The Invisible Hand

Karsten M. Self kmself at
Mon Oct 1 22:17:28 UTC 2001

on Mon, Oct 01, 2001 at 03:51:53PM -0400, Russell Nelson (nelson at wrote:
> Martin Konold writes:
>  > According to RMS the only way to become free software aka "GPL
>  > compatible" is either to have it GPL licensed or allow for
>  > conversion/relicensing to GPL.
> I believe this is an accurate statement.  


"Free software", "copyleft", and "GPL compatible" are three distinct

There is non-copyleft free software (e.g.:  BSD licensed).

There can be non-GPLd copyleft (though no clear examples spring to
mind).  Interestingly, such copylefted software is likely incompatible
with the GPL.

There is both GPL compatible and incompatible software.  As regards GPL
compatibility, Russell's comments are correct.

> Since the GPL requires that GPL'ed software have no extra restrictions
> placed on it, and a combined work must comply with all preceding
> licenses, then any combination of GPL+[other license] must have the
> same terms as the GPL.  So it may as well *be* the GPL for all
> practical purposes.


Karsten M. Self <kmself at>
 What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?              Home of the brave                    Land of the free
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