"viral" (was RE: Licensing options for firmware)

Anderson, Kelly KAnderson at dentrix.com
Wed Apr 6 20:22:45 UTC 2005

In this sense, the GPL is more like the AIDS virus than a cold virus.
You normally have to actively DO something to get it... Commit a
proactive act... 

So I'll call it HIV-Viral to make Ian happy ;-)  Of course there's even
MORE baggage associated with AIDS now, isn't there? ;-)

As for Rick's statement:

This is not quite correct.  If you redistribute the derivative work,
your failure to issue an instance under GPL would create the tort of
copyright violation against the upstream author, as you would be using
his/her work in a fashion inconsistent with his/her rights grant.
Nothing grabs you by the throat and forces you to comply.

People who find themselves under threat of litigation (and adverse
publicity) as a tort-feasor, if they take that threat seriously, most
often get out of it by simply ceasing to commit the infringing action.

I'm assuming that most other people are like me, and are basically
trying to be honest and fair in their use of other people's open source
technology. That when they come up with something valuable that they can
release, that they also release it under a license of their choosing. I
greatly respect other's rights to release code however they wish. For
all crimes, you don't go to jail until and unless you get caught, and
you get found guilty. Swiping GPL code and putting it into a commercial
program is something you are likely to get away with (since the code
isn't published) but that doesn't make it right.

In Open Source, however, the license takes the place of the corporation
as an organizing "container". The GPL license, in it's "HIV-viral"
nature, is working towards being the anti-monopoly monopoly, the
Microsoft of open source if you will. This is not a negative, or a slam
on the GPL, but I do believe it's a fairly accurate observation. It is
borne out by the fact that it is the most widely used license. I don't
think that was a mistake on Richard's part, rather, it was intentional.
Again, not good or bad, but it should be acknowledged for what it is.
HIV-Viral... <Hey, pass me a cup of gasoline to toss on that fire, eh?>


-----Original Message-----
From: Ian Lance Taylor [mailto:ian at airs.com] 

Yes, precisely, and the GPL doesn't propagate.  If the guy in the seat
next to me on the plane sneezes, I get his viruses.  That's viral.
That's not how the GPL works.  You have to invite the GPL into your
code; it doesn't slip in against your wishes.


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