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Re: Release plans

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Re: Release plans
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2008 14:18:19 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.9i

Hello, Stephen!

On Fri, Aug 15, 2008 at 03:00:56AM +0900, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
> Alan Mackenzie writes:

>  > The loadability of modules into the kernel has effects on the whole
>  > free software community.

> Yeah, it forces free people to make free choices.  This is a good
> thing.

A bit like the availability of guns in a community does.

>  > The facility you want would allow people, in effect, to make
>  > proprietary extensions to Emacs.

> That's FUD.  According to the FSF legal staff, it is illegal to
> distribute non-GPLv3 modules intended for linking to Emacs.

Are you sure?  OK, yes you are.  Any chance of a reference?  Are you also
sure this applies to external libraries interacting over a clean thin
narrow openly specified interface, as contrasted to Elisp libraries which
burrow into the heart of Emacs?

> This restriction on dynamic loading doesn't change the legal status; it
> just makes it cheaper for the FSF to fight would-be violators and wake
> up those people who just don't bother to think about whether their
> distributions are violations.

> As Richard says, it's appropriate that the defenders of freedom pay an
> extra cost to show they value freedom.  Emacs should get dynamically
> loadable modules.  The kernel's strategy for require'ing GPL would work
> here, too.

>  > We could end up with a firm like Linspire saying "our version of
>  > Emacs is superior because it can access files over the <proprietary
>  > X> protocol,

> It might cost the FSF to fight that, but they'd win.  Don't defend
> freedom with FUD.

Hey, just because I'm mistaken (if I am) doesn't make me a fudder.

> If they can't win, then you could distribute Emacs as a .o with
> appropriate modules and have the user do the linking to the same
> effect.  If the proprietary module is that attractive, you can bet
> people would do it.

>  > There are other choices.  You could, for example, write a
>  > module-loading facility yourself, and thus distribute your own Emacs
>  > fork.  You'ld not make yourself popular though, any more than the
>  > Lucid Emacs crowd did a long time ago.

> I resemble that remark, although I wasn't there at the time.  Is it
> really worth offending those of us who choose to work on XEmacs when
> the cases are not parallel at all?

Sincere topologies.  Offense wasn't intended, it was just an ill
considered throw away comparison.

> The module-loading facility has long been available for both Emacs (as
> 3rd party patches, sorry, no URL offhand; maybe from the same source as
> XEmacs/CHISE at Kyoto U?) and XEmacs (standard since 21.4).

I didn't know that either.  I looked in the two canonical places on my
XEmacs 21.4.17, but didn't find it.  Any chance of a hint to type at C-h

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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