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Re: GNU licenses

From: mike4ty4
Subject: Re: GNU licenses
Date: 5 Sep 2006 12:33:24 -0700
User-agent: G2/0.2

Stefaan A Eeckels wrote:
> On 5 Sep 2006 00:24:19 -0700
> wrote:
> >
> > David Kastrup wrote:
> > > writes:
> > >
> > >
> > > 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
> > code to get a vital program component finished?
> If that code is so important that your program does not function
> without it, and you cannot yourself solve the problem, then why don't
> you contact the author and ask for a different license? Code can be
> licensed under different licenses to different people, or even to the
> same person for different purposes.

I suppose.

> The situation under copyright law is that you _can not_ use someone
> else's work. The various open source licenses give you the right to do
> so while maintaining a number of conditions. Imagine that instead of
> the GPL, the author had used a "no commercial use" license. Would you
> then also feel that she unfairly restricted your ability to make money
> with your work?

Perhaps, if I was planning a commercial project. Of course if I was
making a program that I had no profit plans for whatsoever, nothing,
I wouldn't mind GPLing it.

> Why is it so difficult to grasp the idea that you cannot demand a right
> for yourself that you are not prepared to grant to others?

Because I could grant someone a right they wanted for themselves
WITHOUT demanding that they grant it to others. But I suppose everyone
is different, and I suppose you can decide to force people to
(and _potentially_ VASTLY decrease the market-value) or not use your

> > > 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.
> But you don't seem to want to do this.

Well I could, and it depends on the type of project I have planned. If
the project is not a commercial venture in any form, I have NO PROBLEMS
with GPLing it, provided I am not going to reuse some of the original
code in that program in another project (because it had become GPL...
another problem with the GPL license. When you use GPL code,
you agree to make the combined work GPL. If you then use some of
your original code from said combined work (and it's been said
here REPEATEDLY that your original code is yours) in another
100% original work, that also becomes GPL therefore essentially
rendering all your original code that you worked so hard on
worthless for non-GPLable projects).

> > > 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.
> No, you keep all the rights to your original work, and you can license
> it under a different license. It is just that you cannot do as you
> please with the work of others.

So then I guess I _can_ do the following? Yay!:

1. Make non-GPL program.

2. Combine a little bit of someone else's GPL program.

3. Release the _combined work_ under GPL.

4. Take a bit of my _original work_ from the *original*
part of said combined work and put it in another
original work, this time one with NObody else's code
in it,

5. Release that closed-source and non-GPL as heck.

Am I right? If not then GPL has forced me to give up
some rights to my original work as a "price" for using
those few lines of someone else's work. There IS
a price!

> > > 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.
> No - it is about granting the same rights to the author of the GPLed
> work, namely to determine how her work is licensed. If you want the
> right to decide fully over the license status of your work, then you
> have to grant the same right to fellow software authors.

Oh so you have to work it out with them, right? (if I want a non-
GPL licensing scheme) Now, does this have and bearing on what I
can do with my original works? Can I let someone use _my own_
100% original code in their works WITHOUT demanding them to give
me their own code for my use? I should be able to, considering
those are _my original works_ and I can do WHATEVER I PLEASE
WITH THEM since *I* made them! 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
> > RIGHT!
> Indeed. As was indicated several times, the purpose of the GPL is to
> ensure that there is a growing body of GPLed software, because the guy
> who wrote the GPL believes that this is the way software should be
> available.

Aha! Thank you for confirming me. I've uncovered it! The "evil motive"
of the GPL! Since they believe that's the way software should be,
then they want ultimately _ALL_ software to be this way.

> Microsoft believes that all software should belong to them, so that as
> many people as possible have to pay them to use it. This is why they
> systematically either kill off competing products (remember Netscape -
> it had to become Open Source because Microsoft destroyed the market for
> browsers), or buy them (FoxPro, Visio etc).
> These are different visions. We live in a free world (more or less).

Well it's "mostly" free for software, at least. For other things it is
so free. The people in Iraq are not free, for example. Anyway, that's
beside the point.

The point is that there is a third view here, and it's the one I
Software should be distributed the way the author chooses, provided
it is reasonable. That last bit -- "provided it's reasonable" --
BOTH views, for the first nobody can make a reasonable profit to
sustain themselves, essentially killing the software industry, for the
second they are just trying to hoard all the money for themselves,
ie. greed, which I think is wrong. Especially if they just plan on
it for self-indulgences like buying 10 private jets or whatever. If
they plan on hoarding it to do something noble (but no excessive
self-indulgences that is always a waste no matter what is done
along with it), like developing free energy technology, trying to
build and sustain world peace, feeding starving children in Africa,

> You have the choice not to use GPLed software, in which case you're no
> worse of than you would be if the GPLed software did not exist (apart
> from salivating).

Of course, and I have never denied this. I'm debating what I consider
a potential problem/unfairness/dracionianness/whatever the heck it
is with the GPL license system.

> If I build a toll road on my property, you cannot decide that the
> advantage of my road is such -even though you're not prepared to pay
> the toll- that you should have the right to use it. By all means ask me
> to lower the toll, but don't suggest that somehow my building the road
> was amoral because now you can no longer bear to use the existing
> public roads.

Well obviously I could use the existing roads. I guess the "toll" in
programming world is the original portion of the combined work.
You either agree to make the combined work GPL along with the
borrowed code, do not use the borrowed code at all, or negotiate
different terms and potentially (although it's all up to the author)
money. It's that first part, that you have to make the combined work
GPL unless you've negotiated different terms that irks me because
even if I don't mind GPLing the combo (ie. I was not intending it to
be a commercial venture), I now am unable to use any of my own
code from that project in any future projects without making them
GPL as well or SOMEBODY ELSE could crack down on me for
"violating" "their" rights for using MY OWN CODE!!!! EEK!!!! Everyone's

been saying that I've got all rights to MY ORIGINAL CODE but I don't in

this case! This is NOT fair AT ALL. It IS a toll. I've rendered all
hard-worked original code worthless for anything but GPL projects!
I'm right!!! Or am I?

> --
> Stefaan A Eeckels
> --
> People don't ask for facts in making up their minds.  They would rather
> have one good soul-satisfying emotion than a dozen facts.
> --Leavitt

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