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Re: GNU License, Again

From: mike3
Subject: Re: GNU License, Again
Date: 21 May 2007 18:39:29 -0700
User-agent: G2/1.0

On May 21, 4:21 pm, David Kastrup <> wrote:
> mike3 <> writes:
> > He would not have to "bargain" for any copy of the GPL program.  And
> > it (the GPL program) would not have a different license -- the only
> > thing that has a different license is the non-GPL program.
> But the non-GPL program has no use of its own.

Oh, since it depends _vitally_ on the GPL one.

> >> The GPL is intended to guarantee the freedom of the code itself
> >> _and_ descendants.
> > And the non-GPL code suddenly then becomes a "descendant" of the GPL
> > code the instant it is made dependent on the GPL code in _any_ way,
> > shape, or form?
> No.  The linked executable containing both parts is the descendant.
> And the court may very well decide that you are in effect performing
> distribution of this descendant if your code has no other viable
> purpose, and if there is no viable non-GPLed source.

So then even if both are _not_ linked together, since one
_vitally_ depends on the other, then it is considered a single
program regardless of separate distribution of the components.

It seems then that the GNU license is designed not just to protect
a piece of free code's freedom, but to _create more free code_.
If one wants to use GPL code, then one must "pay" for it with
their own code that they are building around the GPL code. If
that isn't acceptable, then they cannot use the code, just like
buying something in a store -- if you don't like the monetary
price, then you can't buy it.

> Note that this provides a problem for dual-licensed code like that
> from Trolltech: they provide a GPLed version of their code, and they
> sell a version that can be linked into proprietary programs.  Assuming
> that those are the same, you can create and distribute a non-GPLed
> program suppsed to link to the library, and you can, obviously, not be
> sued for contributory infringement/distribution if your customer links
> a copy of the library he obtained under the GPL into it.  As long as
> the customer does not redistribute, he also does not violate the GPL.
> So this is a weakness with the somewhat popular GPLed/proprietary dual
> licensing model.  Basically, the "contributory infringement" theory
> (which has not really seen much of a test in court, but still legal
> departments don't seem eager to take the test) stops working as soon
> as there is a drop-in alternative to a GPLed library, whether from the
> same source or somewhere else.

But do you mean a "contributory infringement" *defense*? As if
a drop-in alternative exists and it is known then wouldn't using
the GPL version in violation of the GPL be an infringement?

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

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