[Sugar-devel] licensing question

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Thu May 24 08:17:11 EDT 2018

On Thu, May 24, 2018 at 8:11 AM D. Joe <sugarlabs at etrumeus.com> wrote:

> On Thu, May 24, 2018 at 07:25:25AM +0200, Bastien wrote:
> > IANAL but I seriously doubt that "porting" an idea from one language
> > to another language counts as a derivative work.  That would be very
> > bad for the whole free software world.  Every FLOSS clone out there
> > is porting ideas from a software (e.g. Microsoft Office) to another
> > one (LibreOffice).  I think "derivative" is about lines of code, not
> > about ideas.
> >
> > There might be ann issue about design sometimes, when it has been
> > separately copyrighted -- but copyright on code does not cover design
> > ideas.
> Ah, I was wondering if/when "IANAL" would finally pop up in this thread :)
> I'm not one, either.
> That said, I am aware that questions of porting and derivative work have
> caused sufficient concern in the past to drive people to use clean-room
> design in their approach to re-implementation:
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clean_room_design
> If people are using clean-room design for Sugar and adjacent projects, I
> haven't seen it yet. :-)
> In the case of free software re-implementations, the exposure to
> derivative work entanglements seems even greater, since the access isn't
> just to the binaries of the upstream implementation, but usually to the
> source code, as well.
> One might be aware there has been ongoing concern more generally about
> codebases being published publically on code-sharing sites, but without any
> license statements. This led, for instance, to the creation of
> https://choosealicense.com/
> Similar considerations apply here: If you have access to the source code,
> but no license to do what you're trying to do, you can paint yourself into
> a corner, sharply restricting what can be done with your work (eg, who is
> willing to use, distribute, work with, contribute back to, your code).
> --
> Joe
In the context of this thread, there was no instance of clean room design
or binary-only access. And in every case, an existing license was


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Walter Bender
Sugar Labs
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