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Re: Fedora Freedom and linux-libre



On Wed, 2008-06-18 at 19:33 -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> On Jun 18, 2008, Matthew Saltzman <mjs clemson edu> wrote:
> 
> > On Wed, 2008-06-18 at 14:54 -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> >> On Jun 16, 2008, Les Mikesell <lesmikesell gmail com> wrote:
> >> 
> >> > I've explained that the GPL prevents me from sharing original work
> >> > that links to both GPL and non-GPL libraries.
> >> 
> >> And I've explained that it doesn't, and asked you to cite the passage
> >> of the GPL that prevents you from doing it.  You haven't bothered to
> >> do it, and instead decided to keep insisting in this nonsensical
> >> claim.  Please stop spreading lies.  We're past the point in which you
> >> could claim ignorance as to this point.
> 
> > Wait--Alexandre, are you saying that I could take a GPL library and,
> > say, a CPL[1] library, write a program that links to both libraries to
> > create new functionality and legally distribute source code or a
> > statically or dynamically linked executable version of my program
> > licensed under either the GPL or the CPL?
> 
> No.  I'm just saying that it's not the GPL that prevents you from
> distributing it.  It's copyright law.  The GPL merely refrains from
> granting permission for you to do something that, without such
> permission from copyright holders, you can't do in the first place.
> 

OK I see.

Then can we at least agree that there are sometimes unfortunate
consequences to the GPL's failure to permit one to share a work
combining two pieces of *free* software because of relatively minor[1]
license incompatibilities?

In fact, I think it's arguable that there are sometimes unfortunate
consequences to the GPL's failure to permit one to share a work that
makes use of a GPL library and a proprietary library.  I understand some
authors' desire not to permit that kind of sharing of their work, even
if I don't necessarily agree with it.  But I also think that there's
lots of software released under the GPL by authors who don't think
deeply about license issues and don't really understand the limits of
what is permitted by the GPL.

[1] We can certainly quibble about what constitutes "minor"
incompatibility here, but let us take for granted that all authors
involved are committed to the idea of FOSS, use FOSS licenses, and want
to share their work.  If all licenses involved are "free software
licenses" according to the FSF (not even just "open-source licenses"
according to the Open Source Initiative), then I think it's fair to
characterize incompatibilities as minor compared to that.

-- 
                Matthew Saltzman

Clemson University Math Sciences
mjs AT clemson DOT edu
http://www.math.clemson.edu/~mjs


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