Concerned about Clojure's license choice.

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sebe...@spawar.navy.mil

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Nov 1, 2008, 1:33:49 PM11/1/08
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Hello. I am an open source programmer and fan of Clojure!
I wanted to express my concern about your wonderful language project
in the
hopes it may help it succeed even more.

Are you really sure you want/need to use the Common Public License for
your
language? The biggest problem I see with this license is that it is
not
compatible with the GPL. This means a lot to many people and I would
hate to
see you have to wasted time with discussing license issues when a new
license
would avoid all these problems.

You may find this article informative....

http://www.dwheeler.com/essays/gpl-compatible.html


Chris

Phlex

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Nov 2, 2008, 1:50:57 PM11/2/08
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sebe...@spawar.navy.mil wrote:
> The biggest problem I see with this license is that it is
> not
> compatible with the GPL.
I would hate to see clojure adopting the GPL.
About the CPL (clojure's license) : is a program I am doing using
clojure considered as a derivative work ?

Sacha

jdz

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Nov 2, 2008, 1:52:07 PM11/2/08
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On Nov 1, 7:33 pm, "seber...@spawar.navy.mil"
<seber...@spawar.navy.mil> wrote:
> Are you really sure you want/need to use the Common Public License for
> your
> language?  The biggest problem I see with this license is that it is
> not
> compatible with the GPL.  This means a lot to many people and I would
> hate to
> see you have to wasted time with discussing license issues when a new
> license
> would avoid all these problems.

For the reasons of maintaining the balance in the universe, let me add
another input on this matter:
1. Judging from the quality and reasoning behind Clojure I trust the
author to have put enough thought into the choice of the licence.
2. I personally dislike GPL (maybe because it makes some people start
hating something). And even then I'm not going around and telling
other people to change the licence of their software.
3. If GPL is incompatible with other licences, what's the reason to
embrace it? That's not going to solve anything because the next person
will come and tell that GPL is the wrong choice since it is
incompatible with CPL.

If the choice of the licence bothers you, go have some beer. Like i
have :)

Randall R Schulz

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Nov 2, 2008, 2:06:37 PM11/2/08
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On Saturday 01 November 2008 10:33, sebe...@spawar.navy.mil wrote:
> ...

>
> Are you really sure you want/need to use the Common Public License
> for your language? The biggest problem I see with this license is
> that it is not compatible with the GPL. This means a lot to many
> people and I would hate to see you have to wasted time with discussing
> license issues when a new license would avoid all these problems.

I am not a lawyer nor do I claim any particular expertise regarding open
source licensing, but I do know that many projects and businesses, both
commercial and open-source, will categorically not use GPL-licensed
software in their projects.


> You may find this article informative....
>
> http://www.dwheeler.com/essays/gpl-compatible.html
>
>
> Chris


Randall Schulz

James Reeves

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Nov 2, 2008, 2:13:17 PM11/2/08
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On Nov 2, 6:50 pm, Phlex <Ph...@telenet.be> wrote:
> I would hate to see clojure adopting the GPL.
> About the CPL (clojure's license) : is a program I am doing using
> clojure considered as a derivative work ?

According to an article written by an attorney working for the Open
Source Initiative, it wouldn't be.

http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/6366

- James

Matthias Benkard

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Nov 2, 2008, 4:16:44 PM11/2/08
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> I would hate to see clojure adopting the GPL.

Certainly, something compatible with the GPL wouldn't have to be the
GPL itself.

(This doesn't mean I'd like to see Clojure's license changed. Just
wanted to clarify things.)

Matthias

.Bill Smith

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Nov 2, 2008, 4:56:56 PM11/2/08
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a r

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Nov 2, 2008, 6:28:57 PM11/2/08
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On Sat, Nov 1, 2008 at 5:33 PM, sebe...@spawar.navy.mil
<sebe...@spawar.navy.mil> wrote:
>
> Hello. I am an open source programmer and fan of Clojure!
> I wanted to express my concern about your wonderful language project
> in the
> hopes it may help it succeed even more.

