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Re: [fluid-dev] Another application using FluidSynth announced

From: Matt Giuca
Subject: Re: [fluid-dev] Another application using FluidSynth announced
Date: Thu, 8 Sep 2011 15:39:49 +1000

>> You said that Xcode is free.
> I've said that it is "gratis". And that GCC, the compiler included is also 
> free software.

Sorry. When I said "free" I meant "gratis".

> You are wrong with the assumption that free software implies "gratis" as well.

The "free as in freedom" of free software is not the same thing as the
"gratis" or "free as in beer", but it *does* imply some degree of
gratis. The two terms are closely related. For example, I can take
your free software (e.g., software you have licensed under the GPLv2)
and put it on a CD-ROM and start selling it, for sure -- part of my
freedom as the end user is the ability to sell it or make money off
your software. BUT the license does NOT give me a right to *require*
payment when I pass on those rights. For example, I cannot make a
modification (with public binary available) to your software and then
*sell* it back to you -- I am required to give it back to you at no
charge. It says so explicitly in the GPLv2:

2b: "You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in
whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part
thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties
under the terms of this License."

This isn't the same situation as FluidSynth, but I'm using it as a
demonstration to show that even though "libre" and "gratis" are not
the same thing, there is a link between them, and some uses of "free
software" do imply "gratis".

Now the FluidSynth case I cited above (having access to Apple's
developer tools) is more complex because the LGPL doesn't explicitly
state that the tools must be available "gratis". But here is my
reading of it.

Under Section 6, the developer of a "work that uses the Library" must
ensure that all of the "data and utility programs needed for
reproducing the executable from it" are available to the end user in
one of the following ways:
- It is distributed along with the application itself, or
- It is "normally distributed (in either source or binary form) with
the major components (compiler, kernel, and so on) of the operating
system on which the executable runs."

This says nothing about gratis, but it doesn't have to. The Apple iOS
developer tools are clearly needed for reproducing the executable from
the supplied object files and a modified version of FluidSynth, so
they must be available in one of the above two ways. We assume that
any iOS developer will not be permitted by Apple to distribute the
tools along with the application, so the first point does not apply.
And, to my knowledge, the developer tools are not normally distributed
with iOS.

The reason I brought up gratis is that I noticed that GCC isn't
covered by the above rule either. Since most Linux distros don't come
with GCC, free software are technically required to bundle GCC with
their software! Obviously, nobody does that, and I assume this isn't a
problem because GCC is available for gratis. However, in the iOS case,
it is different, because those tools are not available for gratis. And
furthermore, the Xcode tools are not the only tools required "to
produce a modified executable containing the modified Library,"
because you also require the approval of Apple. So I don't believe
that any developer distributing GPL or LGPL software via the App Store
is in compliance with the license.

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