GPL and LGPL question
wsanchez at apple.com
Wed May 19 01:25:20 UTC 1999
| I'm rather concerned that one can get around the GPL "linking"
| by using CORBA. I've discussed this with RMS, but we didn't really
| any conclusion.
There are no "linking" provisions in the GPL, or anything or the
sort. That was my point.
There is a brief mention of "linking" in the bottom of the COPYING
file (which I belive isn't actually part of the license) in the
"maybe you want LGPL" paragraph, but that's it.
So this linking business is RMS's interpretation, but is not in
the license text. I know certain other licenses get heavily
critiqued for being vague, but I don't see the same scrutiny applied
to the GPL here. The lack of clarity here is the biggest reason I
know of why some companies prefer to avoid dealing with the GPL at
all costs, even when they are open to the idea of open source in
general. If you have some proprietary code which may ship alongside
GPL'ed code, you may accidentally fall into the "derived work"
category. Certainly, it is reasonable to be wary of this.
I realize that this is intentional; after all, proprietary code is
inherently evil in the eyes of the GPL's authors. But I would argue
that this hardly represents freedom. Protecting one's right to
share code by removing one's right not to doesn't seem like a Good
Thing to me. But I guess this it the nature of the BSD license vs.
GNU license debate, and this isn't a new issue.
It bothers me that people speak of the GPL's (supposed) intent as
if the document actually says so. I worry that people assume that
the GPL does the right thing for them here, without actually having
read it carefully.
In any case, it would be best for the GPL to define "derived", so
we know what exactly one is agreeing to when using the GPL.
Wilfredo Sanchez, wsanchez at apple.com
Apple Computer, Inc., Core Operating Systems / BSD
Technical Lead, Darwin Project
1 Infinite Loop, 302-4K, Cupertino, CA 95014
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