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From "Robert S. Thau" <>
Subject Re: Configur{e,ation} changes
Date Mon, 09 Sep 1996 22:29:19 GMT
  I don't think, frankly, that any sort of these
  unused-directory-and-script tricks will work. Maybe they're to the
  letter of the license, but they're certainly not to the spirit,

FWIW, compliance with even the letter of the license may be a stickier
matter than some people here seem to be arguing.  For instance, if it
were simply a matter of having *some* autoconf-generated script in the
source distribution, then we could, for instance, include the source
for xgospel (my fave Internet Go Server client), and point to *its*
autoconf-generated configure script as satisfaction of the
requirement.  I sincerely doubt that that loose an interpretation of
the autoconf license terms would stand up in court, if anyone cared to
make a legal issue of it.

Jim's approach is, of course, not as dodgy as the xgospel stunt, and
might hold up even if the xgospel stunt wouldn't --- I'm not saying it
would or it wouldn't, as I'm not a lawyer.  (For that matter, the
lawyers I know don't answer questions like this without time to study
the matter carefully, and not just because they bill by the hour).
I'm just trying to point out that there is, at least potentially, an
issue here.

In any case, to reiterate, this is less a legal issue than a moral one
(two separate sorts of things which Americans confuse too much) ---
out of consideration for the people who developed autoconf, we just
should not be using their code in a manner which we have reason to
believe they would find objectionable.  Of course, they very well
might not object, but in case of doubt, it's better to ask than to
release something questionable *without* asking and find ourselves
pilloried for doing it.


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