Squeak License OSD-compliance

Göran Hultgren gohu at rocketmail.com
Wed Feb 27 22:22:38 UTC 2002


--- Zooko <zooko at zooko.com> wrote:
>  Go"ran:
> Thank you for the reply.  I still feel that we are misunderstanding each other 
> in some part.

Well, I don't really think so. :-)
> You wrote:
> >
> > No, I think Cees understood (this question has been hammered to death on the Squeak list) but
> he
> > might have expressed himself a bit unclear.
> > 
> > The problem we are facing is that even if the community would like to go for a BSD/MIT like
> > license (which would be GPL compatible) we do not have the final word here. Apple is in charge
> > (being the owner of a large, but hard to define, part of the core).
> Ah yes.  I see that this could be a problem with adopting a GPL-compatible 
> license.

Definitely. The only chance for that would be a transfer of rights to Squeak Foundation and of
course - we should never say never. Alan Kay is still a rather prominent name (being the father of
OO etc) so perhaps he can persuade Apple to do The Right Thing. It would be really cool.

We (the community) would probably then clean up the license and make it a more or less BSD variant
I guess. Possibly some form of clause (like today) to keep modifications to the base classes/VM

> >  We are (as far as I know)
> > approaching Apple with the proposal that:
> > 
> > 1. They transfer the license to Squeak Foundation. But that is probably not going to happen.
> If it
> > happens we would probably make a new license (BSD/MIT whatever) which would work with GPL.
> Note
> > though further below on that.
> That makes sense to me.
> > 2. If they don't agree with the above, they change the license to APSL which (I assume) is not
> > compatible. Or at least recraft SqueakL to be "like" APSL in the questionable clauses.
> I don't know anything about APSL, but looking at the FSF's license list [1], 
> I agree with you that APSL is not GPL compatible.
> > And finally - there are still special problems with an image-based language/environment like
> > Squeak/Smalltalk when it comes to GPL - linking is too vaguely defined. We have a very good IP
> > lawyer that has spoken with Mr Stallman about that problem but according to him (Andrew
> Greenberg)
> > Mr Stallman wasn't interested in the problem.
> This is the part where I get confused.  How can the meaning of "linking" with 
> regard to multimedia files affect the license's GPL-compatibility?

Well, I can't recall the exact posts on this question but here are a two links about it:


This page lists all posts by Andrew Greenberg to the Squeaklist:

Search down the page for "Request: Summary of GPL Problems" (those posts are quite good) and you
can also use the search field at the bottom and search for the word "monolithic" to find some
goodies too.

> Ah!  I think I see now.  You might for example release Squeak with a license 
> which is itself GPL compatible, but you might also include media data with 
> Squeak which is not licensed freely, and then the whole Squeak package might be 
> GPL-incompatible.  Is that what you mean?

That is one scenario. There are surely others.

I mean that a Smalltalk image (which is more like an OS in itself with live objects, tools,
libraries, your code, my code, Joe's application etc.) is a big pool of objects. They can all be
viewed (if you WANT to, and a lawyer could...) as "linked" with each other. So if we let in some
GPL code in there it will be like letting in a wolf among the sheeps. Everything will get

In short - "linking" is hard to define in the Smalltalk world. Squeak has something called
"plugins" which makes it even more blurred. So IN GENERAL, it is hard to use the GPL in this

regards, Göran

Göran Hultgren, goran.hultgren at bluefish.se
GSM: +46 70 3933950, http://www.bluefish.se
"Department of Redundancy department." -- ThinkGeek

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