[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[Gcl-devel] RE: [Axiom-developer] Re: [Maxima] Re: GCL compliance and Bi

From: Stavros Macrakis
Subject: [Gcl-devel] RE: [Axiom-developer] Re: [Maxima] Re: GCL compliance and Bill Schelter
Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2003 12:19:33 -0400

The discussion about BSD license vs. L/GPL is interesting, but since
Maxima is GPL'd, it's not relevant to the Maxima (GPL) group.  It is not
even relevant to the GCL group, since the BSD license is compatible both
with LGPL (GCL's current license) and GPL (the license some people would
prefer it be under).  So I would suggest that discussion of BSD
licensing not be CC'd to the Maxima and GCL groups.

And to remain clear, the "hijacking" scenario may be relevant to BSD
licensed software, but it is not relevant to GPL or LGPL software.
Since GCL is LGPL, I could (for example), write my own GUI package on
top of GCL and distribute the enhanced version of GCL without its source
(since my package would be nicely modularized) -- but the source of GCL
itself would remain available, including even any enhancements I had to
make to it to make my GUI package work well.  Developers are still
motivated to work on the GCL base (even if they or users choose to use
the non-free GUI package), since the LGPL guarantees that (a) any direct
enhancements to the codebase remain free and (b) that the interfaces to
the GUI package are well-defined.  On the other hand, I could *not*
improve the optimizer of GCL and distribute *that* without source, since
it is based on GCL code.

On the other hand, the LGPL *does* permit "hijacking" as described by
Camm -- re-release under a more restrictive license (GPL).  If I choose
to release my code under the LGPL, it is because I want to make it
available to all, not just to GPL-compatible code.  I would not be happy
if someone created an enhanced version and released it under the GPL,
leading to the dynamic that Camm sketched, where the less-restricted
version languishes.  Not only does the LGPL permit this kind of
hijacking, but Stallman appears to encourage it in the case of GCL.

As for the SCO lawsuit, I'm afraid that no license (GPL, BSD, etc.) will
forestall such things.  SCO claims that some of their proprietary
copyrighted code got into other people's codebases.  It doesn't matter
if those other codebases are licensed under GPL, BSD, or binary-only.
If the code was in fact copied illegitimately, it remains their code.
(I am not saying that SCO's claims are correct, just that *if* they were
correct, there would be a problem.)

I still believe the LGPL is the correct license for GCL.  The LGPL was
designed for libraries (though of course it has been renamed), and in
some sense GCL at runtime *is* a library.  It preserves the freedom of
the GCL codebase while not attempting to restrict its uses.  It is a
well-balanced license, at least for those of us who believe that free
and proprietary software modules can and should co-exist.


reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]