How To Break The GPL

Jonathan Marks jon.marks at
Sun Mar 5 02:33:43 UTC 2000

> > 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.
Added to:  presented me with much thought too.  In the widget example, could 
there be a distinction between adding frills to existing widgets, and adding 
new widgets.  Also please consider the following.  

I write a general purpose timers module as a library that other programmers can 
use in their code.  Its API primitives comprise create_timer, start_timer, and 
stop_timer.  It is made available with an open source license.  You like this 
module, and would want to use it if only it had a restart_timer API primitive.  
So you write this functionality.  I as owner of the code desire such "added to" 
changes to the code to become part of the code in terms of its licensing.  The 
reason for this is that it improves the timer module functionally for the whole 
software community, without infringing on the rights of any application you may 
be developing.  I have no problem you placing a copyright notice in the code 
for your contribution, but it would go against my intent if you altered the 
licensing terms.  I see this addition as being part of the Direct Functionality 
of the module.  On the other hand, if you were to use the timer module as an 
OEM module (pardon the hardware analogy) to achieve a distinctly different 
function (ie not a better timers module, but say an online business app), I 
would not consider that part of the the timer software.  

I would like to draw attention away from "Derived from" and move it to "Direct 
Functionality".  Make sense?

   Conversation enriches understanding,
   but solitude is the soul of genius.

Jonathan Marks,
11360 Clipper Court, Richmond, B.C. V73 4M3, Canada
Tel:(604) 274-2277, (604) 805-4035. Fax: (707) 221-3689 

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