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Re: [OctDev] Octave-forge packaging

From: Paul Kienzle
Subject: Re: [OctDev] Octave-forge packaging
Date: Sun, 24 Apr 2005 10:39:47 -0400

On Apr 23, 2005, at 6:47 PM, Rafael Laboissiere wrote:

* John W. Eaton <address@hidden> [2005-04-23 14:38]:

It depends on whether you agree with the FSF that having the "user
perfrom the link" is a violation of the GPL.  The reason is that this
is a subterfuge.  No one person along the way is doing something avoid
the terms of the GPL, but the result is the same.

Clearly, different people have different ideas about the claim that
the FSF makes.  But I agree with the FSF interpretation.  If you
accept the other interpretation, and say that it is OK to have the
user perform the link, then the GPL is weakened to the point where it
might as well not exist.  In any case where the terms of the GPL would
be violated by distributing non-free software linked with GPL
software, we could just distribute the parts separately and ask that
users perform the final step of linking them together.

Thanks for the clarifications. The issue now boils down to the following
question: which license should I actually use for licensing octave-gpc?

According to the above interpretation, there is no license under which you can release octave-gpc which will remove the problem.

Whether or not the above is a correct interpretation has AFAIK not been decided. I happen to disagree with the FSF interpretation. Linking is a completely arbitrary criterion. I could just as easily write the arguments to a file and call a separate program to invoke the function. A memory based filesystem would make this faster. It should even be possible to write a specialized 'filesystem' which allows one process to access memory from another without a copy, making the overhead almost invisible.

Personal views aside, I'm content to remove any of my code from octave-forge if John believes it violates his license. That includes gcv since I'm responsible for putting it there. You will have to decide for yourself what to do with gpc. At a minimum I can remove nonfree from future releases if the Debian and Fedora maintainers insist. Let me know.

- Paul

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