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Re: GNU licenses

From: Stefaan A Eeckels
Subject: Re: GNU licenses
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 2006 00:26:31 +0200

On 5 Sep 2006 12:33:24 -0700 wrote:

> Stefaan A Eeckels wrote:

> 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).

That's wholly incorrect - your work that was released under the GPL
remains wholly yours, so you can take whatever is yours, and license it
under another license. The GPL has _no_ influence on the author, only
on the licensees. 

Every line of code you write remains yours to do with as you see fit.

> > 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.

You don't "make a non-GPL program". As far as you are concerned, you
have the rights to your work, and you decide to make it available under
conditions you choose.

> 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!

You are quite correct. The GPL doesn't force you to give up rights, the
only thing you have to do (and that's got zilch to do with the GPL) is
to respect the rights of others.

> > 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?

You are right. You choose the license for the code you write, and
others choose the license for the code they write. If a work contains
code of more than one author, these must agree on a license. A
commercial EULA is one possibility, the GPL another. To belabour the
issue: your work is yours. 

> > 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.

It's an ideal of sorts. There's nothing "evil" in it. People are
entitled to their views, and if enough other people come to share them,
they become mainstream. If not, there's no-one who will come and force
the GPL down your throat. 

> > 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).
> The point is that there is a third view here, and it's the one I
> espouse:
> Software should be distributed the way the author chooses, provided
> it is reasonable.

Reasonability is, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder. Let's not
start the next war. 

Take care,

Stefaan A Eeckels
Effective cryptography is not about strong cryptographic algorithms.
It is instead about key management. -- Russell Nelson

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