CPL is very liberal and I am pretty happy with this choice. This is
not our decision after all - it's the author who decides what people
can do with _his_ code.

Still, for me a dual CPL/LGPL license would be nicer. This is purely
for practical reasons - Java itself going GPL, reusing (those few) GPL
Java libraries or embedding Clojure compiler in GPL applications (this
might be OK with CPL, I'm not sure).

> You may find this article informative....
>
> http://www.dwheeler.com/essays/gpl-compatible.html

Personally I think this article is rather offensive - GPL
incompatibility is (or should be) a problem for people releasing
software under GPL, not others.

-r.

sebe...@spawar.navy.mil

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Nov 2, 2008, 7:00:25 PM11/2/08
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I am not advocating Clojure move to the GPL!!! I don't want to fight
that battle.

However, a slight change to a GPL *compatible* license would be
*very* welcome
and I think benefit Clojure.

Chris

On Nov 2, 10:50 am, Phlex <Ph...@telenet.be> wrote:
> seber...@spawar.navy.mil wrote:
> > The biggest problem I see with this license is that it is
> > not
> > compatible with the GPL.  
>
> I would hate to seeclojureadopting the GPL.
> About the CPL (clojure'slicense) : is a program I am doing usingclojureconsidered as a derivative work ?
>
> Sacha

sebe...@spawar.navy.mil

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Nov 2, 2008, 7:04:00 PM11/2/08
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On Nov 2, 11:06 am, Randall R Schulz <rsch...@sonic.net> wrote:
> many projects and businesses, both
> commercial and open-source, will categorically not use GPL-licensed
> software in their projects.

straw man again.....They will use a GPL compatible license like MIT
and BSD and many others.
I'm not advocating the GPL here. Just a GPL compatible license.
Chris

sebe...@spawar.navy.mil

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Nov 2, 2008, 7:02:26 PM11/2/08
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On Nov 2, 10:52 am, jdz <yohoho...@gmail.com> wrote:
>  2. I personally dislike GPL

<sigh> Opinions about the GPL are straw men. No one is advocating
conversion to GPL....just a GPL compatible license.

sebe...@spawar.navy.mil

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Nov 2, 2008, 7:05:07 PM11/2/08
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On Nov 2, 1:16 pm, Matthias Benkard <mulkiat...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > I would hate to seeclojureadopting the GPL.
>
> Certainly, something compatible with the GPL wouldn't have to be the
> GPL itself.

Thank you. True!

cs

sebe...@spawar.navy.mil

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Nov 2, 2008, 7:06:56 PM11/2/08
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On Nov 2, 3:28 pm, "a r" <nbs.pub...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Still, for me a dual CPL/LGPL license would be nicer. This is purely
> for practical reasons - Java itself going GPL, reusing (those few) GPL
> Java libraries or embeddingClojurecompiler in GPL applications (this
> might be OK with CPL, I'm not sure).

Yes! I think a dual license would be great for Clojure too.
That makes 2 of us.

Chris

Randall R Schulz

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Nov 2, 2008, 7:09:50 PM11/2/08
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On Sunday 02 November 2008 16:04, sebe...@spawar.navy.mil wrote:
> On Nov 2, 11:06 am, Randall R Schulz <rsch...@sonic.net> wrote:
> > many projects and businesses, both
> > commercial and open-source, will categorically not use GPL-licensed
> > software in their projects.
>
> straw man again...

Please. You suggest that I'm trying to use deceptive debating practices.

If you wanted to stress the distinction between GPL and "GPL-compatible"
you should have done so, lest you be accused of trying to use deceptive
debating tactics.


> ...
> Chris


Randall Schulz

sebe...@spawar.navy.mil

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Nov 2, 2008, 7:12:57 PM11/2/08
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On Nov 2, 1:56 pm, ".Bill Smith" <william.m.sm...@gmail.com> wrote:
> For an earlier discussion of this same topic, seehttp://groups.google.com/group/clojure/browse_thread/thread/735aa7f1c...
>
> Bill

I agree that GPL incompatibility isn't a concern for Clojure *users*.

