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Re: GNU License, Again

From: mike3
Subject: Re: GNU License, Again
Date: 27 May 2007 12:01:44 -0700
User-agent: G2/1.0

On May 26, 10:45 am, David Kastrup <> wrote:
> "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
> ignorance:
>     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
>     evident.
>     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
> <URL:>.

Wow! I guess my understanding was correct after all. Thanks.

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