. There's a good reason that so few GPL disputes have made it anywhere near a courtroom, you know.

    • by doti ( 966971 )
      Better yet, just something like this:

          THIS PROGRAM IS FREE FOR YOU TO USE

              Read the actual terms [ here ],
      specially if you'll distribute or modify it.

                                  [ CONTINUE ]

      The [ here ] button opens the GPL text.
      (I tried to add a box around the window,
      but was not in the mood to fight the lame filter)
      • Better yet: Don't waste my time prompting me with crap every time I want to install software.

        Imagine if your favourite *nix package manager, ports tree, or build system prompted you with "legal info" for every single piece of software you tried to install. Or every library.

        Click-wrap is the some of the most annoying and pointless bullshit users put up with, and they really shouldn't have to.

        • by doti ( 966971 )
          hey, calm down... :)

          We are not talking about *every* install, not even to enforce such prompot. Each author decides if he will use it, just like it choose the licence.

          And cmdline installation methods wouldn't prompt, they suppose you know what you're doing.
          This dialog thing is meant for end users who click on a package icon on his KDE/Gnome file browser, or run an installation binary.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            Why would using the CLI mean you know anything about copyright law?

            Anyway, the point is that it's crappy user interface design.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by bcrowell ( 177657 )

            The grandparent post is right.

            We are not talking about *every* install, not even to enforce such prompot. Each author decides if he will use it, just like it choose the licence.
            Distros are supposed to have standards for how to install software. On Debian, for example, the standards include a requirement that the program have a man page, and play nicely with apt. Individual authors should not be going around imposing crap like this on a case by case basis. Next thing you know, we'll start seeing, on a ca

            • by miyako ( 632510 )
              I disagree, and here is why:
              In order for people to fight for freedom, they essentially need to know two things: first they need to know what freedom is, and second they need to know that they don't have it. As this applies to free software, people need to understand what it means for software to be free, and they have to understand how people and companies go about taking away that freedom.
              People are pretty much used to shrinkwrap EULAs, I would be surprised if anyone ever actually read the license that
          • by Arker ( 91948 )
            Actually, on the Mac, it does do this for every "installer" (although fortunately a good portion of programs don't need an installer - well, actually almost none do, but some use it anyway.) I always found it quite funny. OSX is BUILT on free software from the ground up, they can hardly claim they weren't aware of it, but the installer program (it reads .pkg files, essentially the same idea as .rpm or .deb) rigidly follows the protocol "display license, only proceed when agree is clicked." So there is the l
            • You're not agreeing to the licence, you're agreeing that you've read and understood it.
              • by Arker ( 91948 )
                No, actually I'm clicking a stupid button to continue the install. I'm not agreeing to anything.
        • This is good on Linux, where you KNOW everything you install is GNU unless stated otherwise and present in non-free directory (in which case you're usually presented with the licese during first launch, even worse than during install.) On Windows, where you live in a mix of very different licenses, and most of them restrictive about using the program, not just distribution, knowing what license a given program is, is more important. Of course if there was an installer in windows where you pick software by l
    • by BiggyP ( 466507 )
      There was one windows FOSS installer, can't remember which app it belonged to, which replaced the 'I Agree' button with a 'Great!' or 'Cool!' button, to make it clearer that you don't actually need to agree to the license terms in order to use GPL'd software. In reality it didn't make things any clearer but it was a nice idea.
    • by jZnat ( 793348 ) *
      Someone needs to talk to Apple then because their standard .pkg installer provides an API to show an EULA for the user to agree to. Whenever I install free software on a Mac, I chortle when I see that I need to "accept the terms of the GPL" just to use the program when I know that's not true.

      At least the licence is headed with "GNU General Public License" so I don't actually have to read it for the millionth time.
  • I think for corporate packaging, it should require the "I agree". It's more of a CYA thing to do.
    • by jc42 ( 318812 )
      ..., it should require the "I agree". It's more of a CYA thing to do.

      Well, maybe, but people do routinely point out that the GPL doesn't require that you agree with its provisions. If you don't agree, you simply don't follow the extra rights that it gives you. You just use the software like you would anything else, under the terms of your local copyright laws. You don't need anyone's permission to do that. And it doesn't matter whether or not you agree with the copyright laws; they are in effect whether
      • > So how does any user clicking add any CYA aspect to the GPL?

        The only way I can see this as CYA is in a corporate environment, it would protect (in a very small way) the distributor from accusations by someone who reused the code in an application that was released in a way that contravened the GPL.

