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Licencing 
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Joined: 2009-03-18 09:41:54
Posts: 23
Well, I don't know what to think of this, but everyone here should be interested in Marine's latest blog post.
http://realrestraint.blogspot.com/?zx=fb64a31147d4dab7
What is Cool Viewer's position in this? Do you have some sort of agreement with Marine?

I would feel bad if it was the end of RLV in Cool Viewer... (or other viewers, by the way!)


2009-03-18 20:45:38
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Joined: 2009-03-17 18:42:51
Posts: 3502
Marine told me yesterday about her intention to post such a license and made it very clear that this would not impede anyone from producing viewers with RLV support. The important phrase in her license is:
Quote:
I am also talking about the protocol itself ("@detach" etc). Not about the source code of the SL viewer in which the RLV is embedded, nor about the executable which is the result of the compilation.
While licensing a protocol is perhaps a bit borderline (particularly in EU where the concept of "Software Patents" was so far rejected by the parliament), basically, as long as you follow the specifications of the protocol and API, and provide the same command set, with the same features, you can publish your own RLV-compatible viewer.

I must also point out that I have been working myself on RLV with Marine since v1.00, pointing out bugs, providing fixes and code optimizations, giving my opinion on some commands and features, and proposing possible solutions to various issues.

I am also providing a backport for v1.19.0.5 (sometimes an "upport" too, when there are three releases of the Cool SL Viewer, the third being the experimental (RC) branch).

This is why the RLV patches I use in the Cool SL Viewer are usually slightly different from Marine's (they usually differ with some extra bug fixes or minor feature changes, plus all the modifications needed to backport or "upport" the patch to other viewer versions), and she is OK with this as well.

For each new release of Marine's RLV, I provide her with my findings (bugs, incompatibilities with existing devices, etc) and a diff between the version I am using in the Cool SL Viewer and her own, current patch. For Marine, it means another experienced programmer reviewing the code and helping her finding bugs and flaws, and even sometimes providing her ahead of time with the code adaptations and changes needed to integrate her patch in the next version of the viewer (though, she seems to be ahead of me for v1.23 right now :) ).

As for the license of the Cool SL Viewer itself (i.e. the binary), it was a mixed license already (since Linden Lab uses a mixed license for the sources). I simply make sure that I only provide the binary files which can actually be redistributed freely (that's why the Cool SL Viewer is distributed as a difference package, i.e. you need LL's official viewer and overwrite the files which actually differ with the Cool SL Viewer files provided in the package). For example, in the official viewer, Fmod, KDU, the fonts and the voice client are all licensed to Linden Lab and not freely redistributable by third parties.


2009-03-18 22:55:37
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Joined: 2009-03-18 09:41:54
Posts: 23
Well, before I know I can breathe again (^^), I still see a big issue.
Marine says the patch isn't GPL.
But Secondlife is GPL (well, anyway the part of it which is targetted by the patch).
When you patch the second with the first, build it, and distribute the binary, this binary has to be GPL (here I am speaking of the binary in your diff archive, not the full viewer).
This binary being GPL, you are required to distribute its sources (including RLV) under the GPL too.

Because of this, until today, everyone assumed that Marine's patch was implicitly GPL.
Today she says it is not...
It seems that, somewhere, somebody isn't paying attention to every licensing issue...


2009-03-18 23:15:50
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Joined: 2009-03-17 18:42:51
Posts: 3502
Satomi Ahn wrote:
Well, before I know I can breathe again (^^), I still see a big issue.
Marine says the patch isn't GPL.
But Secondlife is GPL (well, anyway the part of it which is targetted by the patch).
When you patch the second with the first, build it, and distribute the binary, this binary has to be GPL (here I am speaking of the binary in your diff archive, not the full viewer).
This binary being GPL, you are required to distribute its sources (including RLV) under the GPL too.

Because of this, until today, everyone assumed that Marine's patch was implicitly GPL.
Today she says it is not...
It seems that, somewhere, somebody isn't paying attention to every licensing issue...

I'm not a GPL fascist, and frankly, all the licensing stuff bothers me to no end...

The SL viewer sources are not pure GPL either, because of the "FLOSS exception" which itself could be seen as a breach into the GPL (since basically, SL reserves itself the right to close and branch the sources of the viewer at some point while retaining all the contributions made by others and therefore not distributing the modifications they would do to these contributions, which is, as far as I know, a violation to the GPL)...

I personally think Open Source should mean "feel free to do whatever you want with it and do not bother with this license the Open Source authors, who are providing you with the fruit of their benevolent work", but I'm not a lawyer and I'm not going to argue here about it (I have no time and no motivation for such sterile arguments).

I'll just make it very clear here once and for all: The Cool SL Viewer is made out of various sources and patches. Some are purely GPL (my patches, for example), others got mixed licensing (the SL viewer sources and the patches coming from the JIRA) or even more exotic (Marine's and perhaps others). So far, none of the authors and license holders made any complaint on the way the Cool SL Viewer is distributed, and I will thoroughly ignore any complaint coming from third parties who are not involved in the writing of the sources or patches used by the Cool SL Viewer (and if any GPL fascist wants to sue me for this, I wish them good luck !).


