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Re: GPL and other licences


From: Alfred M\. Szmidt
Subject: Re: GPL and other licences
Date: Fri, 03 Feb 2006 02:52:15 +0100

   > This is not what you asked, you asked if you could combine
   > non-free software with a GPLed work internally.  The GPL does not
   > allow this, so you have no permissions to do so be it for your
   > private use or not.

   Cite me a provision of the GPL that does not allow this.
   Preferrably support your answer with a quote of a sentence or two.

Are you really disputing the fact that one can combine non-free work
with a GPLed program?

   I'd like to incorporate GPL-covered software in my proprietary
   system. Can I do this?

          You cannot incorporate GPL-covered software in a proprietary
          system. The goal of the GPL is to grant everyone the freedom to
          copy, redistribute, understand, and modify a program. If you
          could incorporate GPL-covered software into a non-free system,
          it would have the effect of making the GPL-covered software
          non-free too.

          A system incorporating a GPL-covered program is an extended
          version of that program. The GPL says that any extended version
          of the program must be released under the GPL if it is released
          at all. This is for two reasons: to make sure that users who
          get the software get the freedom they should have, and to
          encourage people to give back improvements that they make.

          However, in many cases you can distribute the GPL-covered
          software alongside your proprietary system. To do this validly,
          you must make sure that the free and non-free programs
          communicate at arms length, that they are not combined in a way
          that would make them effectively a single program.

          The difference between this and "incorporating" the GPL-covered
          software is partly a matter of substance and partly form. The
          substantive part is this: if the two programs are combined so
          that they become effectively two parts of one program, then you
          can't treat them as two separate programs. So the GPL has to
          cover the whole thing.

          If the two programs remain well separated, like the compiler
          and the kernel, or like an editor and a shell, then you can
          treat them as two separate programs--but you have to do it
          properly. The issue is simply one of form: how you describe
          what you are doing. Why do we care about this? Because we want
          to make sure the users clearly understand the free status of
          the GPL-covered software in the collection.

          If people were to distribute GPL-covered software calling it
          "part of" a system that users know is partly proprietary, users
          might be uncertain of their rights regarding the GPL-covered
          software. But if they know that what they have received is a
          free program plus another program, side by side, their rights
          will be clear.




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