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Re: [Fwd: Re: I-D for the PATCH method]

From: Lisa Dusseault <lisa@osafoundation.org>
Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2006 17:53:10 -0700
Message-Id: <DDB6469E-D6C0-4BBE-BF38-4C657099D239@osafoundation.org>
Cc: w3c-dist-auth@w3.org
To: Suma Potluri <suma@soe.ucsc.edu>

I believe this URL is not a stable reference, which a RFC would need  
to have.  It looks like the GNU organization could update the  
algorithm and change the man page -- there's no versioning  
information or guarantee that it's a final version.  It's also not  
adequate by itself as a normative reference because there are options  
like whether to suppress blank lines -- those options would have to  
be nailed down if the single point of negotiation is the MIME type.

I understand that the GNU license allows us to copy the spec text  
entirely: the page you link to says "Verbatim copying and  
distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium,  
provided this notice is preserved. ".  Still, that doesn't  
necessarily mean one can excerpt and rewrite the man page, nor does  
it mean that implementations can freely use the algorithm without  
being subject to other GNU licensing conditions.  IANAL, but I worry  
whether using a GNU algorithm could mean that software written to  
conform to a PATCH specification would be forced to be open source!

If you want to pursue using this diff format, we'd have to  
investigate these issues at some point.


On Aug 15, 2006, at 4:34 PM, Suma Potluri wrote:

>> Do you have a proper reference for the normal-diff format?  Are you
>> legally allowed to document it yourself in an Internet-Draft?  If
>> not, it might be difficult in practice to register a MIME type for
>> the normal-diff algorithm.  Part of the IETF's attempt to generally
>> protect software developers from the position of having to implement
>> a standard requiring technology they're not allowed to use.
> The normal-diff format is a part of the GNU project which is free
> software. I added a reference to this in the Internet-Draft.
> http://www.gnu.org/software/diffutils/manual/diff.html
> I found this on the gnu home page (http://www.gnu.org/home.html)
> "We support the FSF's mission to preserve, protect and promote the  
> freedom
> to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer software,  
> and to
> defend the rights of Free Software users. "
> I felt that this was sufficient information to use the normal-diff  
> format.
> But I'd like to know if anyone has more information that would  
> restrict
> its use for this purpose.
> Thanks,
> -Suma
Received on Wednesday, 16 August 2006 00:53:34 UTC

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