It would be a practical problem for others however. As 'a r'
mentioned, it would be problem for someone wanting to share or pull in
other libraries.

All I'm saying is a lot of FUD could be avoided with MIT or BSD.

Chris

Rich Hickey

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Nov 2, 2008, 8:11:33 PM11/2/08
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On Nov 2, 7:12 pm, "seber...@spawar.navy.mil"
MIT and BSD are not reciprocal licenses. I want a reciprocal license.
But I don't want the license to apply to, or dictate anything about,
non-derivative work that is combined with mine, as GPL does. I think
doing so is fundamentally wrong.

The fact that GPL is not compatible with that approach is a problem
with GPL, and for users of GPL software.

Rich

sebe...@spawar.navy.mil

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Nov 2, 2008, 10:31:14 PM11/2/08
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On Nov 2, 5:11 pm, Rich Hickey <richhic...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I want a reciprocal license.
> But I don't want the license to apply to, or dictate anything about,
> non-derivative work that is combined with mine, as GPL does. I think
> doing so is fundamentally wrong.

It is your code and you are free to license it any way you chose.

I think there may be a solution that gives you what you want *and*
will spur the growth of Clojure even more into places where people
have to deal with the GPL.

If I understand you correctly, you want a *subset* of the GPL's
conditions to apply. A license with a subset of the GPL's conditions
is GPL compatible. The *only* problem with the Common Public License
is the "choice of law" clause. From what you said, it doesn't sound
like this is forefront on your mind for why you chose the CPL.

What about these license alternatives?.....

(1) The Common Public License with an explicit exception negating the
"choice of law clause".

(2) LGPL or GPL with explicit exceptions negating the conditions you
don't desire.

(There are examples of projects 'weakening' the GPL in various ways
to suit their needs.)

Please understand, the only potential issue is merely one tiny odd
requirement of the CPL that may cause more problems that I think it is
worth. I'd hate to see you not "have your cake and eat it too" if it
only required a small alteration.

Chris

Phlex

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Nov 3, 2008, 1:51:58 AM11/3/08
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James Reeves wrote:
> On Nov 2, 6:50 pm, Phlex <Ph...@telenet.be> wrote:
>
>> is a program I am doing using
>> clojure considered as a derivative work ?
>>
>

> http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/6366
>
>
>

Thank you,
Sacha

Mark H.

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Nov 3, 2008, 1:52:46 AM11/3/08
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On Nov 2, 10:31 pm, "seber...@spawar.navy.mil"
<seber...@spawar.navy.mil> wrote:
> (There are  examples of projects 'weakening' the GPL in  various ways
> to suit their needs.)

Just out of curiosity (I don't have an interest in this particular
issue at the moment so I'm not taking a side in this debate), what
would be a concrete example in which Clojure would benefit from having
a different license than it does now?

There is precedent for being concerned about licenses in the Lisp
world mainly because the LGPL (for example) makes distinctions between
"work that uses a library" and "derivative work of the library" that
seem more relevant to the C way of doing things than to the Lisp way.
(For example, deciding whether something is a derivative work of an
LGPL library requires looking at how much content it takes from the
library's header files. Lisp doesn't have header files, oops!) Franz
Inc. has their own variant of the LGPL specifically to address such
concerns:

http://opensource.franz.com/preamble.html

If you are interested in debates about licenses for other Lisp
systems, you may also wish to look at the ECL (Embeddable Common Lisp)
e-mail archives. ECL is in the interesting position of being both an
ANSI Common Lisp implementation and a C library (with header files as
well as shared or static object files).

mfh

Christian Vest Hansen

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Nov 3, 2008, 2:33:51 AM11/3/08
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On Mon, Nov 3, 2008 at 2:11 AM, Rich Hickey <richh...@gmail.com> wrote:
> MIT and BSD are not reciprocal licenses. I want a reciprocal license.

What does it mean that a license is reciprocal?


