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Re: GPL traitor !

From: Erik Funkenbusch
Subject: Re: GPL traitor !
Date: Mon, 4 May 2009 23:51:39 -0500
User-agent: 40tude_Dialog/

On Mon, 4 May 2009 16:22:08 +0000 (UTC), Alan Mackenzie wrote:

>> Day in day out the GPL is turned inside out. It's easy to CLAIM it's
>> easy but fact does not bond with your fiction.
> Huh?  The GPL is perfectly plain and straightforward and means what it
> says.  You don't even need to get a lawyer to explain it to you, though
> you certainly should consult one if you're going to be redistributing
> GPL'd software.
> The only people who "find" it difficult to understand are those who wish
> to violate it and FUDsters who wish to propagate the unfounded notion
> that nasty unforseen things can happen to people using or modifying GPL'd
> software.
> And please lose that nasty "CLAIM" word.

The GPL is misunderstood on a daily basis by many people.  In fact, even
GPL advocates can't seem to come to a consensus over what it means, so how
is any "normal" person supposed to know?

Here's an example.  Some GPL advocates believe that dynamic linking is not
covered by the GPL, while others (including the FSF) believe it is.  

Another example is XMLRPC (or SOAP or other similar technoloties) in which
a function is called via network request on a distributed system.  Some
believe that this is covered by the GPL, others believe it isn't.

Many people think the GPL prevents you from charging money for GPL
software, yet the FSF says they encourage you to do so.

Many people think the GPL requires you to "give back" your changes to the
author, but nothing could be further from the truth.  Even if you consider
the GPL's software requirements to provide source to anyone you provide
binaries that doesnt' require you to give that source to the upstream
authors, only the downstream customers.

So no, the GPL is *NOT* perfectly plain and straight forward.  And yes, you
do need a lawyer to explain it to you, particulary when the issues of
"derived work" are brought up, since the GPL does not define the term and
relies on the accepted legal definition of the term, which is not as simple
as it would seem.

The only people who do *NOT* find the GPL difficult to understand are those
thoat think they understand it when they really do not.

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