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HP-41 modules and GPL
04-08-2018, 07:47 PM
Post: #1
HP-41 modules and GPL
I lift this out as a separate thread. The original discussion is in http://www.hpmuseum.org/forum/thread-10405.html in the "Not quite HP Calculators - but related" area.

As there has been a lot of discussions about the GPL license in that area of the forum recently and I mentioned that there are many HP-41 modules released under GPL, to which Ángel responded:

(04-02-2018 07:35 AM)Ángel Martin Wrote:  I'm not aware of any GPL-bound module in the set, but according to some forum members it seems I don't really understand what GPL is about.

FWIW all my modules are "FREEWARE". I understand that. Nuff said.

I do understand that you are very generous as well as extremely productive, and I am very thankful for that.

But if we look at it closer on the overall picture, there may be an issue in how the GPL license is used in this community. I will now make you all aware by taking a quick (and most likely incomplete) tour around the TOS DVD:

Sandmath_44 4x4 from February 2015
Page 2
"No commercial usage of any kind is allowed."
"Published under the GNU software licence agreement."

Does putting it on a 41CL board count as commercial usage? It does cost money.

Library 4, Development notes
Page 2
"Published under the GNU software licence agreement."

AMC_OS/X
"Published under the GNU software licence agreement.
Original authors retain all copyrights, and should be mentioned in writing by any part utilizing this material. No commercial usage of any kind is allowed."

David Assembler
Has a License.txt with GPL 2 license

Eramco MLDL
Has a License.txt with GPL 2 license

NFCROM (ProtoTECH)
Has a License.txt with GPL 2 license

CCD Module
Has a License.txt with GPL 2 license

TOOLBOX ROM
Has a License.txt with GPL 2 license

Landnav
Has a License.txt with GPL 2 license

Sandbox
Has a License.txt with GPL 2 license

Knights Tour
Says "GNU General Public License" in its Copyright.txt, but there is not proper license provided.

ML-rom
Has a License.txt with GPL 2 license

ALPHA ROM
Has a License.txt with GPL 2 license

41Z
Has a License.txt with GPL 2 license

Hepax
Has a License.txt with GPL 2 license

Chess module
States "This program is distributed under the GNU GPL Licence Selling prohibited."

ISENE ROM
It is released under the GNU General Public License v. 3.

Has Steen Petersen provided the Hepax under GPL or was it someone else? If he did, then I would like to get the source code.

The point I try to make here is that GPL comes with obligations for the middle man, the one who distributes a collection of ROMs, as (s)he needs to make the user aware of that they have received GPL software and are entitled to request the source code.

If we do not want to go through these chores, we can always look in another direction and pretend nothing has happened (violating the GPL license). We can also learn to try and use a more appropriate license on our efforts. Maybe some of you embrace GPL and think it is worth the trouble caused (to others), then I respect your opinion, but I will not agree.

I am all in favour of taking good care of the source code and making it available, but I do not want to impose a lot of burden on unaware people.

Håkan
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04-08-2018, 08:07 PM (This post was last modified: 04-08-2018 08:08 PM by pier4r.)
Post: #2
RE: HP-41 modules and GPL
Just throwing ideas around.

If a module is GPL, it shouldn't collide with the board, as the board can work without the module. Is that correct?

If a module is GPL, and one requests the source. One can gladly say "look I don't have them but I will try to forward the request". If the original author is not reachable to get the sources, that's it. Or not? I don't know if the middleman has the duty to provide sources he himself did not get. Does anyone with more experience know?

According to the recent -heated- discussions problems arise when something makes use of GPLed solutions and cannot work without them.

Those modules seems independent (I do not have a 41CL so I do not know) and a problem could be the absence of sources, that may have been not provided to begin with.

In other words. If I use a work from the past to not let it disappear. Should I honor the license forever, although the situation doesn't allow me to comply? In this case I mean: unreachable authors to ask them for the source.

