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Re: GNU licenses

From: mike4ty4
Subject: Re: GNU licenses
Date: 4 Sep 2006 12:56:56 -0700
User-agent: G2/0.2

Stefaan A Eeckels wrote:
> On 3 Sep 2006 19:00:48 -0700
> wrote:
> >
> > David Kastrup wrote:
> > > writes:
> > >
> > > > Wei Mingzhi wrote:
> > > >> If you don't allow me using your code, then I don't allow you
> > > >> using our code too. That's just fair.
> > > >
> > > > I don't know. To me it seems like a way to slowly strip owners of
> > > > their rights to their original works.
> > >
> > > There is nothing "slow" involved here.  If you use any copyrightable
> > > part of GPL licensed software without negotiating a different
> > > license, you are bound by the full GPL.  As with any other license.
> > >
> > As more code becomes GPL then the amount of non-GPL code shrinks,
> No - it remains the same.

Why? If a program that was previously non-GPL was made GPL,
doesn't that mean the amount of non-GPL code shrinks?! Or is it
compensated for by creation of a new, different non-GPL work?

> > and since the agreement requires one to make all original works
> > containing GPL code GPL, it goes up fast. Of course it depends on
> > how many people use the GPL code, though.
> That is incorrect. The GPL only requires derivative works to be
> distributed under the GPL. It cannot, and does not, determine the
> license under which the original work is released. The only person who
> can determine how an original work is licensed is the author.

I'm confused. One group here is saying the original program has to
be distributed under GPL. Now you're saying it doesn't. What is the
If I use 3 lines of GPL code in my 300,000-line original work do I have
distrubiute said combined work (which is 99.999% original)?

> As such, the author of the GPLed work has the right to require all
> works that contain the GPLed work, or are derivative works of the GPLed
> work, to be either not distributed, or distributed under the GPL.
> But under no circumstances does force a license on original works.

So I'm right then. I'm not saying the author is forcing the license
should realize this everybody!), I'm saying that the author is
the person's original work that uses the GPL code as a "payment" for
using the GPL code, otherwise one does not use the GPL code at all,
and I don't see why I have to pay for something free.

> > > > Your code is your ORIGINAL WORK, and I don't see why I have to
> > > > have you make it free to me.
> > >
> > > You are free to license your _own_ software under any license you
> > > want, including giving them into the Public Domain.
> >
> > But *why* do you (or whoever came up with this GNU thing or whatever)
> > want to tell people to do things with _their_ code if they use _your_
> > (GNU) code?
> Because under copyright law you have _no_ right to use my code. Where
> commercial closed code asks for money, GPLed code can be used only if
> derivative works are distributed under the GPL.

So why do you demand "payment" in the form of my code for yours?

> > > But it sounds like you are rather whining that you can't license
> > > your own code under more restrictive terms, so this is just a bunch
> > > of crocodile's tears, apparently.
> >
> > I know I can, and that's why I don't like GNU, because using the GNU
> > code "forces" you "automatically" (note the quotes -- if you defy the
> > "force", ie. the terms, you are breaking the law, it's your choice
> > to use the code so it's not automatic in the sense you might think
> > I'm using) to make your originals  that use it GNU. I just don't
> > understand why it's made that way!
> Because the guy who wrote the GPL thinks that all software should come
> with source code, and that people should have the right to modify the
> code they use, and pass it on (in original or modified form) to whom
> they please. And he's used the rights granted to software authors by
> the current copyright statutes to control the duplication and
> distribution of their work to achieve that purpose.

Thanks. So I'm right.

> Others just wanted to write software that would be used by as many
> people (programmers and end-users) as possible, and licensed their code
> under the BSD license. Or the Artistic License. Or made it Public
> Domain where such a concept exists.
> Others wanted to maintain the control over a project while still
> inviting and encouraging others to participate in its development, and
> invented the MPL.
> And there are more of these licenses, each with a particular objective.
> Variety is the spice of life.
> Obviously, there's a lot of GPL code that is useful (and a lot just
> plain stinks :), and programmers who see that code wouldn't mind using
> it (laziness being a virtue :). But GPLed code is like expensive Closed
> Source Software - the price might be out of your reach. If you do not
> want to release the combined work under the GPL, you cannot use GPLed
> software. Similarly, when the license fee for a Closed Source library
> is out of your reach, you cannot use it - no matter how attractive it
> is, and how much time it would save you, and how much you need the
> money.

WOOHOO! I'm RIGHT! It *is* a "price", just not a monetary one. You
have to pay the price, I know this -- but that also means you don't get
the product. If you want the product you have to pay either the price
given or negotiate a different one (which may be in the form of
money depending on what the author says). However, to me this
defeats both tenets of "free" software:

1. Free means FREEDOM as in freedom to do whatever you want
with the code. I should be able to license my combined works under
my own terms, although perhaps releasing the "free code" part
while keeping the rest as closed-source & proprietary as ever.
Hey! Maybe that's a way to modify the GNU thing! Maybe it should
say that you can keep your non-GNU combined work non-GNU,
but include and distribute the GNU code (or perhaps the whole GNU
program the code came from) used in it, and acknowledge it's use.

2. Free as in no price. It is NOT free in sense 2 because you do
have to pay -- with your original work (not all your original work
just the ones that include the GNU stuff of course).

> You make the choice to use GPLed software with or in your original
> work. You would like to exercise the rights given to you by the
> copyright statutes, meaning that you have to grant the same rights to
> the author of the GPLed software - to determine under which conditions
> his code can be used. That you do not like these conditions, or that
> they make the code useless for your purposes is neither here nor there.

Of course, but I'm not trying to tell the author what to do -- I'm
pointing out what I see as a problem with this specific "course of

> Don't use GPLed software if it doesn't meet your needs. It's as simple
> as that. If many people like the GPL, there will be lots of GPLed code.
> That is not a problem.
> Similarly, if many people eat at McDonalds, there will be less money
> going to classy restaurants (you can only spend the same buck once),
> but that doesn't give the owners of classy restaurants the right to
> stop McDonalds from peddling its wares - no matter how much they might
> like to argue that one should only be allowed to sell food if it's
> served on genuine crockery with genuine cutlery.
> The privilege of choice is with the customer. Still.

Of course, and I never denied that. It's just that I don't agree with
"charging" someone for a "product" with their original creations. If
you want to "charge" for something perhaps "dollars" or "euros"
or similar items could be required.

> Take care,
> --
> Stefaan A Eeckels
> --
> Q: If ignorance is bliss, why aren't there more happy people in the
> world? A: Because they don't know they're ignorant.

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