|| ||Josselin Mouette <joss-AT-debian.org>|
|| ||The copyright of a keyboard mapping and its implementation|
|| ||Mon, 16 Mar 2009 17:47:55 +0100|
|| ||Article, Thread
there are two available layouts for French Dvorak keyboards. One of
them, which is the cause of my concern, was written by Francis Leboutte,
and was originally distributed as a (non-free) Windows driver.
I started then to make another implementation of the same mapping, for
X11. It soon turned out that the mapping forces to use dead keys, which
sucks, so I used a variant that removes this need. Several people asked
me of a French Dvorak layout, so I started to distribute it under the
X11 license, and it finally ended up in the official X.org tarballs.
Later, Francis Leboutte started to license the *layout* (not only the
Windows driver) under a clearly non-free license (CC-NC-ND), and asked
X.org to remove the driver, arguing that the X11-licensed version is
illegal, being a derivative work of his layout. The X.org guys finally
agreed to distribute the original variant instead, with the following
// Licence : X11 (the layout itself is released under CC-NC-ND licence)
It is my opinion that, in European law, the copyright on a keyboard
mapping does not affect that of its implementation, because, among other
things, of the interoperability exception ? in the same way a function
prototype is not subject to copyright while the function itself is.
Francis Leboutte believes the opposite and claims that drivers
implementing a derivative layout are illegal. I don? think this
disagreement will resolve, since it could only happen in a court, and we
both have better things to do than suing each other for a keyboard
However, the Francis Leboutte mapping is now included in Debian. This
means we should settle on this issue: if we consider it non-free, we
must remove this layout (and all derivatives) from the distribution; if
we don?, there? no barrier against including some variants. I? tend
to say we should opt for the conservative approach and remove them;
despite the fact that I like the mapping, we shouldn? include software
with such an unclear copyright status.
.''`. Debian 5.0 "Lenny" has been released!
: :' :
`. `' Last night, Darth Vader came down from planet Vulcan and told
`- me that if you don't install Lenny, he'd melt your brain.
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