--
Venlig hilsen / Kind regards,
Christian Vest Hansen.

mritun

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Nov 3, 2008, 5:14:09 AM11/3/08
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Hi Chris

What said problem would moving to GPL solve ? Shouldn't we hear
atleast a couple of benefits that may be derived from moving to GPL ?
Are there (GPL) projects that clojure would benefit from incorporating
directly into the base language compiler and/or libraries ? What are
they ? Are there people and communities waiting to contribute code who
see CPL as a road block ?

Secondly, from the license point of view, which GPL would you
advocate ? GPL V2 and GPL V3 are incompatible, unless the authors have
given freedom to choose a later version when they released the code
under GPL v2.

Java has moved to GPL (with classpath exception), however would
clojure benefit from JVM code ? Clojure is a language that targets the
JVM/Java platform. The license of the platform is of same relevance as
a license of OS (Linux/Windows/Solaris) has on license of code that is
running on it, which to say is - none!

Choice of venue for resolving infringement disputes is, imho, the
thing that keeps the license relevant. It keeps the author in a
position where he can defend himself or prosecute meaningfully, unless
somehow you are rolling in cash and are okay with prosecuting someone
in a court overseas in his hometown and not yours!

Finally, would someone enlighten a project that derived significant
benefits from moving from a non-GPL open source license to GPL.

PS: And what is it about GPL fanbois telling everyone what to do with
their code ? I don't see BSD/MIT/Apache/X11/CDDL/CPL camps go around
poking everyone to switch just like what religious nuts were doing in
medieval times.

- Akhilesh

On Nov 1, 10:33 pm, "seber...@spawar.navy.mil"

darren...@gmail.com

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Nov 3, 2008, 5:22:03 AM11/3/08
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On Nov 3, 7:33 am, "Christian Vest Hansen" <karmazi...@gmail.com>
wrote:
> On Mon, Nov 3, 2008 at 2:11 AM, Rich Hickey <richhic...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > MIT and BSD are not reciprocal licenses. I want a reciprocal license.
>
> What does it mean that a license is reciprocal?
>
I think in this case it means that any contributions or modifications
also become licensed under the CPL. So (unlike the BSD license) I
can't do an 'embrace and extend' on Clojure without releasing my
changes back to the community. The CPL also has specific wording to
deal with patents, so someone can't add a bunch of patented code
(either accidentally or deliberately) and later demand royalties for
using the patented stuff.

J. Pablo Fernández

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Nov 3, 2008, 8:35:12 AM11/3/08
to Clojure
One thing that might be doable and acceptable is dual licensing. If
Clojure is realsed as CPL *and* GPL, it can be combined with GPL
programs and it is not in any way more free than the CPL (say, like if
you add BSD in the bag). In that way you can keep GPLists happy and
still use CPL.

On Nov 1, 6:33 pm, "seber...@spawar.navy.mil"

sebe...@spawar.navy.mil

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Nov 3, 2008, 1:54:15 PM11/3/08
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On Nov 3, 5:35 am, J. Pablo Fernández <pup...@pupeno.com> wrote:
> One thing that might be doable and acceptable is dual licensing. If
> Clojure is realsed as CPL *and* GPL, it can be combined with GPL
> programs and it is not in any way more free than the CPL (say, like if
> you add BSD in the bag). In that way you can keep GPLists happy and
> still use CPL.

It doesn't even have to be dual-licensed with the GPL. It just has to
be dual licensed
with a GPL *compatible* license.

Chris

sebe...@spawar.navy.mil

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Nov 3, 2008, 1:59:56 PM11/3/08
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On Nov 3, 2:14 am, mritun <mri...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Chris
>
> What said problem would moving to GPL solve ? Shouldn't we hear
> atleast a couple of benefits that may be derived from moving to GPL ?
> Are there (GPL) projects that clojure would benefit from incorporating
> directly into the base language compiler and/or libraries ? What are
> they ? Are there people and communities waiting to contribute code who
> see CPL as a road block ?
>
> Secondly, from the license point of view, which GPL would you
> advocate ? GPL V2 and GPL V3 are incompatible, unless the authors have
> given freedom to choose a later version when they released the code
> under GPL v2.

