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Re: The GPL means what you want it to mean

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Re: The GPL means what you want it to mean
Date: Mon, 6 Apr 2009 14:04:38 +0000 (UTC)
User-agent: tin/1.6.2-20030910 ("Pabbay") (UNIX) (FreeBSD/4.11-RELEASE (i386))

In gnu.misc.discuss Rjack <> wrote:
> Alan Mackenzie wrote:
>> In gnu.misc.discuss Rjack <> wrote:
>>> Thufir Hawat wrote:
>>>> On Sat, 04 Apr 2009 08:07:03 -0400, Rjack wrote:

>>>>> Thufir Hawat wrote:
>>>>>> On Fri, 03 Apr 2009 12:35:51 -0400, Rjack wrote:

>>>> The logical conclusion of your argument is that the GPL is 
>>>> pointless.

>>>> And, since the BSD license is toothless, why even bother? Just 
>>>> license it the same way sqlite is licensed: public domain. 
>>>> That's the conclusion which can be drawn from your argument.

>>> The conclusion that can be drawn from *my* argument is that using
>>>  permissive licensed open source code such as BSD licensed 
>>> programs will prevent someone from being hauled into federal 
>>> court by a band of wild-eyed zealots who practice socialism in 
>>> software licensing as a religion.

>> :-)  The GPL is really crystal clear; it isn't some tricky document
>>  with hidden traps waiting to snap.  A normally intelligent child 
>> could understand it.  If you conform to its requirements, which are
>>  few and clear, you won't have any problem with "wild-eyed
>> socialist zealots".  If you don't like those requirements, use
>> other code instead.
>>> If *you* wish to present *your* argument that open source code 
>>> should be released as public domain then present it as *your* 
>>> argument since is certainly not *my* argument.
>> It seems to be *your* argument, sustained by your own 
>> interpretation of some judges' decisions, that licensing code under
>>  the GPL is tantamount to making it public domain.

> You are not entitled to make up your own facts. Where have I ever
> claimed that GPL licensed code is "tantamount"to public domain code?
> Please use Google and all the resources at your disposal to
> demonstrate that I have claimed such a thing.

Sorry, my mistake.  You haven't claimed "tantamount to".  Your claims
are "tantamount to".  That is my claim.  ;-)

> I have long argued that users who rely on GPL licensed code have
> grounds for a contract claim of promissory estoppel.

Whatever that means, exactly.  ;-)  You have repeatedly asserted that
the GPL isn't a license, that it's a contract, and that one of upshots
is that companies can violate the GPL without the copyright holders being
able to stop the violation by injunction, or receive monetary damages.
(I'm not quite sure you've said that last bit, but I think you have).
This seems to me to being the same in practice as being in the public

Where do you see the difference, in practice, between software being in
the public domain, and software being licensed under the GPL, understood
as you understand it?

> Sincerely,
> Rjack :)

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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