GPL vs APSL (was: YAPL is bad)

John Cowan jcowan at
Mon Sep 24 15:36:48 UTC 2001

Rob Myers wrote:

> I agree, but I believe that this is a general problem with the *idea* of
> Open Source rather than Apple's implementation of it.

I don't think so, no, not at all.  Consider these scenarios:

Scenario A:

1.  John grabs GNU Hello from a handy GNU mirror site.
2.  John fixes the bug of long standing [ask me for details]
	that makes the -m option unusable.
3.  John compiles hello and sends the binary to Rob, saying
	"Try this excellent Hello World program!  Like all truly
	useful programs, it includes a mail reader.  If you want the
	source code patch, ask me for it any time these next 3 years."
4.  The FSF is satisfied.  *If* Rob wants to forward the binary to
	his friend Bill, Rob has to ask John for the patch so that
	Rob can give it to Bill on request.  John cannot, of course,
	withhold the patch from Rob.

Scenario B:

1.  John grabs the program Hallo Weldt [sic], a functionally similar
	program licensed under the APSL, from an Apple site.
2.  John corrects the spelling of "Welt".
3.  John compiles hallo and sends the binary to Rob, saying etc. etc.
4.  Ratfink Rob reports this to Apple.
5.  The Apple lawyers now get after John, for he has distributed a
	modified version of Hallo Weldt [sic] without publishing his
	patch to the whole world.

Whether or not you think Apple's behavior is legitimate, do you now
agree that there is a real behavioral difference between the GPL and the
APSL on this score?

Not to perambulate             || John Cowan <jcowan at>
    the corridors               ||
during the hours of repose     ||
    in the boots of ascension.  \\ Sign in Austrian ski-resort hotel

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