        I've seen some corporate lawyers go bats over developers and techies who downloaded tools, and some of the developers tried to claim they were unaware of licensing limitations on copying the code.

        Just a thoug
  • Stupid (Score:5, Informative)

    by sqlrob ( 173498 ) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @08:06PM (#16439991)
    I think it's stupid and laugh everytime I see it. From the GPL:
    Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not covered by this License; they are outside its scope. The act of running the Program is not restricted, and the output from the Program is covered only if its contents constitute a work based on the Program (independent of having been made by running the Program). Whether that is true depends on what the Program does.
    • not stupid at all (Score:3, Insightful)

      by oohshiny ( 998054 )
      The click-through is usually not required when you run the program, it's required when you install it. And, yes, that's a sensible point to display it, because that's (1) when you might naturally decide to request the source from the person that gave you the installer, and (2) when you might decide that you didn't want to agree to the GPL and can destroy the software.

      Generally, I'm against installers that require any interaction; I think they are a nuisance. But since they are standard on Windows and Maci
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by swillden ( 191260 ) *

        when you might decide that you didn't want to agree to the GPL and can destroy the software.

        It's fine if you don't want to agree to the GPL, but why would you then destroy the software? The only reason to get rid of the software is if you decide you don't like it and don't want to use it. You can choose not to accept the terms of the GPL and still use it, because the GPL doesn't impose any terms unless you modify or distribute the program.

        • People working at places like Microsoft may be prohibited from using GPL'ed software and will likely stop the installer once the GPL license is displayed.

          People like me will likely stop the installer if it doesn't say that the software is covered by some open source license.

          Giving people up-front information about what the license and redistribution terms are is important for everybody: both open source users and open source foes.
  • by TeknoHog ( 164938 ) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @08:07PM (#16440003) Homepage Journal

    First of all, as Vo0k pointed out, there has to be a way to install and use without actually agreeing anything. However...

    People are used to going through EULAs, so it's not necessarily like it makes GPL software look worse. It might be a nice place to advertise the idea of Free software, since most people are probably not aware of the difference. The GPL already has a phrase about how it gives you more rights than copyright, it should stand out at the beginning. I'm sure it would give a pleasant surprise to some people, and make some of them dig deeper into OSS.

    • People dont 'go through the EULA', they just click on a button to make the stupid thing go away.

      less then 1% actualy read any of that stuff.

      It might even backfire ' see, this free stuff isnt really free, it had some legal jargon i had to click ok for '
      • When I run commercial software I see lots of stupid ads, lots of stupid splash screens, lots of stupid EULAs.
        When I run free software I see no adds, few splash screens and no EULAs.

        It is part of what makes free software different. Giving up and saying "okay, we'll have EULAs too is like saying, okay, we'll have DRM too, we'll just default to setting everything off." You lose an opportunity to make users think 'hey, cool, no stupid licence I have to scroll through without reading.'
    • People are used to going through EULAs

      But that's exactly the issue, and why I asked the question. People *are* used to going through EULA's, and that's something that is wrong with the state of software today. The point is that the GPL offers a better way, a way that not only allows modification and redistribution, but also a way that specifically does not require you to agree to any pile of legalese in order to use a piece of software that you obtained legally.

      My position is that GPL authors should

  • by mellon ( 7048 ) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @08:10PM (#16440021) Homepage
    So in that sense, a click-through is a good idea. Whether it needs to be twenty paragraphs of legalese is another story. It might help to spread the word if instead of seeing the GPL, you just see some plain english, like this:

    This is Free Software. What that means is that you are Free to use it, and others are Free to use it as well. This software is licensed under the GNU Public License. Briefly, this means that if you modify or redistribute this software, the only freedom that you do not have is the freedom to restrict others' freedom to use and share this software.

    [Done]

    I don't think there's anything wrong with encouraging people to know what they are getting into, and with trying to help them to understand what the point of free software is. I think that showing them a copy of the GPL in its full detail is probably not the best way to do that, but I think a better way to undermine the idea of long legalese that you click through to get to use some piece of software is a short click-through, rather than no click-through. No click-through doesn't really say anything at all.
    • You do not have to abide by the terms of the GPL. The GPL is not a contract. You merely need to obey copyright law (in the USA, at least). End of story.

      ...Except for one small thing. The GPL is a license that might give you permission to copy a piece of software (that you would otherwise be disallowed from copying), if you meet certain conditions.

