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Remove lib/spec.arc - license violation
7 points by byronsalty 5733 days ago | 7 comments
Hmmm - this is nasty. I was looking through lib and see that spec.arc has it's own header stating that it's distributed with the Perl Foundation Artistic License 2.0 ( I didn't know what that was so I just read it and it seems we're already in violation.

Evidently you can freely distribute, you can freely edit, but if you edit you can't redistribute. I see from git that several edits have come since the original author's.

Since the author (forum name=will) hasn't been around for over 200 days I don't know if he'll respond with a solution other than removing the file completely.

6 points by absz 5733 days ago | link

If that's the case, we have a much larger problem. From the "copyright" file:

  This software is copyright (c) Paul Graham and Robert Morris.  Permission
  to use it is granted under the Perl Foundations's Artistic License 2.0.
This is from arc2.tar (and thus Anarki as well). Thus if that's true about the Artistic License, all of Anarki is in violation. According to Wikipedia (, however, the Artistic License 2.0 is both free and open source---in fact, it's GPL compatible, and perl itself is dual-licensed under both of said licenses. Thus, I would think we would be OK.

It's a bit late/early and IANAL, but my reading of the Artistic License is that we are OK given section 4. Section 4 says that we can distribute modified versions of the source provided we document the differences and either: (a) make the modified version available to the original creator under the original license; (b) ensure that one can install both the modified and original versions separately and that the modified one has a different name; or (c) allow redistribution of the source under either this license or another free license. We're definitely doing (a) and (c) and we're probably doing (b), so if I understand this correctly, we should be in the clear.

Thoughts on this interpretation? This is much bigger than just one library, after all...


5 points by almkglor 5733 days ago | link

Your interpretation seems accurate.

This of course means we really need to document Anarki and Arc-F quite well.


3 points by bOR_ 5733 days ago | link

Somewhat annoying, as doing a 'diff' is probably not enough.

It'll also become slightly messy if pg's statement from a month ago becomes true, and there will be new versions of arc coming out in october / november. If we pick up features from different versions of arc, would the changes compared to arc2, as well as the changes compared to arc3 need to be documented.

I guess the value of forcing good documentation of the changes is that it becomes easier for pg to distill a new arc version out of the mutants that the community is spawning, as they'll have their features well documented.


3 points by byronsalty 5732 days ago | link

Any chance we can get the next version of arc (from PG/RM) released with a less restrictive license?

I also don't see any reason to use the same license for the purely community based libs. We should choose a less restrictive license for these.


6 points by will 5733 days ago | link


This is Will Fitzgerald. I wrote spec, but haven't been writing any arc code recently. I put Spec under the artistic license because that it what Arc used. I would be glad to offer a different license if that seems necessary.


1 point by cchooper 5732 days ago | link

The Artistic Licence covers only modifications to the original source code. Because your file is an addition, not a modification, you are free to license it as you please.

If you're not interested in the provisions of the Artistic License (e.g. people documenting their changes) then it would make sense to use a different license, or alternatively you could just release it into the public domain. But it's your file and you're free to do what you want with it.


2 points by almkglor 5733 days ago | link

Huh. Probably will also require some hackery on the git-side too, because it would be probably revertible and thus the modified versions can still be accessed. LOL.