I am not sure whether the GPL prohibits commercial returns, I think not though.

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04-08-2018, 08:20 PM
Post: #3
RE: HP-41 modules and GPL
(04-08-2018 07:47 PM)hth Wrote:  David Assembler
Eramco MLDL
NFCROM (ProtoTECH)
CCD Module
ML-rom
Hepax

Don't all of these predate the issue of GPLv2?

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04-08-2018, 08:25 PM (This post was last modified: 04-08-2018 08:25 PM by Ángel Martin.)
Post: #4
RE: HP-41 modules and GPL
(04-08-2018 07:47 PM)hth Wrote:  Sandmath_44 4x4 from February 2015
Page 2
"No commercial usage of any kind is allowed."
"Published under the GNU software licence agreement."

Does putting it on a 41CL board count as commercial usage? It does cost money.

It does not in any way, shape or form. My contribution to the legacy of the 41 and the community. Freeware. Gratis. Not only the SandMath but all my modules, with a good sample on your list.

The way I see it, there's much we should be thankful for to the efforts of folks that still today are putting a lot of effort to preserve the legacy of this machine. Frankly I don't see the point you want to make with this; raising this as a potential issue at this point in the game (more than 3o years after the obsolescence of the platform) seems off-base to me.
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04-08-2018, 08:31 PM
Post: #5
RE: HP-41 modules and GPL
This is another good point. Don't copyright (GPL or whatever) expire someday? Of course licenses and laws are valid as long as they are recognized, but even when they are, I vaguely remember that after X time something goes in public domain. Or not?

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04-08-2018, 08:41 PM
Post: #6
RE: HP-41 modules and GPL
(04-08-2018 08:20 PM)Massimo Gnerucci Wrote:  Don't all of these predate the issue of GPLv2?

Most likely, but that does not matter. The copyright holder can always release the work again with another license after its creation.

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04-08-2018, 08:42 PM
Post: #7
RE: HP-41 modules and GPL
(04-08-2018 07:47 PM)hth Wrote:  I lift this out as a separate thread. The original discussion is in http://www.hpmuseum.org/forum/thread-10405.html in the "Not quite HP Calculators - but related" area.

As there has been a lot of discussions about the GPL license in that area of the forum recently and I mentioned that there are many HP-41 modules released under GPL, to which Ángel responded:

(04-02-2018 07:35 AM)Ángel Martin Wrote:  I'm not aware of any GPL-bound module in the set, but according to some forum members it seems I don't really understand what GPL is about.

FWIW all my modules are "FREEWARE". I understand that. Nuff said.

I'm the one that accused Ángel not really understanding what GPL is about. Please believe me that this is not mentioned offensive rather than summarizing what you are describing in this post. And Ángel will most probably reply again that he doesn't care much about this licensing issues.
Quote:I do understand that you are very generous as well as extremely productive, and I am very thankful for that.

But if we look at it closer on the overall picture, there may be an issue in how the GPL license is used in this community. I will now make you all aware by taking a quick (and most likely incomplete) tour around the TOS DVD:

Sandmath_44 4x4 from February 2015
Page 2
"No commercial usage of any kind is allowed."
"Published under the GNU software licence agreement."

Some years ago I posted in the old forum that there is no such thing as "GNU software license agreement" - at least Google doesn't find one at a cursory search. You'll be redirected to "General Public License". But this can't be what the author has in mind as the statement "No commercial usage of any kind is allowed." contradicts the GPL and thus invalidates it.
Conclusion: This is an undefined license statement except for the denial commercial use.

Quote:Does putting it on a 41CL board count as commercial usage? It does cost money.

Hmm ... The author provided Monte with this software himself. Doesn't this imply a waiver from the restriction? And the modules are the source code supported by the documentation.

So far my comments to Ángel's contributions

Günter
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04-08-2018, 09:08 PM
Post: #8
RE: HP-41 modules and GPL
(04-08-2018 08:07 PM)pier4r Wrote:  Just throwing ideas around.

