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Re: LYNX-DEV SSL for Lynx 2.8

From: David Woolley
Subject: Re: LYNX-DEV SSL for Lynx 2.8
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 08:30:02 +0000 (GMT)

> > There was also another group of people who said that that couldn't be done
> > because the GPL prevented it.  Apparently, there's a clause in the GPL
> > that says something like if all features of a program are not available
> > internationally, they can't be included.  In my opinion, though, providing
> > the hooks to link to the SSL library would not be a breach of this -
> ...
> I'd be surprised if RMS's intent is that a few ifdef's would prevent
> distribution in that sense.  It's a little late for 2.8 (I don't really

RMS intentions appear, to me, to be to ensure that there is no limit
on a recipient redistributing, and were phrased in terms of patents.  If
hooks were not considered armaments, I would probably consider the partial
source code distributable, but binaries for use only by the (legal) person
compiling it, but that would be based on an argument that the disabled
hooks were documentation and enabling them was the creation of a
derived work.  Although I'm not sure if ghostscript has been distributed
under the Gnu licence since the LZW licence started being enforced, it
does have a licence with some similarities and does have LZW hooks in it
(GIF type compression).

Note there is an escape clause, but this appears only available to the
original copyright holder, not the creator of a derived work, and it wouldn't
help those in the USA, as it would require the USA to be excluded from
the list of countries in which the licence was valid.

Please note, as often forgotten, that no software built with RSAREF can
be distributed under the GPL and no RSA software not built with RSAREF can
be distributed free in the USA and no RSA software may be used free for
commercial purposes in the USA (although someone like Netscape or Microsoft
may actually pay the royalties).  ("Free" is not used in the Gnu sense
here, but in a weaker one.)

Note also that the proportion of free software users able to cope with 
source code is rapidly decreasing, particularly with the availability of
Win32 ports (same applies to the DJGPP port of Lynx, but I was talking
more generally).  As such sources options are of limited use and are likely
to be leaked in binary form, which in turn is liable to undermine the GPL
generally if GPLed software starts to hurt commercial suppliers and they 
want to attack it.

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