2009-03-18 23:46:02
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Joined: 2009-03-18 09:41:54
Posts: 23
For now, the important thing is that you have an agreement with Marine, as it means that Cool Viewer can continue like this. I am glad that every current RLV compatible viewer can still exist.

The problem is for possible future third party viewers (here I think in particular of Imprudence viewer). It would be sad if such a project would be prevented to include RLV for dubious licensing issues.
(Yes, SL isn't 100% GPL, but the FLOSS exception only holds for a list of FLOSS licenses, which Marine's is not. The point she made in her latest post makes it clear. If she were to ask someone to stop integrating her patch because of this, she would quickly be made to face the fact she herself violates SL's license.)

My point is: if you are cool with licenses for stuff from other people, then be cool with the license of your stuff too. On the other hand, if you want to seriously restrict the usage of your code (which is clearly what Marine's latest post was about), then be irreproachable with the way you use the work of other people... or you deserve to be exposed to the wrath of GPL fascists!

By the way, the protocol specification is on SL wiki, and thus is under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license.


2009-03-19 01:00:42
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Joined: 2009-03-18 00:38:02
Posts: 37
@Satomi

I see it as the following:
1) The GPL license specifies you have to provide the source code on the same media as a binary created. This media is the internet or here WWW. It doesn't mean you have to provide it on the same website. Alternatively one can provide the sources on written offer. That's what Marine mentioned in her posting.
2) Marine licensed her patch only which is not part of the viewer source and as such not subject to GPL.
3) Marine and Henri provide their sources as patches. Both also provide binaries. At that point the patched sources become subject to GPL as combination of original sources plus applied patch. And at least Henri links to the official LL sources which are on the same media (WWW) as the created binaries, therefore compliant to GPL. Marine probably should add such a link to LL's sources with her binaries too.


2009-03-19 01:40:21
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Joined: 2009-03-18 09:41:54
Posts: 23
Boy, what you say only would make sense if RLV sources could be compiled alone without SL sources, and the binary thus obtained was the one Marine distributes. But as far as I know, RLV is a patch against SL GPL'd code!
Therefore the binary is GPL. Therefore every patch (including RLV) has to be made available under the GPL (or one of the FLOSS licenses in the list).

The only way for Marine to keep her restrictive license and not violate the GPL would be to stop distibuting binaries (or buy a proprietary license to LL...).

Do I get something wrong here?
(hm maybe one thing: here is maybe not the place to discuss this anymore, as Marine is ok with Cool Viewer... still there is something unclear about those licenses, which is a huge opening for FUD)


2009-03-19 02:26:52
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Joined: 2009-03-18 09:32:02
Posts: 221
as far as i understand the licensing here:

SL client sources - GPL
Marine's patch - other license
SL client sources with marines patch applied - GPL (inherited)


2009-03-20 08:51:40
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Joined: 2009-03-18 00:38:02
Posts: 37
Not a lawyer I can only write my opinion as I did and that's pretty much the same as Lance' in short. For sure Marine is not in a violation of GPL for her patch. Sources and usage rights are given. But as Satomi pointed out the patch can not exist standalone and is based on existing GPL code. I know Marine for very long and I know she certainly has only intentions to do things properly and prevent that someone comes and screws up things. Something I can completely understand and support.

What does that mean? Not much, we can continue to use RLV as in the past. But if someone would really want to take her RLV "patch" code and changes it together with the corresponding LL sources, there is not much she could do to enforce her license.

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-2.0.html
4) You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Program except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense or distribute the Program is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License.


2009-03-20 09:14:49
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Joined: 2009-03-18 09:41:54
Posts: 23
I agree with Lance too ;-).
The patch alone can have every possible license.
That does not mean it does not have to be also GPL'd (multilicensing is allowed), because Marine distributes the GPL binary, and the patch is necessary to build it.
The section 3 of the GPL 2.0 uses the words "must be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 " (where the sect 1 says you have to keep the same license).

Some would also argue that a patch by itself is a derivative work. While I am not 100% sure of this myself, this would only be yet another argument implying that Marine must license RLV under the GPL terms (in this case, no multilicensing is possible).

Well, at least that is my understanding of the law (but you will read similar reasonings on Linux Kernel Mailing List).
This must be kept in mind, while one thinks about how to achieve RLV's goals.

I understand the need to keep RLV API consistant, and thus the need to have an "authority" who decides what RLV is.
Marine does a good job at it. However I believe having more people on it would not harm (well at least Henri and Boy, maybe others: RLV scripters also are concerned!). But aren't you (Henri and Boy) already more or less doing this?

Just remark that, for various reasons, a lot of opensource projects are successful with that type of requirements (but every case is different).
What projects? Well, most obviously secondlife server+viewer is one! (successful because it has been closed long enough and during that time the company supporting the protocol used to own all the servers)
But every other piece of libre software implementing an open protocol is also another example (successful because their specs are discussed by separate entities whose members are the main actors of the domain).


2009-03-20 12:34:48
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