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Re: Confused about LGPL terms - can you help?

From: Byron A Jeff
Subject: Re: Confused about LGPL terms - can you help?
Date: 25 Nov 2006 11:07:36 -0500

In article <>,
Alfred M. Szmidt <> wrote:

>   Let's not be like Alex and argue legal semantics. The way that the
>   GPL is structured creates a situation where the monetary value of
>   distributed software tends to work its way towards $0.

>This has nothing to do with semantics, a license that does not allow
>being used in commercial products is not a free software licenese and
>thus is not acceptable.  There is no semantics involved, just freedom.
>The GPL, LGPL, and _any_ free software can be used in commercial

It has everything to do with semantics. You knew that my commercial I
was referring to closed source. The original poster asked about the use
of LGPL with closed source software. We were all on the same page but
you wanted to point out a semantic faux pas.

>   So to say that GPL software can be used commercially in the same
>   mode as traditional closed source commercial software is
>   disingenuous.

>Much if not all (I do not keep track which program subjugates which of
>your or my freedoms) non-free software cannot be used commercially,
>you cannot charge a fee for the act of distributing Windows, which is
>a non-free program for example.  Again, this has nothing to do with
>semantics, but about basic rights of a computer user.

Once again, Microsoft as the owner of Windows does charge for its distribution.
That's the definition of commercial software.

You're not making any cogent points arguing the nuances of what is commercial
or what is free, or what the GPL facilitates between the two.

This is a layperson's discussion, ,not a laywer's. 

That's what I mean by making semantic arguments.

>   Note that folks like Red Hat use trademark enforcement to embed
>   inherent monetary value, and associated redistribution
>   restrictions, to their software packages.

>Trademark doesn't come into play here.

Of course they do. Redhat enterprise is commercial software that uses GPL
code. The GPL code can be free redistributed, but a Redhat enterprise CD
cannot because of the trademarks embedded into it. 

>   If one could copy and redistribute an unmodified Redhat enterprise
>   CD, trust me that folks would do so.

>You can download RedHat GNU/Linux Enterprise edition from RedHat's FTP

With all of the trademarked logos? The exact same copy that they sell?

>   This isn't a sematics debate. I'm not Alex. I'm a GPL advocate
>   trying to get useful information to people.
>When giving people useful information, one must correct their

It's not a mistake. Sitting here differentiating the difference between closed
source software and commercial software when the two have synonmous usage is
a semantic argument.

Since you really want to take up this argument, take the time to explain to
us how does one perform the same monetary distribution model as closed source
software using GPL software? In the closed source model, I retain the source
and use a license that prevents copying and redistribution. I then sell
licenses to users. 

What's the GPL analog to this activity so that I can make the same type of
money using the GPL?

I'd really like to hear this.

>  As a GPL advocate you should know that one of the major
>misconceptions about the GPL is that it is supposedly not allowed to
>use GPL programs in commercially.

The model doesn't facilitate it. The distribution of GPL software is suject to 
a network effect. As such the monetary value of the software itself drops
to virtually $0.

It's the same issue that media people are having with P2P distribution of 
music and movies. Music used to be worth more when it wasn't easy to copy.
Now that it can be copied with impunity, it's worth less.

>  And as a GPL advocate, you should
>do your outmost to make this mist of confusion vanish.

I'm not dealing with the idealism of the GPL model, just the practical 
reality of it.

So take the time to show you practically how you can sell GPL software for
a reasonable profit and I'll happliy change my tune.


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