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Re: GNU licenses

From: Richard Tobin
Subject: Re: GNU licenses
Date: 4 Sep 2006 20:54:15 GMT

In article <>,
 <> wrote:

>Let's say I write a 50,000 line program, with no GPL code in it.
>It's not GPL unless I want it to be. OK, now I decide to use 5 lines
>of GPL code in it. Now I have to make the whole program GPL.
>So I (reluctantly) do.

I don't understand that "so".  If you don't want to GPL your program,
why on earth would you incorporate those 5 lines?  If you can write
the other 50,000, surely you can write those 5.  Your scenario is so
unlikely as to be absurd.

>But if I use 3 lines of GPLed code in a 300,000 line ORIGINAL program
>is that really an "extension" of the GPLed code?

If those 3 lines are copyrightable (many 3-line bits of code aren't,
because they're so obvious), then you have produced a derivative work.
That was your choice: if you don't like it, don't do it.

>I don't think so -- the
>ORIGINAL program would likely be RADICALLY different from the
>GPL program.

Being radically different doesn't stop something from being a
derivative work.

>So then "public domain" is not fair, according to this claim, because
>one can use public domain code in their works and do whatever they
>want with the combined work (that's why it's called "public domain"
>because it is un-controlled by copyright law)?

If you *don't mind your work being used in this way*, then it's
perfectly fair.  You write the code, you get to decide the licence
on whatever grounds you like.

-- Richard

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