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Re: [DotGNU]Licence question about GNU and GCC

From: Norbert Bollow
Subject: Re: [DotGNU]Licence question about GNU and GCC
Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2002 12:55:20 +0100

> Lets say that you want to create a GNU only 
> webservice, that can only be accessed from other GNU
> software. 
> This is really the question of security, lets say that
> the licence says that you can only use it via a secure
> interface and you are not free to remove it.

But this would make the software less free in a very significant

> Then the secure interface only allows connections from
> registered GNU software under the same licence!

Suddenly the freedom to use the software, and its derivative
products, depends on an organisation which handles such

> That would allow you to disallow the usage of the
> software via the network from non-free software, once
> you are on the machine, the normal linkage rules
> apply.

Note that even on the same machine, the "SOAP linker" would
allow to reduce GPL copyleft to the lesser LGPL copyleft, if
the user is willing to tolerate a performace loss.

> What do you think?

I think that we should simply continue to use the current
version of the GPL even though it gives the user the freedom to
do some things that we wouldn't like to happen.  (If others
create a better, revised version of the GPL we should endorse
that if it is really better, but I think that the really
important things to work on are other things, such as code,
docs, and sales materials for DotGNU).

And at the same time we should convince software users of the
value of the freedom that they get with Free Software.  When
what the users want is Free Software, then software vendors will
have to offer Free Software.

With other words, I think that the main battlefield is the
marketplace.  That's where our focus should be.  I'm sure that
creating a revised GPL which avoids the "SOAP linker" problem
without side effects that unduly reduce the user's freedom is
(if possible at all) a very difficult problem.  I don't see how
this could possibly be achieved in the little time that we have
before Microsoft is ready to take over the internet with their 
.NET unless DotGNU is ready on time to prevent that from

I think we need to move forward as quickly as we can.  For
example, is already inviting people to sign in with
"Passport Single Sign-in".  We don't have a serious competitor
to that available yet.  I see this as a much more serious
problem than the copyleft of the GPL being somewhat weaker than
we would like it to be.  After all, even if that evil "SOAP
linker" should come into existence, the copyleft of the GPL is
still a little stronger than that of the LGPL.

Greetings, Norbert.

A founder of the project and Steering Committee member
Norbert Bollow, Weidlistr.18, CH-8624 Gruet   (near Zurich, Switzerland)
Tel +41 1 972 20 59       Fax +41 1 972 20 69
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