      • by mellon ( 7048 )
        The GPL is a license. You have to abide by the terms of the license, or when you make a copy of the code you are violating the law. The terms of the license are pretty reasonable, and it's relatively unlikely that an average person would unknowingly violate them, but that doesn't mean you don't have to follow them. You're right that it's not a contract, but it is a license.
  • by dircha ( 893383 ) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @08:14PM (#16440045)
    Most users may not even know about the GPL. They just downloaded that CD ripping software or audio software or game off of Sourceforge because it was free as in beer.

    Even if these users don't usually redistribute or modify and redistribute, if they are made aware of the GPL they might favor or even seek out GPL software over freeware or shareware software in the future because they feel good about the using software that shows this respect to them.

    However, it can be done incorrectly. For example, users should not have to click an "I Agree" button in order to use GPLd software because the GPL does impose any restrictions on use.
    • by fotbr ( 855184 )
      "might favor or even seek out GPL software over freeware"

      Over freeware? To a geek, maybe. But geeks are already aware of the GPL, AND the flamewar surrounding GPL3. To a typical clueless end user, they're both free, and beyond that, they don't give a damn.
      • I find that although that argument sounds right, it isn't really. I find that most freeware is often very bad, and usually contains some sort of ads or stupid restrictions that stop me from getting a quality piece of software. Sure there's some good free software like WinAmp (used to be good, haven't used it in years since switching to Linux, Aramok rules) but for the most stuff, the majority of free, non open source software you find on the internet is terrible. I know that when I download something that
        • by fotbr ( 855184 )
          I think you're confusing "freeware" with "adware" or "trial versions" -- Everything I've done that wasn't done for work gets released as "freeware", no ads, no time-limits or missing features, just no source code included.

          There's a lot of true freeware out there thats not open source -- if I were you I wouldn't be so dismissive of closed-source software since you might miss good stuff for the sake of ideology. Then again, if the ideology behind open source is worth more to you, I can respect that choice as
          • I'm confusing freeware with adware and trial versions because people often try to pawn off adware and trial versions, or software that installs 10 other things I didn't want as "freeware". The point is, is that there's no easy way to find free software that isn't adware/trial. You can go to download.com and search, and sometimes stuff says it's freeware, but when you install it, you quickly find out it is not. Looking on SourceForge and FreshMeat I find is the only reliable way to find good free software
            • by fotbr ( 855184 )
              As long as you realize that your continuing to refer to adware, trial versions, and spyware-laden stuff as freeware isn't helping the issue any, fair enough -- there isn't a central location for true freeware, though one would be useful.

              That said, a case can be made that anything using the GPL isn't truely "free" either, since there are still limitations attached (though the limitations are on the distribution and use of source, NOT in the use of the software from an end-user standpoint). Or the Apache lic
              • I'm not the one referring to adware, trialversions and spyware-laden as freeware. It's the publishers and distributors of the software. For me, the term freeware has lost all meaning. It's really too bad for people who do release true freeware. There are sites that distribute true freeware. For me those sites happen to be Sourceforge and Freshmeat, and the software happens to be open source as well. Any other site that i've seen offereing "Freeware" usually just offers adware/trialware/spyware, and has
    • by coaxial ( 28297 )
      However, it can be done incorrectly. For example, users should not have to click an "I Agree" button in order to use GPLd software because the GPL does impose any restrictions on use.

      Worse than that, the GPL expressly forbids such a thing. From section 5 of the GPL [gnu.org]:

      5. You are not required to accept this License, since you have not signed it.

      So the Irony of Ironies is that those developers that stick the GPL into an installer that requires you to agree to the license before installation, are in fact violat

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by djmurdoch ( 306849 )
        So the Irony of Ironies is that those developers that stick the GPL into an installer that requires you to agree to the license before installation, are in fact violating their own license.

        Just because the button says you need to click it to use the software doesn't mean you do. You're perfectly free to modify the installer to remove that requirement.

        So you're not violating the GPL by including such a button. You'd be violating the GPL if you enforced it.

        Still, it's not very honest to tell users they can'
    • actually there should be a wrink wrap licence and two buttons
      Button one: GO TO PAYMENT (5)
      Button two: Read the Fine Licence

      This would enable people that enjoy being ignorant to be parted with a small amount of money
      and people that are either allready knowledgable or just willing to learn to use the "Free (as in speach)" freely (as in beer)

      It's certainly a bad idea, but I'm still happy I had it :-)

  • ...to it, even when I put the GPL on the installer of one of the programs I work on, as a click through.
    I see EULA's not as legal agreements, as I come from The Netherlands - we do ofcourse have contracts, but all are governed by law, and some of the things that are in a contract thus don't necessarily have to apply to you as a user - you also have to sign a contract to accept it.