If a module is GPL, it shouldn't collide with the board, as the board can work without the module. Is that correct?

If a module is GPL, and one requests the source. One can gladly say "look I don't have them but I will try to forward the request". If the original author is not reachable to get the sources, that's it. Or not? I don't know if the middleman has the duty to provide sources he himself did not get. Does anyone with more experience know?

According to the recent -heated- discussions problems arise when something makes use of GPLed solutions and cannot work without them.

Those modules seems independent (I do not have a 41CL so I do not know) and a problem could be the absence of sources, that may have been not provided to begin with.

In other words. If I use a work from the past to not let it disappear. Should I honor the license forever, although the situation doesn't allow me to comply? In this case I mean: unreachable authors to ask them for the source.

I am not sure whether the GPL prohibits commercial returns, I think not though.

It does not collide with the board at all. However, it is distributed with GPL software and if one follows the license, the receiver of the product should be notified.

Commercial returns are perfectly legal under GPL.

The issue is that we need to keep track of the source code and anyone who distributes the software may need to spend time on this. If we have a few central places for this, then I suppose we can always point to them and all would be nice and easy.

Collecting the source and ensuring it is available would be a good outcome.

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04-08-2018, 09:16 PM
Post: #9
RE: HP-41 modules and GPL
(04-08-2018 08:25 PM)Ángel Martin Wrote:  The way I see it, there's much we should be thankful for to the efforts of folks that still today are putting a lot of effort to preserve the legacy of this machine. Frankly I don't see the point you want to make with this; raising this as a potential issue at this point in the game (more than 3o years after the obsolescence of the platform) seems off-base to me.

Sorry to stir up trouble, but being in the software business I tend to take these matters seriously. I cannot just go around and do whatever pleases me just because it makes my life easier.

What I want to accomplish with all this is the following:

People should be more aware what it means when a GPL license is attached to a package and what implications it has.

On another trajectory, I would be very grateful if what comes out of this is we all as a community gets things into a better shape. Meaning that we as a community know where the actual source code for a particular module is to be found, and preferably that it does not go away when some particular person happens to go away (for whatever reason that may be).

For legacy matters, there is probably not much we can do about all those old modules. Sometimes we are lucky in that people from the past shows up and we may be able to get another piece to this puzzle.

Håkan
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04-08-2018, 10:44 PM
Post: #10
RE: HP-41 modules and GPL
(04-08-2018 09:52 PM)Mike (Stgt) Wrote:  
(04-08-2018 07:47 PM)hth Wrote:  [...] GPL comes with obligations for the middle man, the one who distributes a collection [...]

Thank you for starting this 'law suit' thread, so I may ask the collected experts. MoHPC has under 'HP Software Libraries' four forums where I plan to publish a "bigger-than-the-usual" collection of routines (about 1300 lines, typcally my other programs are just 20..200 lines). In contrast to the smaller programs which I regard as 'sooner or later anyone else would have come across the same solution of this problem', as such they are nothing special, 'give away' for free, without license.

But this "bigger" thing (but not big enough to make money with it) did cost me some effort and I'd like to bind it to the QPL -- Q Public License. I want to be informed in case someone is able to improve it.

Questions:
  1. Is it allowed to publish in a MoHPC forum progrms with a license at will? (I did not find a forum behaviour specification).
  2. What impact would such licensed SW have on MoHPC?
  3. Will I ever notice if someone offends against the license, for example, runs a modified version without telling me?

I don't know common law, I'd ask my Ma.

/M.

You are welcome, these threads are in fashion now it seems.... oh well...

I had a quick look at the license, it seems much like GPL, apart from stripped down from saying "Free" everywhere. There also seem to be no obligation to tell receivers and it does not attempt to invade other licences. Otherwise, you need to give out source of works where it is used.

Somehow it would be nice with a license that requires you to give back any improvements and changes you make, but not limit it from being used in a larger context without requiring the source of everything. For a while I hoped that was the thing with this license, but it seems not (I read that section 3-4 times).

