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Re: [Axiom-developer] Re: [open-axiom-devel] [fricas-devel] umlaut in Gu

From: M. Edward (Ed) Borasky
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] Re: [open-axiom-devel] [fricas-devel] umlaut in Guess - mailing list for algebra
Date: Tue, 04 Sep 2007 15:42:01 -0700
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Bill Page wrote:
> One of the defining characteristics of GPL is that *if* you
> incorporate *any* source code from some other package that is licensed
> under GPL into some new product - _whatever the license of the
> original code_ - *then* the entire derived work must be licensed under
> GPL. That is what is meant by saying that GPL is a "viral license" and
> that it "infects" the otherwise compatible licenses of other software
> packages. (Of course people who phrase things this way usually intend
> to cast GPL in an apparently negative light.) But this is a deliberate
> feature of GPL to which some people object and other people applaud.
> It all depends on how you think open source licensing and free access
> to source code is best promoted.

It doesn't matter how I *think* ... the license makes very clear what I
am allowed to *do* and what I am *not* allowed to do. In the end, the
effect is that people with software intellectual property must spend
expensive legal and engineering person-hours to prevent infection and
prevent disclosure of things that they have a perfect legal right *not*
to disclose.


> I am sorry to be so pedantic and possibly annoying to some people but
> I hope that what I am saying makes sense.

It's not *you* that annoys people -- it's the chaos caused by insane
software licenses like the GPL. It's software licensed "academic" style
- -- freely available to faculty and students in source form but only
available to corporate users for a large license fee. This one
particularly irks me, given the support major universities get from
major corporations in donations, scholarships for students of employees,
discounts on equipment and supplies, adjunct professors, etc. The
non-commercial virus in Aldor is another case.

The saddest part is that in many cases the *quality* of open source
software is far superior to expensive closed source packages. In my own
area, I'll take R over any number crunching/statistics/graphics software
on the planet. I'll take Ruby, Perl and Python over Visual Basic for
scripting *even* on a Windows platform! For some special cases, there
are compilers better than GCC, but in the *general* case I don't think
there's anything that can touch it.
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