    I see EULA's much more as an understanding between the user and the developer - an expectation. In the case of GPL, the click t
  • The GPL isn't a contract. There is nothing to agree to. It's terms under which you may redistribute the software. If you do redistribute you have to follow those terms, if you don't you're committing copyright violation.

    The GPL is irrelevent to someone who is simply using a piece of software.
  • Bad idea (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @08:21PM (#16440079)

    It is not necessary for somebody to agree to a license in order to use a piece of software under USA law. Copies for the purpose of use is not copyright infringement [copyright.gov].

    The idea that you need special permission to use software you have already bought is abhorrent and contradicts property law. Every effort should be made to stamp it out. Doubly so when that software is given to you freely.

  • by cortana ( 588495 ) <sam@robots[ ]g.uk ['.or' in gap]> on Saturday October 14, 2006 @08:27PM (#16440125) Homepage
    No one seems to have mentioned the LARGE CAPITOL LETTER SECTION of the GPL that tells you that the author disclaims responsitibility from any damage caused by the program, etc.

    Given the choice between inserting the GPL into the EULA section of commonly used installer software, or opening themselves up to huge potential liability, I can't blame software distributors for weaseling out and going with the status quo.
    • by ChaosDiscord ( 4913 ) * on Sunday October 15, 2006 @12:30AM (#16441373) Homepage Journal
      Given the choice between inserting the GPL into the EULA section of commonly used installer software, or opening themselves up to huge potential liability,...

      Of course, this isn't a binary choice. You're perfectly free to excerpt the disclaimer and display just that. Indeed, the example offered for people adding the GPL to their program is quite short. The GPL's "How to apply [gnu.org]" section specifically suggests showing this short message when your program starts. For reference, here's the suggestion. It's short enough that mroe people will read it, it clearly warns that users get no warranty and provide directions on how to see the full disclaimer. It also tells users of their free software rights, and gives directions on learning about that as well.

      Gnomovision version 69, Copyright (C) year name of author Gnomovision comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY; for details type `show w'. This is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it under certain conditions; type `show c' for details.

      (Obviously you're supposed to change the "show w" and "show c" to something else if appropriate, say "Select Help > Warranty" and "Select Help > License".)

      • MOD PARENT UP (Score:3, Interesting)

        by swillden ( 191260 ) *

        This is an excellent suggestion. It's short, sweet, and follows the recommendations from the FSF. Couple it with the other suggestion to do away with the "Accept" and "Cancel" buttons and replace them with a "Cool!" or "Great!" button, and I think you have an approach that:

        1. Gives users the information they need, including the lack of warranty.
        2. Gives users a significantly *different* experience than they're used to with commercial software.
        3. Makes clear that this software is distributed in a way which is
  • by kst ( 168867 )
    I once installed some GPLed software (sorry, I don't remember what it was) that displayed the GPL as if it were a EULA. But rather than having "Accept" and "Don't accept" buttons, it has a single button labeled "Cool!".
  • Now the long answer:

    There is nothing forbiding you from asking the user to accept the license, although it is a bit confusing, since the user doesn't have to accept it to use the software.

    But the problem with that dialog is that it makes it difficult to bundle software. Imagine what would happen if all the libraries you use showed a dialog to the user at install time. I guess nobody would use your software, ever (that is not a hypotetical situation, you can see it by downloading DevC++ and instaling a few

  • The GPL shouldn't be presented as an EULA, because it isn't one. Sections 0 and 5 both make it abundantly clear that you do not need to agree to the GPL to merely use the software. Presenting the GPL as an EULA isn't consistent with those sections.

    In fact, the software's author may even argue that a distributor who presents the GPL as an EULA where declining it causes the software to not be installed is in fact violating the GPL themselves. The requirement to agree with the GPL before use would be an addit

  • It may not be the fault of the distributor/packager of the software that the GPL shows up as a click-through EULA (well, not directly at least). Don't a lot of prepackaged installers (InstallShield, Nullsoft, etc) have a default field to fill in for a EULA? Perhaps it's just that whomever made the installer wants to put SOMETHING there to fill space and look special, not knowing that it's truly not needed (assuming you can't get away with leaving it empty). Or they think their program will look immature
  • Sticking in default Windows installers may be convenient but is stupid as you are reinforcing the proprietary and anti-social behaviour where people are encouraged to lie - "Click if you have read and agree to this licence" - even though they know the average person hasn't read it and is not capable of understanding it, let alone agreeing to it.
  • How much of this can be attributed to people using a 3rd party installer, that has a "Paste the distribution license here" field when they build the distribution package?

