[License-discuss] GPL and non-GPL binaries in one distribution
perrin at apotheon.com
Fri Jan 13 00:34:45 UTC 2012
On Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 11:40:52PM +0200, Henrik Ingo wrote:
> On Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 11:29 PM, Chad Perrin <perrin at apotheon.com> wrote:
> > In that, the only way the opinion of the license's author really seems to
> > factor into things once the license has already been written is as a
> > contribution to the common understanding of the license. For that
> > purpose, however, it is only one of many potential inputs to the common
> > understanding of the license.
> Yes. However, when referring to the GPL FAQ, I actually believe it
> represents the common understanding of a rather large portion of the
> FOSS community, not just the understanding of Stallman or perhaps
> Moglen. (Granted, for many it is just that they accept whatever the
> FSF says, for others it might be they don't want to argue with the
> FSF, but even so, their acceptance then contributes to the common
> understanding.) Hence I find it a useful though not legally
> authoritative document.
I agree that appears to be the case, in this instance.
> The real point I was trying to make however is that the GPL FAQ seems
> to function well as a safe baseline for what is very likely allowed.
> Most people who disagree with the FSF interpretation (such as Rosen in
> this thread) usually believe a more permissible interpretation of
> copyright law is correct. Hence, it seems while Rosen writes that the
> FSF position is wrong, in this particular case they both would agree
> that 2 separately running programs (sharing no code) are not
> derivative works of each other and hence.
I think there is actually a lot of agreement in circles that favor closed
source software that the GPL might actually be *less* permissive than the
FSF's FAQ might lead a reader to believe. I speak not of lawyers and
managers in closed source software vendor organizations, but people
farther down the chain, such as daycoder employees and people who form
their opinions of IT matters based on the marketing materials of closed
source software vendors. A lot of these people do not make much
difference in the way the license is understood by those who actually
have to make decisions about whether to use the software distributed
under the terms of those licenses, though, so you're probably right in
terms of the effects of all this.
> > It's also important to take the (stated) intent of the work's author into
> > consideration,
> If the author(s) has(have) given such a statement, and if it is equal
> to or more permissible than the common understanding of the GPL, then
> that would of course be the most usable information to go with and the
> rest of the discussion is unnecessary.
Not necessarily. It's actually in cases where the software author's
interpretation and intent is less permissive than the FSF's FAQ would
lead us to believe, because it creates additional potential legal
dangers. If the FSF's is the more restrictive interpretation, you then
need to consider cases where the FSF has taken up the mantle of defender
of works for which it arguably did not have a notable direct copyright
interest, as in the Busybox mess and the brief period of bullying small
Linux distribution projects whose maintainers believed they complied with
the license by linking to upstream sources.
Chad Perrin [ original content licensed OWL: http://owl.apotheon.org ]
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