[License-discuss] Intimacy in open source

John Cowan cowan at ccil.org
Thu Jan 10 20:39:14 UTC 2019

On Thu, Jan 10, 2019 at 11:36 AM Gil Yehuda via License-discuss <
license-discuss at lists.opensource.org> wrote:

When I read this, I interpret *intimate data communication* as the
> relationship between a database driver and a database. That's the role of a
> driver -- to have intimate communications with the DB so that your calling
> application can bind to the driver, not the DB. I'm asking this group: is
> my interpretation sound?
I would interpret it much more narrowly as communication via shared memory:
the caller and callee share data structures directly rather than serialized
representations of them passed over a pipe of some sort.  A SQLite database
is in intimate communication with its driver; most other databases, because
they run in separate processes and communicate over sockets, are not.  The
FSF's discussion of static and dynamic linking (they consider them
equivalent) seems to reinforce this interpretation.

However, shelling out to a subprocess does not count as intimate
communication, even though memory is technically being copied; it probably
constitutes the use of a "Standard Interface" as defined in the GPL.  In
particular, calling the kernel or a compiler library is provided for.

Dr. Google gives no other uses of the expression.  Perhaps the FSF would be
the correct target for this question, since they are the license stewards
for A/GPL.
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