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CTS 35 - LGPL version

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Offline Phil

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CTS 35 - LGPL version
« November 03, 2020, 06:47:10 PM »
ppisar opened on 02 November 2020:

lib/PDF/Builder.pm reads:
Quote
    This is free software, licensed under:

    The GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) Version 2.1, February 1999

      (The master copy of this license lives on the GNU website.)

    Copyright (C) 1991, 1999 Free Software Foundation, Inc. 59 51 Franklin
    Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA

    *Please see the* INFO/LICENSE *file in the distribution root for full
    details.*

    This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
    under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License, as published
    by the Free Software Foundation, either version 2.1 of the License, or
    (at your option) any later version.

The second paragraph picks LGPL version 2.1. But the last paragraph allows version 2.1 or any later.

Which one of the two statements are correct?

If I look at INFO/LICENSE, there is stated 2.1 only. Thus I believe that the "or any later version" statements was left unintentionally. Could you please clarify this situation?

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Offline Phil

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Re: CTS 35 - LGPL version
« Reply #1: November 03, 2020, 06:49:46 PM »
PhilterPaper replied:

This is the original license, as inherited from PDF::API2. I Am Not A Lawyer, but my reading has always been that this work is licensed under LGPL 2.1, and you are free to redistribute it (modified or not) under 2.1 or any later version. Whether this would hold up in a court of law depends on local (country) laws and legal precedent (earlier rulings), but that's the logical perspective on the matter.

I can see that the slightly different wording between INFO/LICENSE and PDF/Builder.pm could be confusing. INFO/LICENSE does say that later versions of the LGPL may be applied. Probably the best course of action would be to bring the brief statement in Builder.pm in line with the full statement in INFO/LICENSE, by stating that INFO/LICENSE would be the "controlling" document and Builder.pm is only a brief summary. Other than that, I really don't want to go changing the legal boilerplate. Legal documents (which the LICENSE is) written or modified by non-lawyers tend to be trouble.

Keep in mind that the whole point of GPL/LGPL is to be as unrestrictive as possible with regards to your choice of action in using this software. Thus, it allows one to redistribute under a later version of GPL/LGPL if desired.

Would this clear up the conflict for you?

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Offline Phil

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Re: CTS 35 - LGPL version
« Reply #2: November 03, 2020, 06:51:58 PM »
ppisar replied:

Thanks for the details. If you inherited the files from PDF-API2, it would be best to ask the author of PDF-API2 what were his intentions. (Frankly PDF-API2-2.038 does not contain such a mess as lib/PDF/Builder.pm; My understanding of PDF-API2 is that lib/PDF/API2.pm is "2.1 or later" while all the other files are "2.1".)

If your intention is the "2.1 or later" path, I recommend you to follow advise appended to the original text of the license https://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/lgpl-2.1.txt. That is use the following wording in lib/PDF/Builder.pm (or anywhere where you find the best place):
Quote
    PDF::Builder is a Perl library which facilitates the creation and modification of PDF files.
    Copyright (C) 2017-2020 by Phil M. Perry.

    This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
    modify it under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public
    License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either
    version 2.1 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

    This library is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
    but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
    MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.  See the GNU
    Lesser General Public License for more details.

    You should have received a copy of the GNU Lesser General Public
    License along with this library; if not, write to the Free Software
    Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA  02110-1301  USA

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Offline Phil

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Re: CTS 35 - LGPL version
« Reply #3: November 03, 2020, 06:53:02 PM »
PhilterPaper replied:

It appears that the LICENSE file and related material in API2.pm/Builder.pm goes back 15 years or more, through at least 2 or 3 layers of authors in other countries. I'm not sure I'll get satisfaction on that path!

The two products' LICENSE files have not changed, except for the copyright line. (I see I need to add "-2020" to the copyright year range!) It appears that a recent release of API2.pm cut out most of the stuff originally there (and still there in Builder.pm) under the "LICENSE" section (the "mess" you are referring to?). I will need to be careful that such editing doesn't alter the legal meaning!

Anyway, before the next release, I'll have to review the license-related text in PDF::Builder (especially in Builder.pm), compare it to PDF::API2's current text (especially API2.pm), mix in your suggestions, and see what changes I need to make. I want to be very careful that any edits don't break what the meaning is supposed to be (and if in doubt, leave well-enough alone).

Files mentioning license and version: lib/PDF/Builder.pm, README, INFO/LICENSE

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Offline Phil

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Re: CTS 35 - LGPL version
« Reply #4: November 06, 2020, 10:52:14 AM »
PhilterPaper replied:

See also RT 133691. Matrix.pm has its own statement (Perl's license), and all of the Basic/PDF/ files (except Literal.pm and Filter/*) are Perl Artistic License. There might be still more cases lurking in PDF::Builder (and PDF::API2) under odd phrasings.