I'm not advocating the GPL...only a GPL compatible license. Regarding
the benefits to a dual license or reclicense, are you sure there
*aren't* benefits? If it is easy to move to GPL compatibility, then
is it worth worrying about? *I don't know* what kinds of innovations
people will dream up in the future that will be allowed by a GPL
compatible license. *I do know* that they won't happen if there are
license conflicts.


> Finally, would someone enlighten a project that derived significant
> benefits from moving from a non-GPL open source license to GPL.

My initial post had a link that may help answer this.

Chris

sebe...@spawar.navy.mil

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Nov 3, 2008, 2:01:23 PM11/3/08
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On Nov 2, 10:52 pm, "Mark H." <mark.hoem...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Nov 2, 10:31 pm, "seber...@spawar.navy.mil"
>
> <seber...@spawar.navy.mil> wrote:
> > (There are  examples of projects 'weakening' the GPL in  various ways
> > to suit their needs.)
>
> Just out of curiosity (I don't have an interest in this particular
> issue at the moment so I'm not taking a side in this debate), what
> would be a concrete example in which Clojure would benefit from having
> a different license than it does now?

See the link in my initial post if you haven't already.

Chris

Chouser

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Nov 3, 2008, 2:24:02 PM11/3/08
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On Sat, Nov 1, 2008 at 12:33 PM, sebe...@spawar.navy.mil
<sebe...@spawar.navy.mil> wrote:
>
> http://www.dwheeler.com/essays/gpl-compatible.html

From that page, "it is possible that the CPL is compatible with GPL
version 3" Sounds like GPL-compatibility may be coming to us without
us having to change anything.

On the other hand, Rich's diligent work with the Contributor Agreement
means that if the current license is the "wrong" one, there's no
particular urgency in changing it -- the license can be changed as
easily later as it could be now.

So why don't we relax a bit until someone has identified an actual
concrete benefit of making a license change?

--Chouser

Matthias Benkard

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Nov 3, 2008, 3:36:20 PM11/3/08
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On Nov 3, 7:59 pm, "seber...@spawar.navy.mil"
<seber...@spawar.navy.mil> wrote:
> I'm not advocating the GPL...only a GPL compatible license. Regarding
> the benefits to a dual license or reclicense, are you sure there
> *aren't* benefits? If it is easy to move to GPL compatibility, then
> is it worth worrying about?

Yes, it's worth worrying about. The problem is, you're going to have
the danger of fragmenting the Clojure user base. If one part of the
community distribute their work under the CPL, while the other part
distribute their work under the GPL (or any other CPL-incompatible
license), you will not be able to combine code from both parts of the
community. You're going to have to rely on everyone dual-licensing
their work, which kind of negates all the benefits of having dual-
licensed Clojure in the first place.

That's the way I see it, anyway. I'm not very sure about all of this.

Matthias

sebe...@spawar.navy.mil

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Nov 4, 2008, 1:11:32 AM11/4/08
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On Nov 3, 12:36 pm, Matthias Benkard <mulkiat...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Yes, it's worth worrying about.  The problem is, you're going to have
> the danger of fragmenting the Clojure user base.

I think Clojure has potential to become *very much* more well known
and used.
Are we sure we want to risk going down this route when things are an
order of magnitude harder? (Think Mozilla.)

Chris

J. Pablo Fernández

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Nov 4, 2008, 2:32:51 AM11/4/08
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Hello,

On Nov 3, 7:54 pm, "seber...@spawar.navy.mil"
True, it can be LGPL, BSD, etc. I proposed GPL because is the one that
leaves less freedom, thus changing as little as possible the current
situation.

Rich Hickey

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Nov 4, 2008, 7:35:42 AM11/4/08
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On Nov 4, 1:11 am, "seber...@spawar.navy.mil"
There is not the same risk for Clojure, as all of the contributions
are covered by a CA that allows me to dual license down the road if it
becomes useful to do so.