Regarding your questions.
  1. Others can probably answer this, but unless MoHPC states otherwise, I would assume it is allowed (if what is done seems reasonable).
  2. Nothing, it is not linked together in any way. You put your distribution there and that is it.
  3. Unless your software has a hidden call home to papa feature, you will not notice unless you happen to stumble over it.


I think you are doing the right thing. You think ahead what you want to accomplish and what you worry about, before deciding on the license.

Håkan
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04-09-2018, 12:07 AM (This post was last modified: 04-09-2018 12:24 AM by Monte Dalrymple.)
Post: #11
RE: HP-41 modules and GPL
(04-08-2018 07:47 PM)hth Wrote:  The point I try to make here is that GPL comes with obligations for the middle man, the one who distributes a collection of ROMs, as (s)he needs to make the user aware of that they have received GPL software and are entitled to request the source code.

If we do not want to go through these chores, we can always look in another direction and pretend nothing has happened (violating the GPL license). We can also learn to try and use a more appropriate license on our efforts. Maybe some of you embrace GPL and think it is worth the trouble caused (to others), then I respect your opinion, but I will not agree.

I am all in favour of taking good care of the source code and making it available, but I do not want to impose a lot of burden on unaware people.

Håkan

Which of these are you suggesting that I do:

1. Try to find the source code and somehow make it available?
or 2. Include a statement that says GPL requires source code be available?
or 3. Remove the GPL ROMs from the 41CL Flash?
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04-09-2018, 12:54 AM (This post was last modified: 04-09-2018 01:02 AM by hth.)
Post: #12
RE: HP-41 modules and GPL
(04-09-2018 12:07 AM)Monte Dalrymple Wrote:  Which of these are you suggesting that I do:

1. Try to find the source code and somehow make it available?
or 2. Include a statement that says GPL requires source code be available?
or 3. Remove the GPL ROMs from the 41CL Flash?

Keep doing what you did before. Do nothing about this, at least until clearly proven otherwise.

As Guenter pointed out, many of those that mention GPL are not properly licensed as they do not use the correct name, neither do they come with a license file.

I would suspect that many old modules are not really GPL either. Someone put that license on them and forgot about the source code part of the deal. We were not told we could get the source code, nor was it provided. I would just keep distributing it as before until the situation is cleared up. Meaning, if some copyright holder come forward and complain, then we can get hold of the source code that is being withheld (after that we handle it correctly).

At this point I want to point out three things:
  1. Technically there may be GPL source around here, but one can raise suspicion to whether that is indeed true (in almost every case). Thus, carry on as before.
  2. In the future I hope people can be a little bit more considerate on using GPL, and perhaps consider some other license, and do it little bit more correct.
  3. It would be nice if we could collect the knowledge about which modules we have the source code for and where it can be found.


The latter two are general requests, not related to 41CL.

Håkan
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04-09-2018, 02:35 AM
Post: #13
RE: HP-41 modules and GPL
Forgive my "Wikipedia-level" understanding of the GPL, but it would seem that

1) Bundling separate GPL and non-GPL programs does not make all programs in the bundle subject to GPL. Plenty of commercial products bundle such separate programs, and during installation they present you with the GPL license and ask you to accept its terms. That does not make the commercial product itself subject to GPL terms.

2) A primary purpose of including the GPL license and header is to provide traceability back to the originator of the program. I doubt I can demand that Xilinx or Microchip supply me with the source code of the GPL programs they bundle in their development products. But they are responsible for insuring that I can obtain those sources.

Last comment. Anyone who wants to argue, RTFM, had better untangle and point out the many versions of the GPL license and to which separate product they validly belong before doing so.

