Corba interfacesand GPL freedom
david at usermode.org
Sun Sep 14 01:59:48 UTC 2003
On Saturday 13 September 2003 02:15 pm, Iain Barker wrote:
> A proprietary vendor could create non-free software that functionally
> would amount to a derived work, without actually making a derived
> work within the meaning of copyright law. Would this break the spirit
> of the GPL while complying with its terms, hence not be enforcable?
Either a work is a derived work or it is not. "Functionally" has nothing
to do with it. The GPL places itself fully within the boundaries of
copyright law. Anything that extends beyond copyright law is against
the spirit of the GPL.
> A GPL application is modified by a vendor of non-free software, who
> adds a Corba server API to the application. The vendor releases the
> source code to the GPL application and modifications per the GPL
> The vendor then creates a non-free Corba client application which
> uses that API but incorporates none of the GPL code. The source code
> to the client application is not released by the vendor. Non-free
> applications could also be used as Corba servers to a GPL client
> application in the same manner.
> Essentially the freedom of the GPL codebase is reduced either way
Not at all. The freedom of the GPL code is still there. 100% free. You
can take the server with the new API and write a free client for it. So
can anyone else. That there happens to be proprietary client available
is irrelevant. You seem to be arguing that the provisions of the GPL
should extend beyond the code it is attached to and regulate external
and non-derivative works. The would make the GPL an offensive weapon,
instead of the defensive shield it currently is.
Trying to extend the GPL beyond the boundaries of copyright law is
extremely dangerous. The client application above is not your code. You
have no legal, ethical or moral rights over it. Attempting to control
it is tyranny, the very thing the GPL is fighting against. Freedom is
about removing restrictions, not replacing them with others.
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