[tei-council] Fwd: kibitzing

Martin Holmes mholmes at uvic.ca
Thu Sep 29 13:28:39 EDT 2011

I agree wholeheartedly with the comments on the LGPL here, but I'm not 
sure that there IS a licence that's "conceived and formulated to apply 
to natural language texts" other than the CC licences, and those are 
absolutely unsuitable for code. On the other hand, BSD is in no way (as 
far as I can see) unsuitable for texts, and is truly permissive in the 
way we wish it to be.


On 11-09-29 07:29 AM, Unsworth, John M wrote:
> Sharing an informed opinion contrary to my earlier advice on licensing....
> John
> Begin forwarded message:
>> From: "C. M. Sperberg-McQueen"<cmsmcq at blackmesatech.com>
>> Subject: kibitzing
>> Date: September 29, 2011 3:40:16 AM CDT
>> To: John Unsworth<unsworth at uiuc.edu>
>> Cc: "C. M. Sperberg-McQueen"<cmsmcq at blackmesatech.com>
>> John,
>> please forgive this observation, which is impertinent in the historical sense:
>> the issue is non of my business, and it's not my decision.  So delete this
>> mail and ignore it, if you wish.
>> but I've been chatting with Piotr Banski, here at this conference, and he
>> tells me the TEI seems to moving toward a decision to make all TEI
>> materials available under the LGPL.  this seems to me ill advised, not
>> because i have any reservations about open source but because the LGPL
>> is not formulated in a way that makes sense for human-readable documents
>> as opposed to executable code.  i have occasionally had occasion to
>> try to understand what the LGPL might mean, when applied to natural
>> language texts, and my conclusion has invariably been that the idea
>> is incoherent.
>> the practical effect in the particular cases i've been involved with is that
>> i have not used the material after all, because i could not bring myself
>> to use a license did not seem to apply either to the material being
>> licensed or to any use I might make of it.  a license which does not
>> clearly convey permission to use the material in the intended way
>> does not effectively perform the job of a license.  i believe i am not the
>> only reader of English who finds LGPL unclear when applied to natural
>> language documents (in my case, 'incomprehensible' would be
>> nearer the mark).
>> if you want TEI documentation to be available for reuse, please use
>> a license conceived and formulated to apply to natural language
>> texts.
>> --
>> ****************************************************************
>> * C. M. Sperberg-McQueen, Black Mesa Technologies LLC
>> * http://www.blackmesatech.com
>> * http://cmsmcq.com/mib
>> * http://balisage.net
>> ****************************************************************
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Martin Holmes
University of Victoria Humanities Computing and Media Centre
(mholmes at uvic.ca)

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