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Re: OT: Two ways Microsoft sabotages Linux desktop adoption



On Tue, 2006-02-14 at 23:50, Joel Rees wrote:

> The only problem with the GPL is the misinterpretations that circulate.

There are misinterpretations, but they aren't as much of a problem
as the FSF's interpretation.

> The GPL allows dynamic linking to incompatibly licensed software, as
> long as the separation is clear, and the basic requirement is that the
> API should be standardized enough that there should be at least a
> theoretical possibility of swapping what is linked out for something
> else. 

It boils down to what might possibly be considered a derived work
under copyright law.  The FSF has taken the position that if
a GPL'd library is unique, then anything that uses that
library is a derived work and thus subject to the GPL
restrictions even if it is distributed separately from
the library.  In the past, an author that wanted to
give a work away freely without the GPL restrictions was
forced by the FSF to rewrite a library (badly, it was
never really used) with all the corresponding functions
instead of just permitting users to link their own
GPL'ed library obtained separately.

> If this weren't the case, no proprietary software could run on
> Linux, period.

No, the reason this is permitted is that other implementations
of the standard system libraries exist to prove that the
programs are not derived from GPL code.  There is, however,
the potential claim to be made against anything that uses
a uniquely-linux, uniquely GPL'd function.

> If the above were not the case, Mac OS X would not legally be able to
> run any propietary software. It wouldn't even be legal for Apple to
> compile iTunes on it or for it, considering Apple's compiler is the GCC.
> Open Office is another example, also Cygwin, ...

Once again, the C library is a standard C library.  And in the
OSX case any unique kernel functions will not be covered by
the GPL.

> Stallman does have the goal of seeing a world where the LGPL is no
> longer needed. Won't happen this side of the Millenial Reign, but it's a
> nice goal.

It's not at all nice for the people forced to use only one
or the other. 

> Still, he has left plenty of room for people who don't
> understand that money and value are not equivalent to use GPLed
> software, as long as they don't try to abuse the largess of the
> programmers that wrote it.

Fortunately there are people who don't feel abused when
people use their code in ways they didn't plan.  I consider
the perl license to be one of the nicest examples.  The
dual-license option keeps it from being trapped by the
GPL's viral nature yet still allows it to be combined with
GPL code.

-- 
  Les Mikesell
    lesmikesell gmail com



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