[tei-council] Fwd: kibitzing

Martin Holmes mholmes at uvic.ca
Thu Sep 29 13:55:21 EDT 2011

On 11-09-29 10:37 AM, Gabriel Bodard wrote:
> Did we decide against multi-licensing? (I've lost track of the early
> parts of this discussion.)

This is a good idea. It means we don't have to draw the boundaries 
between things (which I think is practically impossible). Even where you 
think they might be clear, they're really not -- it's conceivable, for 
instance, that source code could be used in a textual manner (as an 
illustration of programming methodology in a teaching text, for 
example). Letting users choose the licence that suits their ideology as 
well as their project seems a good all-round compromise.


> If there's no problem with licensing a text under both CC and BSD (say),
> which would allow a potential re-user to choose under which license she
> wants to re-use it, couldn't we just license the whole shebang under all
> three licenses (LGPL, BSD, CC), and say somewhere explicitly in text
> that people who want to re-use text or data-like things should use one
> of the appropriate licenses (or just CC), and those who want to use the
> code and software-like things should use the appropriate licenses (or
> just BSD, although we've now let LGPL a bit out of the bag, no?).
> This means that someone who is using one of our outputs that is
> somewhere in the grey area, where Lou, for example thinks it is source
> code (and therefore software) and I think it is source (and therefore
> data), can decide what sort of re-use they're going to make of it and
> therefore which license is appropriate to them. (I think I agree with
> Piotr that most things, even if they are in a shade of grey, can be
> agreed to be either more like text/data or more like code/software.)
> Did we have a compelling argument against multi-licensing like this?
> G
> On 2011-09-29 18:28, Martin Holmes wrote:
>> 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.
>> Cheers,
>> Martin
>> 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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