I thought this thread was dead Fred Smile
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04-09-2018, 02:56 AM
Post: #14
RE: HP-41 modules and GPL
This could provide some interesting late night discussions at the next HHC meeting in (San Francisco? or ???) 2018. Typically one of the attendees is a patent attorney and he may be generous enough to discuss the details of GPL and how it applies in today's environment.
From a legal viewpoint, I know my commercial customers are more worried today about "click through" software compiler agreements and what they are agreeing to regarding any requirement of making their proprietary code available to the general public.
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04-09-2018, 03:42 AM (This post was last modified: 04-09-2018 02:47 PM by d b.)
Post: #15
RE: HP-41 modules and GPL
I have been lurking here for years - even before I registered.

I have hoped that this licensing issue would never come up here because whenever it does come up, all that ever happens is the division of a community. The usual reason of why it happens is because somebody is upset that they don't have the source code.

It matters not what you call the license, but whatt is included with the software. The duration of the license is based on the date included in the software after an elapsed time the patent express.

Nearing the twilight of my career, I am open sourcing all the meaningful programs that I have ever written. I use the Creative Commons license - I don't care who uses it nor for what purposes.

For Gods' sake, leave the 41 in peace. Let us celebrate the impact that this tool has had on our careers.

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04-09-2018, 04:42 AM (This post was last modified: 04-09-2018 04:55 AM by Ángel Martin.)
Post: #16
RE: HP-41 modules and GPL
(04-09-2018 03:23 AM)Geir Isene Wrote:  I would like to make a public statement here and now that all my HP calculator related work is released into the Public Domain with absolutely no strings attached. I will change the license accordingly on all my modules and programs in the coming weeks as I get back from my business trips.

Ditto here .

Don't mean to be facetious but which parts of this discussion are "helping" the users or "protecting" the rights of developers who decades ago donated their work to the open?

A lot of energy spent just to increase the entropy of the universe, in my humble and uninformed opinion - yet it's the one I go by.
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04-09-2018, 06:05 AM
Post: #17
RE: HP-41 modules and GPL
(04-09-2018 05:07 AM)Mike (Stgt) Wrote:  What is the source of works for an HP-41 user language routine? There are typically no inline comments that explain this and that. Take following snippet as an example, which could be part of a program or it could be used as stand alone, how shold the source for it look like? A write up that deserves to be called a complete documentation or is a user manual with formulas adequate? Or no formula but a remark about the idea behind it?

That would qualify as source code for HP-41 user language to me at least. Well written code does not need comments, you know. Smile

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04-09-2018, 06:19 AM
Post: #18
RE: HP-41 modules and GPL
(04-09-2018 04:49 AM)Geir Isene Wrote:  As far as I can decipher, this would narrow the problem down to just these modules:

Code:

David Assembler
Eramco MLDL
NFCROM (ProtoTECH)
CCD Module
Landnav
Knights Tour
ML-rom
Hepax

And I guess David Assembler, Eramco MLDL, Hepax or CCD is not really GPL?

I would also suppose neither of David Assembler, Eramco MLDL, Hepax or CCD are really GPL.

I am positively sure that David Assembler is not GPL at least, as there is no source code for it. Not even the author has what would be qualified as source code. There may be some hand written code listings with comments as he explained in the TOS forum. I took the liberty to ask him to scan it. I may try to recreate the source from it, if I can get hold of it. When time permits.

Eramco seems to be available as scanned listings as was recently discussed in the http://www.hpmuseum.org/forum/thread-10423.html thread. But not in machine readable form (text from which it can be built with some tools).

I am not aware of that any source for either Hepax or CCD are (or have been) available. The same goes for NFCROM.

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04-09-2018, 07:15 AM (This post was last modified: 04-09-2018 07:17 AM by Ángel Martin.)
Post: #19
RE: HP-41 modules and GPL
(04-09-2018 04:49 AM)Geir Isene Wrote:  As far as I can decipher, this would narrow the problem down to just these modules:
Code:

...
Knights Tour
...

Publicly available (published by the author) at:
http://hp41programs.yolasite.com/knight.php
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