Patrick - The following are my beliefs and understandings on the
“just copy it” tutorial issue; I’m sure the list will correct me
where I’m wrong (;). Sorry if it all sounds absurd; it IS to some
degree, but that’s the way our society has progressed when it comes
to IP and covering one’s bases.
Dawei’s tutorial has recently become available for my group (UND, EE,
JNL) to (re)post and (to the best of my knowledge and understanding)
update; I certainly hope this is the case because, as Eric points
out, the tutorial is far enough out of date that its use is of
marginal value. And, my group, being heavy users of GR, holds
significant value in our works and hence will make all reasonable
efforts to keep the tutorial updated. - MLD
I wish it were as simple as “just copy it”, but these days
intellectual property (IP) is a hot item, and these tutorials are
IP. “Just copying” IP w/o the author’s (and possibly others’)
permission could result in lawsuits; folks generally just don’t want
to go there (even if they could afford to). Further, having a
license to -copy- doesn’t always grant a license to -modify-, so even
if someone did copy a tutorial (with or without permission) does not
necessarily mean that that tutorial can be legally updated. There
are a number of complications to the issue, which is why GR
developers sign over © and license rights to the FSF via a physical
(USPS) letter of agreement.
Are there any licence issues if we want to copy the tutorial’s
YES! There are potentially huge issues if those tutorials are just
copied without permission unless they are already under a license
which -explicitly- grants that permission. Even if the license
grants -copying- it might not grant -modifying-.
I guess authors mast give their OK, but what else? Licence?
A written statement from the author(s) is the best way to get
permission - e.g. a digitally signed email would probably suffice for
these install guides (not good enough for general GR code submission
though, understandably); a USPS notarized letter (of appropriate
content) would be even better but I don’t think anybody’s expecting
that level of anality for these tutorials (I might be wrong; folks
really like to cover their bases these days). It’s always good if
the author(s) put the tutorial under an appropriate OSS license (e.g.
Creative Commons or GPL), since those allow for copying so long as
the content (including the license info) isn’t modified beyond (re)
formatting. But, generally, for -modifying- one really wants to gain
the owner’s permission (in some verifiable form, not just a non-
digitally-signed email, which could be easily faked) unless the
license is quite explicit about that aspect of ownership.
You’ll notice that my OSX install guide is linked into the GR Wiki,
but I haven’t copied it there. I’m required by my school (UND) and
my department (EE) and my advisor (JNL) to copyright the document to
them, and / or provide an appropriate license so that they can have
royalty-free access to the document; the license and © are in the
works as we transition from personal WWW pages into sdr.nd.edu .
While certainly I could just “copy it over”, technically I have to
gain permission from UND (UND, EE, JNL) to do so - which from past
experience is somewhat of a PITA (UND). Hence just the link to the
tutorial at this time.
Also, just because I am required to license my works while at UND to
UND, this does not grant UND permission to -modify- those works.
This permission must come from me explicitly, in writing, etc…
Now, of course, I’m not unreasonable about my dealings with UND since
they allow me to get my grad education there … but IP is still IP
and I need to protect mine as much as you should be protecting yours.