    That's always been my assumption when I've seen the GPL in a click-through....

    grnbrg.
  • Anytime a GPLed work has such a clickwrap, it's trivial to patch the work such that it no longer displays the clickwrap. Most distributions (I know Debian does in a few cases) should be doing this already, because clickwraps are annoying and generally get in the way of users actually using the programs that they have installed.
  • by ClosedSource ( 238333 ) * on Saturday October 14, 2006 @10:07PM (#16440687)
    I think everybody here understands that the GPL doesn't put any restrictions on running the software and that the GPL isn't a EULA.

    Having said that a "click-through" agreement doesn't automatically imply a EULA even if in practice it usually is. Since GPL'd software is either distributed with source or available to the user on request and the GPL puts specific restrictions on the use of that source code, it's entirely appropriate that the receiver of this bundled (binary and source) product be made conspicuously aware of and agree to all the terms that they may be bound by.

    In short the value of a click-through agreement is exactly the same whether it is a closed source EULA or the GPL: it informs the individual receiving the software of possible legal limitations and makes it much more difficult to for that individual to claim ignorance of the license.
  • Solution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Inmatarian ( 814090 )
    This software is licenced according to
    the terms of the General Public License.
    Please read the file COPYING for more
    information.
    [Previous] [Next]

    IANAL, But my understanding of the GPL is that is only applies to the distibution of modified source code and binaries, and not to the actual use of said program. So, technically there's nothing for the end user to agree or disagree with, it's the ones who take part in the development and modification of the software who are bound by the terms. In which case,
  • The bottom line... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by petrus4 ( 213815 ) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @10:48PM (#16440851) Homepage Journal
    ...is that if people want to add clickwraps, they're going to whether the GPL allows it or not.

    I don't like clickwraps myself, but that's irrelevant. The point is that commercially minded types (and especially commercially minded types who've had development experience on Windows) often *are* inclined to use them. I also (unlike certain hard leftists we know about who will remain nameless, at least for the moment) do not fundamentally object to people making money from software. For those of you who are going to point me to this [gnu.org], it'd be great if it was still true...but from what I've read recently, Stallman's position on commercial software in any form seems to have changed to one of opposition.

    If the GPL was really a license all developers wanted, we wouldn't be seeing (at least conscious) violations. This is yet another logical inconsistency inherent in referring to this license as free. (unless of course you subscribe to the Stallmanite definition of that word, which I do not)

    A license which genuinely allowed people to do what they wanted would not have or need a website like gpl-violations.org associated with it. (Note to the usual Stallmanite zombies reading this; I am not interested in hearing a regurgitation of Stallman's "total freedom devolves into feudalism," line...primarily because said line is utter bullshit. This can be proven by the number of projects which have managed to survive and function well with non-copyleft licenses...or did until some of them caved to pressure from Stallman to "harmonise" their own licenses with the GPL)

    The bottom line is that for as long as the GPL legislates downstream use, it will continue to be violated, because legislation of downstream use (for good *or* bad) is not in accordance with the greater balance of human desire. It might be something which a certain number of people are willing to tolerate, and which a Marxist minority actively want, but it isn't something that the majority want. Of course, believe otherwise if you want...but you might notice contrary evidence continues piling up.

    Ask yourself...and think long and hard about this. Do the FSF currently endorse that which you really want? It could be just me, but there honestly seems to have been a change in their behaviour in the last 2-3 years. The tone of the gnu.org site to me has become a lot more strident.

    Not only is Linux becoming more popular anyway, but with the Vista release looming, and Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage and other DRM having been reported as being parts of it, I wouldn't be surprised to find that Stallman (at least secretly) could feel as though he potentially has almost the entire computer using population of the planet over a barrel right now. It would certainly explain a few things...the extra stuff in the GPL v3, and the change of the FSF's tone to one that is becoming far more aggressive and confrontational. The mask is coming off, because they're feeling large and in charge...and as though they've got nothing to lose.

    Once again, I know I'm going to get the usual response from Stallman's supporters on here that I have no idea what I'm talking about...and for once I will concede, they could be right.

    Most of the time, Stallman appears to be the kindly, altruistic, slightly eccentric genius that his followers think he is, and which they want the rest of us to see him as. Every so often though...and I've noticed it happens more regularly lately...the mask cracks ever so slightly.

