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Re: [Discuss-gnuradio] GNURadio and GPL licensing issues

From: Krzysztof Kamieniecki
Subject: Re: [Discuss-gnuradio] GNURadio and GPL licensing issues
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 2004 22:34:39 -0500
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.0; en-US; rv:1.7.3) Gecko/20040910

From http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#MereAggregation
By contrast, pipes, sockets and command-line arguments are communication mechanisms normally used between two separate programs. So when they are used for communication, the modules normally are separate programs. But if the semantics of the communication are intimate enough, exchanging complex internal data structures, that too could be a basis to consider the two parts as combined into a larger program.

My concern arises because of the statement "...But if the semantics of the communication are intimate enough, exchanging complex internal data structures, ..."

What does this mean in terms of GNURadio?

I believe there is a possibility of eventually having very complex commands issued to a GPL SDR front end, so I'm hoping to get a consensus on what limits comply with the "spirit" of GPL and the goals of GNURadio.

Best Regards,

David Nesting wrote:

On Thu, Nov 18, 2004 at 10:12:29PM -0500, Krzysztof Kamieniecki wrote:

blocks. This server program transmits an MPEG2 transport stream through a TCP/IP socket and accepts commands through another TCP/IP socket. Then you write a proprietary client program that connects to this ATSC receiver server through the TCP/IP ports. The ATSC receiver would definitely have to licensed under GPL. What about the client program? Would this depend on what type of API the ATSC server has?

The GPL only cares about "derivative works" in the copyright sense.
If your client application cannot be considered a derivative work of
the original GPLed application, then the GPL does not apply to it.
The goal of the GPL is not to "infect" other applications.  The goal is
to protect copyrighted works licensed under the GPL.  If your activities
don't infringe on the rights of the copyright holders whose work is
licensed under the GPL, then there's no issue.

So basically, if your application communicates with a GPLed application
merely through an API or network interface, and doesn't need to use GPLed
code to do that, then you're in the clear and can do whatever you want
with your application.

If this weren't so, then web browsers would be GPL-infringing the moment
they requested a web page from a GPL-licensed web server.



Krzysztof Kamieniecki

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