#508 THE GPL IS NOT A EULA

open
nobody
None
5
2010-04-20
2010-04-20
Jari Aalto
No

PROBLEM

Thank you for the software.

There is one problem: a dialog box is presented requiring to accept
GPL license before the software can be installed. This misleading and
incorrect use of GPL.

1) Please remove it 2) or adjust that phase.

DETAILS

The installer asks to accept GPL before software is allowed to be
installed.

The GPL is not a restrictive license, but a one, that gives rights.
One of the fundamental rights is to install and use the software for
any purpose. The dialog box is incorrect and cannot deny the right to
install software.

BACKGROUND

In GPL context, buttons like "I accept", "Agree" or "Do not accept",
"Disagree" are invalid. It is not a requirement for the end-user to
accept anything about the software released under GPL in order for him
to be able to 1) install and 2) run ("to use") the software. In this
regard GPL differs from Windows like EULAs; End user License
agreements. The EULAs typically place limits to use of the software
whereas GPL is the opposite: it gives rights.

The GPL is a is a copyleft license and the opposite of EULA. The user
only needs to agree to the GPL if he wishes to copy the software.

THE LAW

GPL falls in domain of copyright law.

From GPL-2 (section 0, paragraph 2): "Activities other than copying,
distribution and modification are not covered by this License"

Thus, the GPL itself does not apply until a user attempts to
distribute, modify, or otherwise create derivatives of the software.

Installing the software doesn't have anything to do with the GPL. One
can disagree with the GPL, write letters to Legistlation and ask
everybody to outlaw the GPL one can still install and use the
software.

SOLUTION

In Windows binary software, the advisable place to notify user about
the software license in under Windows program's menu "Help > About".
In the text displayed under "Help > About" there could be a link to
the GPL site <http://www.gnu.org/licenses> for user to learn more
about the license.

SOLUTION

In Windows binary software, the advisable place to notify user about
the software license in under Windows program's menu "Help > About".
In the text displayed under "Help > About" there could be a link to
the GPL site <http://www.gnu.org/licenses> for user to learn more
about the license.

TECHNICAL

[for InnoSetup] According to Innosetup pages, there are ways to modify the
installation phase. If I understand correct the change is trivial. Use

"InfoBeforeFile=FILE" instead of "LicenseFile=FILE".

An example: http://repo.or.cz/w/msysgit.git?a=commitdiff;h=f66b8578722

REFERENCES

[1] The GPL
[For GPL 3] To help substantiate the point that the GPL is not an
EULA, see GPL-3 license:
<http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/gpl.html#section9>

"9. Acceptance Not Required for Having Copies.

You are not required to accept this License in order to receive or run
a copy of the Program. Ancillary propagation of a covered work
occurring solely as a consequence of using peer-to-peer transmission
to receive a copy likewise does not require acceptance. However,
nothing other than this License grants you permission to propagate or
modify any covered work. These actions infringe copyright if you do
not accept this License. Therefore, by modifying or propagating a
covered work, you indicate your acceptance of this License to do so."

[2] GPL is not EULA thread

Canonical, the Maker of Ubuntu; It's project "bzr" (distributed
version control software) for Windows faced similar dilemma and
they come to the same conclusion: GPL should not be presented as
EULA ("to accept License"), as there is nothing to accept with
GPL, as fas as the installation goes. They Changed the
installation to comply with the GPL.
(Thread <http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.comp.version-control.bazaar-ng.general/17907/focus=17908>)

THE RESULT: "... But I agree, it should merely make you aware of
the license, and not accept it." Message (Date: 2006-10-11
08:38:55 GMT)
http://article.gmane.org/gmane.comp.version-control.bazaar-ng.general/17918/match=accept+terms+agreement
(See Windows installer dialog box:
<http://article.gmane.org/gmane.comp.version-control.bazaar-ng.general/18002>)

[3a] Git Windows installer (MySgit) / Linus Torvals

Linus Torvals, the creator of the free Operating System, being
there from the start of software development, may know thing or
two about software Licenses. He created "git", which is hugely
successful distributed version control software. One of the
choices offered by the hosting sites e.g. Sourforge, Savannah etc.

The MySGit (Windows port of Git) had a similar problem: the
installer required user to "agree" with the GPL, before the
program could be installed. In a thread about the issue, Linus
Torwald's opinion was that there should be no requirement to agree
with GPL before user is granted a right to install the software.
(Thread:
http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.comp.version-control.git/72222\)

In Linus Torvalds words:

"There is definitely no *requirement* of annoying pop-up
click-throughs. In fact, I would say that something like that would be
wholly in-appropriate and not at all in the spirit of the GPL on UNIX,
where people expect installation to not be an interactive process."
Message (Date: 2008-02-07 22:48:26 GMT)
http://article.gmane.org/gmane.comp.version-control.git/73015

"IOW, the license thing should be considered *informational*
rather than a choice. Because to a user, that's exactly what the
GPL is.". Message (Date: 2008-02-07 19:59:03 GMT)
http://article.gmane.org/gmane.comp.version-control.git/72995

THE RESULT: The used InnoSetup installer was changed to comply
with the GPL: used was not *required* to accept GPL, before
installation can continue.
<http://article.gmane.org/gmane.comp.version-control.msysgit/1688>

[3a] Git Windows GUI: TortoiseGit

"Just displaying the GPL license text along with a button 'Cool,
go ahead' is the best way forward.
<http://code.google.com/p/tortoisegit/issues/detail?id=176>

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