    What I (and some others, I know) see through those cracks truly is not pretty.
    • The GPL aims to restrict only one "freedom": the freedom to restrict other people's freedoms. It says simply that if I as the original author granted everyone certain freedoms, you as a distributor or modifier of my code are not free to take away those freedoms and if you try you lose your right to be a distributor or modifier. Certainly this restricts your freedoms, but most people using the GPL don't see that as anything worse than laws against theft restricting the freedom of thieves to steal.

    • by mav[LAG] ( 31387 )
      ...is that if people want to add clickwraps, they're going to whether the GPL allows it or not.

      The GPL has no legal force outside that granted by copyright law. It's just permission granted to you to copy, modify and distribute software you received under its terms. It has nothing to say about usage or clickwraps.

      For those of you who are going to point me to this, it'd be great if it was still true...but from what I've read recently, Stallman's position on commercial software in any form seems to have chang
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Let's say a user receives a GPL program on 2 cds, one with the binaries, and the other with the source. He installs the binary, really likes the program and tells all his friends about it. They all want a copy now so he gives then a copy of the 1st cd. It is not important to know the HE is legally responsible to ensure in that his friends can obtain a copy of the source CD up until the time that the copyright expires. Otherwise, he is in violation of the GPL (ie. violation of copyright laws) by not distribu
  • Relief! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by WgT2 ( 591074 )

    I'm actually releaved when I know that the software I'm installing is GPL (for certain). So, seeing that pop up is merely confirmation to me that I can go ahead and freely use the software and to a much lesser extent, modify it, etc.

    As far as licensing goes, any thing you produce should be immediately copyrighted or smacked with a license, GPL, BSD, or otherwise, so that you may retain whatever power you wanted over it, lest someone else stumble upon it.

    So, I think I should not expect to see a EULA e

    • by Bloater ( 12932 )
      > As far as licensing goes, any thing you produce should be immediately copyrighted or smacked with a license, GPL, BSD, or otherwise, so that you may retain whatever power you wanted over it, lest someone else stumble upon it.

      In the country I live in and in many others, any work is automatically copyrighted, and all rights reserved by default. That means if you receive something, unless you are told otherwise, you may not copy it except as required to use it, you many not show it publically, etc.
  • Everytime a program displays a click-wrap GPL it shows that the developer has a fundamental misunderstanding of just what the GPL is. It's a source license, not a user license. There's no restrictions on what you can do when running the software, just on what you can do with source code. Frankly, I think the rise of clik-wrap GPLs are just some dev wanting to look 1337 since every other program he has a click through license.
  • I have to disagree (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pugugly ( 152978 ) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @07:33AM (#16442877)
    The point of a standard click to install EULA is that, after downloading the program, the license agreement wishes to set terms, a violation of contract law. The contract should be agreed prior to delivery of the product, to remove the rights you would have under the U.S and local laws *after* payment should be formally illegal.

    This is not what the GPL does - the GPL states after the fact that you have you're regular rights under U.S. law as you should. In addition to those rights, if you are willing to be bound by the limits of the GPL, you have additional rights. This is in fact an additional negotiation, and there is nothing unethical about it's being added after the initial delivery. The GPL is doing it exactly right, as it *should* be done under the law.

    What *needs* to be done is get the other use invalidated.

    Pug
  • I'm told by our OS X packager (Gutenprint [gutenprint.org]) that the standard OS X installer template must have a license that it will present and ask for agreement -- essentially, the click-through license is a mandatory field, although you can put whatever you like in there. I don't remember offhand exactly what we put in there (since it has been a while since I've installed it on OS X), but I had been thinking of putting the GPL along with a statement up front that merely installing or using Gutenprint does not require
  • Despite arguing [slashdot.org] (with tongue in cheek) that a click-through is a good idea, in the latest release of R [r-project.org] I removed the requirement. The license is still displayed, but there's no requirement to "agree" to it to continue with installation.

    For people who are handling the installers for other projects: this was a one line change to our Inno Setup [jrsoftware.org] script, from

    LicenseFile=${SRCDIR}\\COPYING

    to

    InfoBeforeFile=${SRCDIR}\\COPYING
  • The GPL isnt a EULA (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tweekster ( 949766 ) on Sunday October 15, 2006 @03:28PM (#16445241)
    it doesnt matter to the end user, because it doesnt dictate what a user can do with it.

    it only matters to people that want to develop and or redistribute it.

    The GPL is irrelevant to the user, it doesnt matter to them in any way, shape or form

Nothing ever becomes real until it is experienced. - John Keats

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