@vanbc.wimsey.com (Mark C. Henderson) writes:
>In article <212hdt$...
@foucault.eecs.berkeley.edu (Joe Buck) writes:
@fermi.clas.Virginia.EDU (Greg Hennessy) writes:
>>>If writing code such as
>>> call gpl_function();
>>>is subject to the GNU copyright terms, isn't this the same argument
>>>that USL is using to claim that the Net-2 distribution is a derived
>>It's not clear to me that this is what RMS is claiming.
from private mail to RMS, it sure seems to be his claim! Maybe not
in this over-simplified form, but if you called a bunch of
specific functions in a specific way - yes.
i would like to see rms himself answer this one!
It seems the FSF believes that providing a patch to GPL code, a patch
that was derived independently of GNU code, must be covered by
the GPL license. If I sold such a patch, FSF claims that what I have
done is really sell GPL software, splitted into various files, in order
to sabotage the GPL! Again, this is what I understood from RMS in
private mail (I don't want to say he said it - I'll be happy to hear
a denial) I also understood the FSF got a legal opinion to claim this
and intend to sue in such a case if needed.
I find this claim ridicules. People have been selling "patches" and
"add-ons" to COMMERCIAL PROGRAMS for years, and recent supreme court
decision seems to indicate that a hardware patch is legal (and I think
a software patch would be just as legal, and so do the lawyers I
talked to. i am referring to the nintendo case. Of course, the FSF and
thier lawyer seems to think that this hardware patch is somehow different.
Hence if I made a hardware device to type on your keyboard to patch GPL
code it might be ok, but not if I provided a software path :-)
In the case of Nintendo, the judges said Nintendo copyrights can not be
violated because people must still buy the game! I believe the same is
true for commerical software, and also to GNU software (it's the FSF "fault"
for "selling" GPL code for zero.)
People have been discussing theoretical cases for a while here ... why
don't you try a practical example. Duel. Duel is an add-on that is currently
useful only when linked to gdb. I wrote Duel and released its code
to the public domain, so the independent code could be used with other
debuggers [the gdb related code is about 10% in a single source file]
According to me, I am not violating the GPL, and if I wanted to sell Duel's
code, I could. According to the FSF, I a not violating the GPL only becuase
I am covered by it (my code is freely available) and I couldn't sell it.
Since Duel is PD, anyone of you out there can take it, modify it a tiny
bit, and re-release it as commercial product. As the author of the original
code, I encourage you to do so! (I believe in the free market. Either your
code is so good it is worth paying for, or people will just get the PD
version and use that. I am not afraid of you making a little money of my
work. I released my code to the public to help the public. If the public
purchase your code based on my, the public is being helped!)
So here is the deal: take Duel, add some code, make it ftp-able but
add a note: this code costs money. You should send me $10 if you use it.
Non-binding, but still, a commerical offering. If you are in a large
institution, you can even make the $10 payable to the institution. Many
academic institution would support such a commerical effort if they get
the money. And the legal responsibility is theirs. Then,
we can see if RMS actually sues the institute for copyright violation
or not. I would very much would like him to, for it will prove, at least
partially, if the GPL is indeed legally binding or a good fairytale.
ps. You can get duel and details about it from ftp.cs.princeton.edu:/duel
Why haven't *I* released it commercially to test this? because I had
an interest in a public domain Duel, not a crusade againt the GPL.
Michael Golan | Duel, an addon to gdb, allows "x[..100] >? 0" to
m...@cs.princeton.edu | show the positive elements of x in the debugger.
| annon ftp ftp.cs.princeton.edu:/duel or send me mail!