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Re: GPL traitor !

From: Hyman Rosen
Subject: Re: GPL traitor !
Date: Fri, 08 May 2009 09:41:19 -0400
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20090302)

Alan Mackenzie wrote:
Do you mean that if somebody adds functionality to GPL program, and
arranges for this new functionality to be called through a socket call
(substitute technically correct terms here) rather than a normal function
call, that somebody can remain within the terms of the GPL without
licensing his new stuff under the GPL, regardless of how intertwined the
new functionality is with the original program?  If so, I think you're
mistaken.  But please try and convince me otherwise.

Yes, that's what I mean. Doing it by function call is OK as well.
The only thing that forces the foreign code to come under the GPL
is if the binary program is built as a statically linked whole
incorporating the GPL and non-GPL code. It is that binding into a
single work that makes the non-GPL portion fall under the "work as
a whole" clause and requires that all of it be distributed under
the GPL.

You appear to believe that modifying the source of a GPLed program
so that it invokes a function which is provided separately under a
non-GPL license violates the GPL even when the modified program is
distributed *as source*. Is that true? If so, then you are certainly
incorrect, since copyright law contains no concept of a computer
program "working". Copyright law doesn't consider functionality,
just text, just expression.

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