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Re: Simple Proposal

From: Norbert Bollow
Subject: Re: Simple Proposal
Date: Thu, 8 Nov 2001 21:10:03 +0100

> I think there is an important ambiguity: one has to ask RMS to know whether 
> carrying the exception to derivtive work is allowed (and maybe one lawyer's 
> might disagree with RMS!). Here's the problem:
> In the strict interpretation of copyright law, you are only
> allowed to do what a license tells you is allowed (unless some
> parts of the license cannot be enforced for some other reason
> (another law)).  So, the obvious interpretation of the
> exception clause is this:
> 1- Fact: Source code modification IS NOT the same as linking.
> 2- Fact: The exception says that anything other than linking
>          is governed by the GPL.
> 3- Fact: The GPL says that modified versions should be GPLed.
> Conclusion =>
> If you modify Classpath, you have to license your modified
> Classpath under the "pure" GPL (no exception).
> ---
> So, unless you see an abvious flaw in my reasoning, there is
> indeed an ambiguity (or the exception does not carry the
> sematics you would like it to carry).

I agree that this needs to be clarified.  I can testify that
there are certainly people who seriously believe that the
"GPL+linking exception" license means that if someone (who is
the copyright holder) forks the library, then the fork _must_
be licensed under pure GPL without linking exception.

Since (I hope and believe!) that this is not the intended
meaning, the intended meaning definately should be clarified.

> --- BEGIN ---
> Note that people who make modified versions of Classpath are not
> obligated to grant this special exception for their modified versions;
> it is their choice whether to do so.  The GNU General Public License
> gives permission to release a modified version without this exception;
> this exception also makes it possible to release a modified version
> which carries forward this exception.
> --- END ---

Looks very good.

> This text has been authored by RMS and acknowledged by (I am
> sorry I do not remember his name) the FSF's counseling lawyer
> (the professor).

Greetings, Norbert.

A member of FreeDevelopers and the DotGNU Steering Committee:
Norbert Bollow, Weidlistr.18, CH-8624 Gruet   (near Zurich, Switzerland)
Tel +41 1 972 20 59       Fax +41 1 972 20 69
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