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Re: GNU License, Again

From: Alfred M. Szmidt
Subject: Re: GNU License, Again
Date: Thu, 24 May 2007 10:01:39 +0200

   > Asked and answered. Your code does not function without the GPL
   > code in this scenario. Therefore it's a derivative of the GPL
   > code. So your code must also be distributed under the GPL.
   > The disconnect that happens in this discussion everytime it comes
   > up (which BTW is about every other day) is thinking that if you
   > add something to the existing collective of code, that somehow
   > that it's not a part of that collective.

   But it seems that some GNUtians just keep saying "it only keeps
   stuff that was already free, free", even though it does not -- it
   makes _more_ code free.

Again, the GPL does not create anything.  You as the copyright holder
can only license something under a license, the GPL cannot.  The GPL
simply sees that free code stays free, nothing more, nothing less.
Nobody can force you to licnese your work on the GPL, not even a

The GPL is not a lifeform.

And please do not call people names, it is rude.

   > Let's put some concrete numbers to it to clarify. Say you start
   > with a 100,000 LOC GPL fully functioning system. You write a 10
   > line extension to it. Should that 10 line extension be GPLed?
   > I'll presume that you'll agree that it should. Feel free to argue
   > why it should not if you like.

   Perhaps, but, what about a 100,000 LOC *NON*-GPL fully functioning
   system that we put a 10-line extension of *GPL* code into? That's
   the scenario I'm asking about. Even if it could do without those 10
   lines of GPL code.

Then you have agreed to the GPL, and you must cause the whole work to
be under the GPL as per section 2(b).  This has been answered several

   > Now here's your question in that context: If I distribute my 10
   > LOC extension separately from the 100,000 LOC GPL system, does my
   > 10 LOC extension need to be GPLed if I distrubute the 100,000 LOC
   > GPL system separately under the GPL?
   > Separation doesn't matter. your 10 LOC system doesn't function
   > without the 100,000 LOC GPL system. So it's a derivative.

   So then why must it too be free, why must the license require that
   to be free?

To keep things free, again, this was answered as well before.

   > >> It does not matter _where_ the customer will get his GPL source to do
   > >> this step.  _If_ the customer manages to get a copy from the copyright
   > >> holder under a more permissive license, there actually will not even
   > >> be an infringement.
   > >He would get the GPL source UNDER THE GPL. It's only the *NON-
   > >GPL* program that does not get distributed under the GPL.
   > You're still missing the point. The other code cannot be NON-GPLed
   > because it's dependant on the GPL code. So it must also be GPLed.
   > The customer is creating an infringing system on your behalf.

   But what is the RATIONALE? I want to know if my understanding of
   this as being a way to make additional code free is correct.

To keep code free.

   > >The non- GPL program requires the GPL program, but not the other way
   > >around.
   > BINGO! Since the new code requires the GPL code, it must be GPLed.
   > Point. Set. Match.

   See above. Am I right in thinking this is a mechanism to generate
   additional free code?

No, it is to keep code free.  You agreed to the license, and one
possible way to comply is to release the deriviate work under the GPL.

   > >> Can you explain plausibly to the court that you could reasonably have
   > >> expected the customer to bargain for a copy of the GPLed software
   > >> under a different license?
   > >He would not have to "bargain" for any copy of the GPL program.
   > Yes he would. You're pretty steadfast in your belief that the new code
   > doesn't need to be GPLed, when in fact that it does. That's the code
   > that David is talking about bargining for.

   Maybe it does, but I am questioning the _reasoning_ behind the

It is to keep code free.

   > If making GPL code non-GPL was as simple as physically separating
   > it from the GPL code, then the GPL would be totally neutered for
   > its intented purpose.

   Aha! So we've hit on the purpose then -- to CAUSE MORE CODE TO BE
   FREE. Thank you. I am vindicated in my understanding then!

No, this is not the point of the GPL, since it cannot possible do
this.  As has been stated several times not, the point and only point
of the GPL is to keep free code free.

Please, we have answered your questions over and over again, several
times now.  This is also all answered in plain English in the GPL, the
GPL FAQ, and in all the essays on the GNU Project web pages

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