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What GPL/EU compatibility is needed?

What GPL/EU compatibility is needed?

Posted Dec 19, 2012 18:53 UTC (Wed) by khim (subscriber, #9252)
In reply to: What GPL/EU compatibility is needed? by coriordan
Parent article: European Union's open source license to become compatible with GPLv3

People's desire and ability to speak English vary greatly depending on their social class, native language, employment sector, age, etc. Excluding the people who happen to have poor English is very undemocratic.

We are talking about software here. This means English. Democracy has nothing to do wit this. it's just history. For ballet you need French, for medicine you need Latin and for software you need English—or else trying to create community is pretty hard (look on things like Nginx or Ruby: they only become big when they finally accepted this fact).

This may be "undemocratic" and "unfair" but that's life.

And if you need to write all the documents (or at least all the important ones) in English anyway then using English license is not such a big problem.


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I don't know where to draw the line

Posted Dec 19, 2012 19:15 UTC (Wed) by coriordan (guest, #7544) [Link]

You're talking about developer communities. I was talking about governments.

I agree that developer communities can choose whatever lingua franca they want, and most choose English.

But governments have a duty of democracy and inclusivity for all citizens.

So I think language requirements aren't absurd. But I don't know where to draw the line in order to require governments to communicate to their citizens in an official language, but at the same time not block those governments from contributing to GPL'd projects. Hmmm....

What GPL/EU compatibility is needed?

Posted Dec 20, 2012 12:46 UTC (Thu) by pboddie (guest, #50784) [Link]

Are you saying that the average person doesn't need to be able to understand licences and end-user agreements? That they should just click "Accept" and go with it? Because that's where this ends up.

Besides, there are plenty of software-related projects that aren't run in English, including ones that specifically target users that need stuff in their own language (things like localisation projects for applications). It's not for any of us to tell people in such projects to learn English, especially if they're getting on well enough not knowing any.

What GPL/EU compatibility is needed?

Posted Dec 20, 2012 13:32 UTC (Thu) by ekj (guest, #1524) [Link]

I don't know if that's what he was saying, but it certainly matches reality.

Reality is that most people are completely unable to read and understand, even approximately, the implications of your average EULA. You need excellent abstract reasoning, and a *firm* grasp of the legalese subvariant of english - as well as several hours time to even have a chance.

The rational choice is to ignore the EULA completely and click "Accept".

This is what the overwhelming majority of computer-users do. And it's a rational choice.

Sure, you *could* spend thousands of hours of your life reading, and trying to comprehend EULAs, including all the implications of the text in them. But doing so would be a massive waste of time, and it's highly unlikely that any gain you'd have from doing so would be outweighed by the benefits.

What GPL/EU compatibility is needed?

Posted Dec 23, 2012 15:26 UTC (Sun) by Jan_Zerebecki (guest, #70319) [Link]

I think the end user of software should not need to understand, read or accept the license if it is free software. I haven't thought too long about this but I couldn't come up with why a sane free software license would require acceptance from the softwares user. Can you?

Telling the user that free software and culture is great is something totally different because it shouldn't involve licenses.

Usually companies do not want their customers to understand end-user agreements and TOS and such things because otherwise the customer would understand that the company does not care about the interests of the customer at all. Perhaps http://tos-dr.info/ will be able to help. (Yes there are exceptions, like unusually understandable TOS, free software companies, companies that try hard to behave in ethical ways, etc. But those are not the majority.)

If one were to turn the tos-dr.info concept top down and templateize and modularize TOS (that would be the DSL aproach to law) only the templates and related documentation need to be translated once. But I guess the majority of lawyers would probably fight something like this like their lives depended on it, because their profit depends on it.

What GPL/EU compatibility is needed?

Posted Dec 23, 2012 18:42 UTC (Sun) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

Using free software should always be free of restrictions that are going to affect the vast majority of users. However, one of the vaunted freedoms is the freedom to pass on copies of free software to other users, and various licenses do impose restrictions on that act that may impact common cases.


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