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Re: Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

David Woodhouse wrote:

You're equivocating.

The _important_ difference, in this context, is how it's distributed.

No, it's all about the content.

The GPL clearly states that there can exist sections of which which
_are_ independent and separate works in themselves --  but when you
distribute those _same_ sections as part of a whole which is a work
based on the GPL'd Program...

And you'll note that there are no technical details about putting things in the same box or on the same media or in the same file that define an aggregation as a 'whole'.

The _distribution_ of stuff together is what makes the difference, even
when some of that 'stuff' would be considered to be a completely
independent and separate work, when distributed separately.

No, the distribution packaging or method is really unrelated to the content. For example, the FSF considers it a GPL infringement to ship non-GPL'd content (even in source form) that an end user must link to a GPL'd library to function. Personally I disagree with that and would be shocked to see a court uphold it, but you never know...

You obviously disagree, but you haven't really explained why.

Maybe Les' mail is relevant here -- he seems to think that we should
argue based on what we _want_ to be true, rather than what the evidence
actually indicates?

I didn't say you 'should' do that. I just don't see the point of arguing for something you don't want.

Do you believe that copyright law _prevents_ the GPL from making
requirements about those separate works, in such a way that still lets
you distribute the GPL'd work without complying with the licence?

The license is the only thing that lets you distribute at all. I don't think anyone argues with that.

Or do you believe that the GPL does not actually impose the requirements
it seems to impose in ยง2?

Aggregation is permitted.

Perhaps you believe that _all_ forms of
aggregation can be labelled "mere aggregation on a volume of a storage
or distribution medium" and thus that the whole of those three
paragraphs in the licence are just a big no-op?

Do you see something in there that defines how aggregation can and can't be done? At one level, on unix-like systems a disk, a filesystem, and and archive are really all files. So you are just quibbling over irrelevant file formatting details until you look at the content.

Can we submit a
non-GPL'd driver as a .o file, call it 'mere aggregation' and argue that
it's not a GPL violation?

Linus was once widely quoted as saying that that it was not a violation even if he won't stand behind that statement today. I probably would never have used it for any work had binary drivers been prohibited from the start. Note the exception to the stock GPL in regard to the use of interfaces in the Linux license.

Or is it another example of Les' "we argue what we want to believe,
regardless of the facts"?

The facts are that aggregation is permitted and the techniques of aggregation aren't enumerated to some limited set. If it were otherwise the current aggregation wouldn't exist.

  Les Mikesell
    lesmikesell gmail com

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