How To Break The GPL

David Johnson arandir at
Sun Mar 5 01:30:23 UTC 2000

On Sat, 04 Mar 2000, Jonathan Marks wrote:

> From my understanding of the GPL, 
> Alice's work is derived from Trent's as Alice's *intent* is for her software to 
> work with Trent's library. 

We definitely need to define the term "derive", both in the copyright sense,
and as it applies to code. My Dodge automobile works with my Bridgestone tires,
but it is hardly derivitive of the tires :-)

A sometimes useful tool of logic is to take something to it's absurd extreme.
If everything that *works* with some piece of code is derived from that code,
then everything in my current OS distribution is ultimately derived from
Linux and Glibc!

> If a body of software has it's 
> direct funcionality added to, modified or changed, then the resulting outcome 
> should become part of the body of software in terms of copyright and licensing. 

I would agree with everything expect for the "added to" part. In code terms, it
may very well be derivitive, but it hardly demands an identical copyright or
license. As an example, neither the GTK nor the Qt libraries require that
additional widgets be handed over to GNU or TrollTech, or even use their
licenses.  It is only in the area of GPL libraries that there exists a problem.

David Johnson...

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