The regrettable use of "all" in Section 7 of the GPL

John Cowan cowan at
Thu Feb 19 13:23:01 UTC 2004

Ian Jackson scripsit:

> >  Is distribution of R still impossible because Stallman can't use it?
> Yes, it's impossible.
> This is exactly what the GPL is designed to do.  So it's `regrettable'
> only if you don't agree with the GPL's goals.  I agree with the GPL's
> authors, who consider this property desirable.

Very well.

Now I point out that there are various persons who, as a condition of
their parole or probation, are not permitted to touch computers.
Distribution of GNU software to them is forbidden by law, and if they
do happen to have GNU software on any computers they may own, they
cannot redistribute it.  Note that this disability is legal, not
merely physical, short of fleeing the jurisdiction, itself a criminal

Therefore, the distribution of all GPLed software is, at least in
the U.S., forbidden by the terms of the GPL, and should come to a
screeching halt.  I have spoken.


Isn't there some way to avoid this daffy butterslide to Hell?

John Cowan  jcowan at
Monday we watch-a Firefly's house, but he no come out.  He wasn't home.
Tuesday we go to the ball game, but he fool us.  He no show up.  Wednesday he
go to the ball game, and we fool him.  We no show up.  Thursday was a
double-header.  Nobody show up.  Friday it rained all day.  There was no ball
game, so we stayed home and we listened to it on-a the radio.  --Chicolini
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