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[Axiom-developer] GCL compliance and Bill Schelter

From: root
Subject: [Axiom-developer] GCL compliance and Bill Schelter
Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2003 23:58:53 -0400


The AKCL tarballs are a non-issue as I believe it can be shown that
Bill rewrote the KCL portion of the system. I know it was his intention
to do so quite early in the game and he had about 10 years to achieve it.
We could probably compare the KCL and GCL sources if necessary. Else we
could contact the KCL people who may no longer care if it is GPLed.
I know for a fact that the AKCL merge mechanism is no longer used.
This mechanism allowed Bill to patch the KCL sources to make AKCL.

The copyright for GCL would follow Bill's estate so his son, who I've
spoken to in the past, is the likely holder-of-record for the copyright.
However, an argument could be made for "abandonment" (since I believe
his son has taken no interest in GCL) making Camm the potential 
copyright holder-of-record.

It is entirely possible that the portions of Emacs that exist in GCL
were authored by Bill. I know that I sat at his elbow when he found a
problem with using gdb under a shell in an Emacs buffer. He stopped
what we were debugging, downloaded the Emacs sources, fixed the problem,
and uploaded a patch. So I know for a fact that he has authored code
in Emacs. I don't know where or how to verify who authored unexec.

Suppose I write a common lisp program like Axiom (licensed under 
modified BSD). Suppose I use a GPLed Common Lisp and save a binary
image of the loaded program. If saving the image requires my common lisp
program to ALSO be GPLed then it is not possible to develop programs
using a GPLed Common Lisp. Some consideration has to be made of the
fact that GPL grew up in a C world where compilers, not interpreters,
were the norm. Either that or GCL should be very careful about declaring
itself to be GPLed as the save-system mechanism (as well as other
mechanisms) become useless. I don't believe it is the intention of
GPL to require every Common Lisp programmer to GPL their code. The
language should be separate from the programs written in that language.

It should be sufficient to ensure that the GPLed (or LGPLed) Common
Lisp sources and Axiom sources are available to rebuild the system. If
saving the image requires Axiom to also be GPLed then I cannot work. I
do not have the copyright and could not GPL Axiom even if it were

Tim Daly

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