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Re: testing before a release

From: Mark Wielaard
Subject: Re: testing before a release
Date: Fri, 9 Nov 2001 00:19:34 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.3.23i

Hi Etienne,

Thanks for you explanations. Each time you tell it I understand a little bit
better what is bothering you. And why we (Classpat, GCC and GNU as a whole)
should really go over this GPL+exception thing and clear it up once and
for all. But I do not feel that this is really a Classpath only problem
to fix. It should be fixed/clearified for the whole GNU project.

Please allow me to quote the exception text here and then try to examine
your reasoning. Please tell me if my interpretation is the same as yours.
(This would really help me understand the problem fully.)

    As a special exception, if you link this library with other files to
    produce an executable, this library does not by itself cause the
    resulting executable to be covered by the GNU General Public License.
    This exception does not however invalidate any other reasons why the
    executable file might be covered by the GNU General Public License.

> [...] My problem with it is that I do have to release the source code of
> my modifications under either the GPL [not acceptable],
This would be if you accept the explanation of the exception text as Per said.
The phrase "link this library" in the exception text is then interpreted as
saying "link the library as originally released and not modified to create
a derived work". The exception would be invalidated as soon as you change
anything to create a derived work forcing you to release everything under
the GPL.

> or under the GPL+exception [too permisive to my taste],
This would mean that you interpret "this library" as saying "the original
library files and any modifications you made to it to create a new library".
So the library including all modifications made by you are still under the
GPL (and so the complete source must be distributed) but any separate
additions still fall under the exception and can be linked with creating a
derived work and thus can be distributed in any way you like.
(This seems to be the most widely believed explanation.)

> or simply release executables with no source code [against my philosophy].
And in this case you are interpreting the reference to "this library" as
the original library file but now you also interpret the exception to include
also the library itself so since even the library is not distributed under
the GPL you don't have to distribute any source code at all.

I agree that having so many ways to interpret the GPL+Excpetion is not a
good thing. We need an explanation which explicitly says how we interpret it.



Stuff to read:
  What's Wrong with Copy Protection, by John Gilmore

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