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Re: Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

On Jun 14, 2008, Les Mikesell <lesmikesell gmail com> wrote:

> Alexandre Oliva wrote:
>>> I'm not mistaken. Everything in there except the conditional grant to
>>> use, modify, distribute is a restriction.

>> Like what?  Tell me *anything* you could do in the absence of the GPL,
>> that, by accepting the GPL, you can no longer do.

> Given (or knowing about) a library not covered by the GPL, I can write
> and distribute original work that uses the functions provided by that
> library, knowing that anyone can obtain their own copy of by my code
> and the additional library and use them together.

Assuming you have permission from the copyright holder of the library
to do so.  If you do, whether or not the library is also available
under the GPL won't make any difference.

I get the impression you misunderstood the question.  I'm not asking
something you could do if you had some other permissive license that
you couldn't do with the GPL.  What I'm asking is whether you know of
anything that, in the absence of a copyright license, you could do
with a work, that, after accepting the GPL, you could no longer do.

This would be a prohibition of the GPL.

Anything else that you might believe to be a prohibition of the GPL is
actually a prohibition from copyright law, that the GPL refrains from

>> Another fallacy.  "You can redistribute under the same license"
>> doesn't divide, it has quite the opposite effect.  It's permitting
>> redistribution under any licenses that may lead to forks, including
>> ones that don't permit further modifications.

> You can't permit redistribution of something you have prohibited from
> existing in the first place.

You could, but this doesn't apply to the GPL anyway.

The GPL doesn't forbid [anything, not even] the creation of any
derived works (and no permission is needed to create non-derived

> for example the original BSD license which is about as far from
> proprietary as you can get.

Not true, in two senses.

1. the modified BSD license is even more permissive than the original
BSD license, and it is GPL-compatible :-)

2. there is a lot of non-Free (as you say, proprietary) Software
distributed in part or as a whole under the original and the modified
BSD licenses

> I agree that the separation would be more obvious
> if the bits were not embedded as data in the kernel in whatever format
> the compiler decides to use

... and the code hadn't been modified so as to require the presence of
those bits in there and so on...

> You could probably modify the compiler to store data in a separate
> file instead of whatever embedded memory-loading format it currently
> uses but it wouldn't change the copyright status of the output.

Agreed.  The resulting object file would be just as derived from both,
and the source file modified to require the presence of the firmware
would still be just as derived from both.

Alexandre Oliva         http://www.lsd.ic.unicamp.br/~oliva/
Free Software Evangelist  oliva {lsd ic unicamp br, gnu.org}
FSFLA Board Member       ¡Sé Libre! => http://www.fsfla.org/
Red Hat Compiler Engineer   aoliva {redhat com, gcc.gnu.org}

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