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Re: Use of GPL'd code with proprietary programs


From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: Use of GPL'd code with proprietary programs
Date: Wed, 07 Jul 2004 12:07:43 +0200

Barak Zalstein wrote:
[...]
> While creating a mixture of GPL, BSD, CPL, other similarly licensed
> source files and linking them together seems to not violate user
> freedoms, CPL marked as incompatible by gnu.org is good enough reason to
> say no thanks.

"GPL incompatibility" is a myth. With respect to the CPL (and also
EPL, ASL, OSL, etc.) it simply means that RMS hates patents. You should
read this (and follow all the embedded links; recursively ;-) ):

http://www.eclipse.org/legal/legalfaq.html#use_10
http://lists.boost.org/MailArchives/boost/msg48859.php
http://lists.boost.org/MailArchives/boost/msg64421.php
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=4055B28B.DC1BA071%40web.de

I also like this:

http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=10fq4-578-7%40gated-at.bofh.it

---
The GPL really needs an improved clause about patent licensing too.  (The GPL 
could easily be a patent pool.  Right now the language says that patents must 
be licensed for use by everybody, when all it really NEEDS to say is that the 
patent needs to be licensed for use in GPL programs.  in regards to patents, 
the GPL acts like the BSD license, rather than copyleft, and that would be 
really easy to fix.)

The GPL is sort of becoming a patent pool anyway, with Red Hat licensing its 
patents for use in GPL programs only, and IBM making noises about that, 
etc...  But it's not explicit, and it's not really one pool that you join 
automatically by participating, and that violation of the GPL could block you 
from access to all of...

Richard Stallman, unfortunately, is a zealot.  He wants to log roll a whole 
bunch of things like addressing the application service provider issue into a 
GPL 3.0, which means there probably never will be a GPL 3.0.  And he won't 
issue a GPL 2.1 with minor issues like these because that would erode the 
chocolate coating on the other unpopular issues he wants to lump together 
into a big "take it or leave it" upgrade at some nebulous point in the future 
that pushes unpopular elements of his agenda as part of the package...

Sad, really.  Oh well.  I suppose somebody could come out with a "GPL patent 
pool license", which might not violate the GPL.  The preamble says "we have 
made it clear that any patent must be licensed for everyone's free use or not 
licensed at all", but doesn't say who everyone is (since the license only 
applies to people who accept the license, then it could logically be 
"everyone who agrees to the GPL".)  Clauses 7 and 8 mention patents, but 
don't specify any license terms for them.  Therefore, you NEED a patent 
license, but the GPL doesn't give the text of it.

So if the GPL is just a copyright license, and it requires patents be licensed 
but doesn't specify the terms, therefore it's legal (and in fact expected) to 
combine the GPL with a (compatable) patent license.  But there IS no standard 
GPL patent license.  It would be nice if there was one, that could be 
regularly combined with the GPL in a standard way (GPL+), saying that the 
patents are licensed for use in GPL-licensed software only, as part of a GPL 
patent pool.

It's one way to bypass Stallman's log-rolling, anyway...

Rob
---

> Maybe instead of going in circles, it would be interesting to see if a
> project such as eclipse accepts patches ...

http://www.eclipse.org/legal/notice.html

---
THE ABOUTS, FEATURE LICENSES AND FEATURE UPDATE LICENSES MAY REFER TO THE 
CPL OR OTHER LICENSE AGREEMENTS, NOTICES OR TERMS AND CONDITIONS. SOME OF 
THESE OTHER LICENSE AGREEMENTS MAY INCLUDE (BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO):

Eclipse Public License Version 1.0 (available at 
http://www.eclipse.org/legal/epl-v10.html) 
Apache Software License 1.1 (available at 
http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE) 
IBM Public License 1.0 (available at 
http://oss.software.ibm.com/developerworks/opensource/license10.html) 
Metro Link Public License 1.00 (available at 
http://www.opengroup.org/openmotif/supporters/metrolink/license.html) 
Mozilla Public License Version 1.1 (available at 
http://www.mozilla.org/MPL/MPL-1.1.html) 
---

See also:

http://www.eclipse.org/legal/legalfaq.html#use_5
(The complete list of other licenses varies with each project and 
 the specific content and is subject to change.)

http://www.eclipse.org/legal/committerguidelines.html
(But note that "attribution" is totally OK; It's even codified in 
 the Australian Copyright Act [2000] as a requirement. And, of 
 course, licenses/claims intending to "contaminate the code base" 
 are barred by the doctrine of copyright misuse and the doctrine 
 of first sale)

> It would not be a replacement for business legal advice, but may help to
> clear things for bystanders.
> OTOH, the experiment would probably mean nothing as the analogous case
> is that Linux kernel is GPLed and blends nicely with proprietary components.

Exactly.

regards,
alexander.


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