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Re: GNU licenses

From: mike4ty4
Subject: Re: GNU licenses
Date: 5 Sep 2006 00:24:19 -0700
User-agent: G2/0.2

David Kastrup wrote:
> writes:
> > David Kastrup wrote:
> >> writes:
> >>
> >> > 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,
> >>
> >> Code does not shrink.  GPLed code does not take independent code
> >> over.  It just has its own growth laws.
> >
> > I'm sorry but you seem to be missing the point. That under the
> > license using GPL code in your program means you are required to GPL
> > your whole program, therefore if one agrees to use GPL code in their
> > original work, then said original work must also become GPL (due to
> > the terms), thereby increasing the amount of GPL code by one and
> > decreasing the amount of non-GPL code by one.
> >
> > 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. The amount of GPLed code in the world has now been
> > incremented by one, and the amount of non-GPLed code has now been
> > decremented by one.
> If your code was working before including GPLed code, the old code
> will still continue to work.  So the amount of non-GPLed code will not
> decrease.  If your code was not working before including GPLed code,
> there is nothing that can be "decremented".

And what if it wasn't working and I needed that little bit of GPLed
to get a vital program component finished?

> > 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? I don't
> > think so -- the ORIGINAL program would likely be RADICALLY different
> > from the GPL program.
> Then don't use the GPLed code.  Write your own code if you don't like
> the licenses from the code of others.

I already know.

> Copyright law defines the thresholds and circumstances beyond which
> you can't use code of others without heeding the license.
> If you don't like the license, don't use it.
> By the way: the copyright to the 300,000 lines remains with you.  The
> other author can only sue for his 3 lines, regardless of whether you
> or anybody else happens to be infringing.

But of course if I decide to use the GNU code then I am agreeing
to surrender some of those rights, namely those withhold the
source and/or license it under a different set of terms than GPL.

> >> > 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 it is fair.  You want to make use of my code, I want to
> >> make use of yours.  We both profit.
> >
> > 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)?
> It is not used in a reciprocating way if people choose to license it
> non-free.  This is not about whether the original license is "fair",
> but whether the use you can make of it will always count as fair.

And according to you, "fair" means that you have to give up some
of your rights (namely to choose exactly what terms to license
your original work under), and a disclosure of the source code,
when using GPLed code in an otherwise original work. So in
order to make the use "fair" you have to give out your code
under the same terms as the GPLed code, ie. GPL it.

Are you also saying that there's something "unfair" about
"leeching" public domain code? There's a reason it's called "public
domain", it means you can do _whatever you want_ with it. When
someone releases something to the public domain they are saying
they DO NOT CARE what someone else does with it.

> > According to you "public domain" should be shunned. Am I right?
> No.  It is just an imprudent choice of licensing for your work if you
> want to get others to do the same and profit from it in the long run.

In other words the point of the GPL is to create more open code
with legal "muscle", not just keep already free code free. I was

> -- 
> David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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