Subject: Re: Merger//dt and july94 kernels on SE30
To: None <>
From: Ted Lemon <>
List: macbsd-general
Date: 08/31/1994 10:11:20
> However, consider the case where you're combining GPL'd sources into a
> binary with "random" objects -- say, those found in the system library
> on a SunOS system.  You CANNOT legally give away the sources to those
> library routines, and you may not even have them!  However, by a
> strict interpretation of the GPL, you'd have to, and thus it would
> be _ILLEGAL_ for you to create and distribute a gzip binary for SunOS.

From the GPL: 

However, as a special exception, the source code distributed need not
include anything that is normally distributed (in either source or
binary form) with the major components (compiler, kernel, and so on)
of the operating system on which the executable runs, unless that
component itself accompanies the executable.

> There are a lot of gray
> areas in the GPL.  Those gray areas mean that, since precident
> hasn't really been comprehensively established yet for intellectual
> property law as it relates to software, if you go into court and your
> claims lie in a 'gray area,' you're rolling the dice.

I'm puzzled by this statement - the GPL seems to be quite clear on
each of the issues that you've brought up.   I don't seen any grey
areas there.   If you do find something that you think is a grey area,
you should mention it to Stallman - he's gone to quite a bit of troble
to make the GPL as clear as possible.

I'm not trying to argue the merits of using the GPL or not using it,
in reference to NetBSD or any other software package.   I simply think
that there's a lot of emotion and not much reason behind a lot of the
slams that I've seen made to the GPL, including yours.

Personally, the reason why I'm interested in NetBSD is because it's
freely available and I can hack freely on it and give away my work.
Whether NetBSD is covered by the GPL or the Berkeley Copyright is
therefore immaterial to me.

However, I do worry a bit.  Part of the motivation for the GPL was
what happened with Gosling Emacs - supposedly free software which
magically became unfree after a lot of people had put a lot of free
work into it.  If you had participated in that fiasco, you'd probably
be a bit more understanding about the GPL.

I would be very upset if I put a lot of work into a subsystem in
NetBSD and then saw Berkeley withdraw permission to copy and
commercialize the product.   It's only because I have a certain amount
of trust that Berkeley won't do this that I'm willing to hack on

Ted Lemon
+1 415 477 5045

Fight to preserve your freedom to program: Join the League for
Programming Freedom!   For info, contact