[opensource-dev] Third party viewer policy

Vex Streeter vexstreeter at gmail.com
Tue Feb 23 20:44:12 PST 2010

On 2/23/2010 6:05 PM, Lawson English wrote:
> Vex Streeter wrote:
>> Soft Linden wrote:
>>> On Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 2:21 PM, Mike Dickson <mike.dickson at hp.com> 
>>> wrote:
>>>> On 02/23/2010 02:16 PM, Gigs wrote:
>>>>> http://secondlife.com/corporate/tpv.php
>>>>> You all realize this is massively incompatible with the GPL, right?
>>>> Not at all.  They're not restricting access to the code. They're
>>>> restricting access to their service. And defining the terms under 
>>>> which
>>>> that service is provided.
>>> Mike's correct.
>>> If you see any wording that's ambiguous about that, let us know.
>> Section 1c unambiguously imposes a GPL-incompatible download and/or 
>> installation requirement that is unrelated to the use of the software 
>> with the SL grid(s).
> The preamble specifically states that the policy only applies to 
> viewers meant to be used by SL. In essence, LL reserves the right to 
> deny access to viewers that don meet their requirements.
But that isn't what the policy says:

    1. Required Functionality and Disclosures
    If you are a Developer of Third-Party Viewers, we require the
    following of all Third-Party Viewers:
    c. On your software download page or in another location that a user
    must visit before installing the Third-Party Viewer, you must
    disclose the following:
    [1.c.i - 1.c.v contents don't matter at all to the GPL]

These are constraints which explicitly place new unconditional 
restrictions on the _delivery_of_software_ (derivative works of the SL 
viewer codebase) by third party developers to end-users and downstream 
developers, *not* constraints on connecting to LL's services.  This is 
one of the mechanisms (if not the content) of constraint that FSF 
carefully designed GPL to discourage.

> MY concern is about prototyping viewers. I can certainly add a thing 
> to timestamp a version string during login, but with smalltalk, I'm 
> constantly tweaking the code *while* I'm connected to SL. Does this 
> mean I have to log out every time I modify something in my squeak 
> client just so I can change the version string?
> Even if I don't change the SL viewer code, but only something else in 
> the Squeak image, its still part of the same application due to how 
> Smalltalk works. So any time I'm connected to SL using smalltalk, and 
> I play with the workspace to test a new one-liner, I'm effectively 
> changing the viewer code, and must log out and back in with a new 
> version string...
> Only partly joking here. Taking this policy to its extreme may sound 
> silly, but people are correct: its poorly worded.
heh - then client-side scripting (of whichever varieties) will be 
generally problematic, as will any users of the media api.

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