Subject: Re: More licensing flames...
To: None <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: Greg A. Woods <email@example.com>
Date: 09/22/1998 14:10:13
[ On Tue, September 22, 1998 at 09:04:58 (-0700), Phil Nelson wrote: ]
> Subject: Re: More licensing flames...
> >Most people whom I know who have actually worked with the GPL do not
> >feel that section 10 of the GPL would restrict a library so long as the
> >original library code (and any modifications made by the vendor) are
> >made freely available.
> Have you talked to Richard Stallman about this?
Not in quite some time. Probably not since 1992. The earliest mail, on
any subject, I have from him that's still on-line is from 1993. Most of
the copyright and licensing debates in which he and I both participated
were in public forums such as Usenet and mailing lists in any case.
In any case I probably should have clarified and used slightly different
wording to make my meaning more explicit. I was referring to people who
have studied the GNU GPL and who have dealt with its terms when
producing proprietary software. I didn't mean to imply the folks at the
FSF, such as RMS, who actually created the GPL in the first place.
> I think you would find
> his opinion completely different. Why do I say this? I wrote gdbm
> for the FSF and they hold the copyright and it is currently distributed
> under the GPL, not the LGPL. The licensing question comes up very often
> and Stallman maintains (as far as I understand his position) that any
> program that makes calls to gdbm falls under the GPL and must be free.
> He will not put gdbm under the LGPL because he sees it as a less
> restrictive license.
I think RMS should probably go back to his laywers, and this time to
make sure there are some on the team who are well versed in
international copyright law, and also some of them well versed in the
various specifics of foreign copyright laws. If they agree with him
then I'd love to see the outcome of a test case, in any sane
Given my current understanding of Canadian copyright law and the way the
GNU GPL is worded I cannot agree with RMS on this one, at least not in
my local context. Of course I never agreed with the logic of allowing
users to modify a free library that had been linked into a proprietary
application -- I think it's silly and dangerous.
I'd love to see other knowledgeable people's opinions about the GPL
vs. library code, esp. from those who have done some research into
copyright law and other intellectual property issues, such as John
Gilmore, Chris Lewis, Brad Templeton, etc. (not that I'd ever even dream
such a group would come to a consensus, nor would I expect some of them
to agree with me!). At least the LGPL is explicit about these issues.
Thanks for pointing out an excellent example!
Greg A. Woods
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