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Re: gpl licensing

From: Rui Miguel Seabra
Subject: Re: gpl licensing
Date: 14 Apr 2003 13:29:53 +0000

Hi there,

On Mon, 2003-04-14 at 12:01, Peppo Herney wrote:
> My company would like to use a product under the gpl license (namely
> swish-e), but they want to sell and not make the whole source code open. In
> the FAQ I read that it is possible to use gpl software only when makeing the
> rest gpl too.

You only have to make available under the terms of the GNU GPL some
software if you are making derivate works and/or redistributing software
licensed under the GNU GPL.

If your company's software only fork()s and exec()s in order to use the
GNU GPL software, then it is okay (although I pity the users of your
company's software).

However, you can't turn some software licensed under the GNU GPL into
proprietary software, neither derivate works.

That's what said in the FAQ and you confused something.

> The question: Is it possible to have a "subproduct" open source, which also
> makes sense as a stand alone, and then use this product for our purpuses?

You can run any Free Software[1] program in anyway you like. You just
can't turn GPL'ed software into proprietary software, whatever
modifications you do.

> Who judges this?

International Copyright Law, for instance, but you should probably
consult with a lawyer since IANAL, as it says in the GPL FAQ[2]:

Who has the power to enforce the GPL?
        Since the GPL is a copyright license, the copyright holders of
        the software are the ones who have the power to enforce the GPL.
        If you see a violation of the GPL, you should inform the
        developers of the GPL-covered software involved. They either are
        the copyright holders, or are connected with the copyright

> It was hard for me to find exact information, about how such things are
> handled practicly.

If you mean that it was hard to find exact information on how to turn
GPL'ed software into proprietary software, then know that it is
(fortunately) impossible :)

The GPL FAQ is also quite clear on that, and I point to the FAQ points
(please check the questions for the real and complete answers):

Why does the GPL permit users to publish their modified versions?
(my short answer: Because it's a crucial point of Free Software)

Does the GPL require that source code of modified versions be posted to
the public?
(my short answer: Free Software does not require that you distribute
your software)

Can I have a GPL-covered program and an unrelated non-free program on
the same computer?
(my short answer: yes, they're merely aggregated)

Does the GPL allow me to sell copies of the program for money?
(my short answer: why yes, of course)

Does the GPL allow me to distribute a modified or beta version under a
nondisclosure agreement?
(my short answer: no)

If a library is released under the GPL (not the LGPL), does that mean
that any program which uses it has to be under the GPL?
(my short answer: yes)

Cheers, Rui


+ No matter how much you do, you never do enough -- unknown
+ Whatever you do will be insignificant,
| but it is very important that you do it -- Gandhi
+ So let's do it...?

Please AVOID sending me WORD, EXCEL or POWERPOINT attachments.

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