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Re: Support script exceptions

From: Ralf Wildenhues
Subject: Re: Support script exceptions
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 2010 21:20:25 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.20 (2010-04-22)

* Brett Smith wrote on Tue, Jun 22, 2010 at 03:26:19PM CEST:
> On Mon, 2010-06-21 at 19:33 +0200, Ralf Wildenhues wrote:
> > These scripts are all maintained in the Automake source tree; the
> > canonical upstream for symlink-tree is the GCC source tree.
> Understood.  I should explain: the reason I'm mailing bug-gnulib is that
> these scripts are so fundamental -- some of them often used even in
> packages that don't use Automake -- that we wanted to get feedback from
> more core GNU maintainers.  gnu-prog-discuss seemed like overkill,
> though, so here we are.

Sure, that's great.

> > When these files are dealt with, within the Automake package, there
> > is only lib/config-ml.in (also shared with GCC) which has the same
> > exception text as the above scripts.  Assuming it may be dealt with
> > in the same manner, that means Automake will be able to move to GPLv3+!
> Unfortunately, I think that one *is* going to need an updated exception.
> config.sub, config.guess, and config-ml.in all have the same exception
> text as the other files I'm talking about, but we're not so sure that
> proprietary software developers can do what they need without an
> exception in those cases.  Given this doubt, we would rather have they
> still have an exception.  We're working on that too.

OK, good.

> > What if users modify these scripts and distribute the modified scripts
> > along with their non-free packages?  How is that expected to work?
> The modified version they make *would* be considered a derivative work,
> and if they distribute it, they would need to follow the GPL's terms.
> But that shouldn't be much of a problem: since they would already be
> distributing the script in source code form anyway (unless they're doing
> something really bizarre), the main conditions they would have to worry
> about are providing a copy of the license, and not messing with any of
> the legal notices.  I don't think this will be particularly burdensome.

Well, they could be afraid that the scripts could infringe upon some
patent of theirs.  Or rather, just decide to play safe regardless.
I'm not claiming this is good or bad, just that I think this can happen.
I don't have a particular interest in non-free software here.


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