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Re: GNU License, Again

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: GNU License, Again
Date: Sat, 26 May 2007 18:45:01 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.1.50 (gnu/linux)

"Alfred M. Szmidt" <> writes:

>    >    The _growth_ and evolution of this pool is important:
>    >    stagnation is not going to cut it much in a rapidly evolving
>    >    landscape.
>    >
>    > It is important, but not the goal of the GPL and never was.
>    Again, your views clash with that of the actual author of the GPL,
>    even though you feel qualified for some reason to speak for him.
> I fail to see where they clash at all.

That must be the reason why you removed both the URL as well as any
trace of Richard's word from the reply.

> Richard speaks about sharing the pool of software that already
> exists, not converting non-free software into free software.  Maybe
> when you wish to quote something, you ought to understand it first.

You are not even fooling yourself.

>    Is this not rather clearly expressed?  Why do you feel that you
>    are better qualified to state Stallman's views than Stallman
>    himself?
> Yes, protecting the pool of free software that exists, not
> converting non-free software into free software.  Thank you for
> proving my point.

You are by now only stammering.  First you try putting words in my
mouth (as well as in Richard's), then you "thank" me for this pathetic
and transparent attempt.

Let us again take a look at Richard's words in
<URL:<URL:>, and let
us see whether you will again cut both the URL as well as Richard's
own words from your reply, exhibiting the deliberateness of your

    Consider GNU C++. Why do we have a free C++ compiler? Only because
    the GNU GPL said it had to be free. GNU C++ was developed by an
    industry consortium, MCC, starting from the GNU C compiler. MCC
    normally makes its work as proprietary as can be. But they made
    the C++ front end free software, because the GNU GPL said that was
    the only way they could release it. The C++ front end included
    many new files, but since they were meant to be linked with GCC,
    the GPL did apply to them. The benefit to our community is

    Consider GNU Objective C. NeXT initially wanted to make this front
    end proprietary; they proposed to release it as .o files, and let
    users link them with the rest of GCC, thinking this might be a way
    around the GPL's requirements. But our lawyer said that this would
    not evade the requirements, that it was not allowed. And so they
    made the Objective C front end free software.

    Those examples happened years ago, but the GNU GPL continues to
    bring us more free software.

    Many GNU libraries are covered by the GNU Lesser General Public
    License, but not all. One GNU library which is covered by the
    ordinary GNU GPL is Readline, which implements command-line
    editing. I once found out about a non-free program which was
    designed to use Readline, and told the developer this was not
    allowed. He could have taken command-line editing out of the
    program, but what he actually did was rerelease it under the
    GPL. Now it is free software.

    The programmers who write improvements to GCC (or Emacs, or Bash,
    or Linux, or any GPL-covered program) are often employed by
    companies or universities. When the programmer wants to return his
    improvements to the community, and see his code in the next
    release, the boss may say, ``Hold on there--your code belongs to
    us! We don't want to share it; we have decided to turn your
    improved version into a proprietary software product.''

    Here the GNU GPL comes to the rescue. The programmer shows the
    boss that this proprietary software product would be copyright
    infringement, and the boss realizes that he has only two choices:
    release the new code as free software, or not at all. Almost
    always he lets the programmer do as he intended all along, and the
    code goes into the next release.

These are Stallman's words.  He lists several examples where software
has been, in the end, released as free software that was planned and
in some cases even distributed as non-free software.

And he explains that he considers this the _strength_ of the GPL.
There are separate essays where he also expounds on this, like in

>    I don't question your loyalty to Stallman, but you are not doing
>    him a favor by making a spectacle of yourself and the GNU project
>    by misrepresenting his views, even if it may be done in good
>    faith.
> I have no loyalty to Richard.

You are certainly not doing much that would help his cause, yes.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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