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Re: Mathworks-hosted GPL'd software

From: Francesco Potortì
Subject: Re: Mathworks-hosted GPL'd software
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 2010 18:52:29 +0100

>The wikipedia article on "copyleft" traces the term back at least to
>literature and art works of the '60s. Hobbyist programmers/homebrew
>computer users adopted the term copyleft to for their software in the
>mid 70's (without a specific license language) after the
>Gates/Microsoft/BASIC fiasco. 

Well, it is an almost natural play on words when you are somehow angry
at copyright.

>                              Their intent was the same as what is
>meant by copyleft today. 

Not really so, at least not so in the computer world.  Here, the term
today is used almost exclusively in the sense propagated by RMS, that
is, as an attribute of software licenses, so that a persistent (or
self-perpetuating) free software licence is in the class of "copyleft

>                         Apparently the term eventually trickled into
>academic circles in that 80s and RMS/FSF probably were the first to
>attempt to work out the requisite legalities. There is unfortunately a
>tendency to forget that not everything originates in academia.

In fact, outside of computer circles, sometimes copyleft has a much more
wide and less precise meaning, indicating all initiatives that oppose
copyright practices in their current form.  In this sense, you are
right.  But the two uses of the word are quite different.

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