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Re: GPL traitor !

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Re: GPL traitor !
Date: Mon, 11 May 2009 21:25:30 +0000 (UTC)
User-agent: tin/1.6.2-20030910 ("Pabbay") (UNIX) (FreeBSD/4.11-RELEASE (i386))

In gnu.misc.discuss Hyman Rosen <> wrote:
> Alan Mackenzie wrote:
>>> Such an extension, standing alone in source code, does not require
>>> permission from the GCC rights holders to be copied and distributed.

>> Hmm.  The new code contains not just some minor incidental part of the
>> original, but incorporates the original in its entirety and its essence,
>> copying all the recognisable and distinct text from it.  And you're
>> asserting this needs no permission from the copyright owner?  You seem
>> to be saying that there's no copyright in computer source code.

> What original? There is no original anything. Someone has written an
> extension, or a new code generator, from scratch.

If it's an extension, it's not written from scratch.

> It fits into the framework of existing code,

which is a fancy way of saying it incorporates the code, conventions and
data structures of the existing code.

> being written in such a way that the existing code can invoke it and
> be invoked by it, but the new code is just that, new.

, apart from the bit adopted from the original.

>> There the independent game makers were creating works which "[could] be
>> reasonably considered independent and separate works in themselves" (in
>> the words of GPL2, with equivalent wording in GPL3).  Neither version of
>> the GPL asserts any rights like those claimed by the video games makers,
>> so that legal result has no relevance for the GPL.

> You are claiming ....

Please don't be so vulgar.  If you're going to say I'm lying, mistaken,
or wrong, do it explicitly, please, not by insinuation.  ;-)

> ... that an extension written to be part of a GPLed work must fall
> under the GPL.

No, I'm not claiming it, it's an essential term of the GPL.  It only
applies when the extension is an essential part of the original, as
opposed to a coherent work in its own right.

> They were saying that a game written to be run on a console fell under
> the rights of the console developers. It is exactly the same.

No, it's very different.  They were saying that regardless of the fact
that the games were separate works, not mere extensions of the console.

> It doesn't matter what the GPL says, just as it didn't matter what the
> console makers said, unless copying takes place.

Copying almost certainly did take place.  How can you write for a
software platform without copying its system interface?  This is where
the interoperability clause you were talking about comes in.

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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