So far, you are only the third person to complain about lack of GPL
compatibility.

I would turn it around and say - if there is something you want to
combine with Clojure that is GPL why don't you ask them to make it
LGPL instead, in which case there would be no problem? The problem
lies with GPL.

Rich

Matthias Benkard

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Nov 4, 2008, 11:37:08 AM11/4/08
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On Nov 4, 1:35 pm, Rich Hickey <richhic...@gmail.com> wrote:
> So far, you are only the third person to complain about lack of GPL
> compatibility.

For the sake of balance, I _am_ actually concerned about the CPL
because it effectively denies developers the freedom to be politically
unneutral.

Let's say I want to write a library that may only be used by free
software, out of political reasons. (That should be okay, right?
It's my code, after all.) The natural license choice in this case is
the GPL, which is widely used and makes my new library compatible with
all the other GPL-compatibly licensed stuff out there.

The CPL doesn't allow me to choose the GPL. Instead, it forces me to
apply a CPL-compatible, GPL-like license -- a thing which may or may
not currently exist, but which will certainly make my library useless
to almost everybody because without GPL compatibility, it in turn
forces a non-GPL-compatible license onto my library's users, who will
probably want to make use of GPL-licensed libraries as well as mine.

If it was only about Clojure, it wouldn't be so bad, since because of
the license conflict, there can't be any GPL-licensed Clojure
libraries out there. But it's not just Clojure -- it's about all of
the Java ecosystem.

That's also why your suggestion to ask the authors of a GPL'd library
to LGPL it seems to me a bit unrealistic. After all, the authors
probably released the library under the GPL out of political reasons,
so they're unlikely to hamper their political motives by changing the
license.

Therefore, by choosing the CPL, you're making a political statement
against a sizable part of the Free Software movement. This ought not
to be done without thorough consideration, I think.

Matthias

P.S. English is not my native language, and as far as I can tell, this
is a highly sensitive issue. I sincerely hope I could get my point
across without insulting anyone by choosing the wrong words.

Alec Berryman

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Nov 4, 2008, 11:51:55 AM11/4/08
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Matthias Benkard on 2008-11-04 08:37:08 -0800:

> The CPL doesn't allow me to choose the GPL. Instead, it forces me to
> apply a CPL-compatible, GPL-like license -- a thing which may or may
> not currently exist, but which will certainly make my library useless
> to almost everybody because without GPL compatibility, it in turn
> forces a non-GPL-compatible license onto my library's users, who will
> probably want to make use of GPL-licensed libraries as well as mine.

I looked into writing an application in Clojure that 1) uses
libraries licensed under the GPL with the classpath exception and 2) is
licensed under the GPL itself. I concluded that 1 is OK, and that 2
works, as long as you have a classpath exception or something more
restrictive along the lines of the OpenSSL exception.

That's not exactly what I would want, and I am still uncomfortable with
the CPL's choice of law clause (and am unsure how it interacts with
GPL+classpath exception software when derived work kicks in), but I
think with enough exceptions you can get some messy semblance of what
you want.

I'd be interested to know if anyone disagrees with the above - working
through all of that was a headache. It would be interesting to see the
FSF's position on this; I haven't gotten around to emailing them about
it.

Matthias Benkard

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Nov 4, 2008, 12:00:13 PM11/4/08
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On Nov 4, 5:51 pm, Alec Berryman <a...@thened.net> wrote:
> I looked into writing an application in Clojure that 1) uses
> libraries licensed under the GPL with the classpath exception and 2) is
> licensed under the GPL itself.  I concluded that 1 is OK, and that 2
> works, as long as you have a classpath exception or something more
> restrictive along the lines of the OpenSSL exception.

That is my understanding as well, but...

> That's not exactly what I would want, and I am still uncomfortable with
> the CPL's choice of law clause (and am unsure how it interacts with
> GPL+classpath exception software when derived work kicks in), but I
> think with enough exceptions you can get some messy semblance of what
> you want.

As far as I understand, the GPL + Classpath Exception is effectively
the LGPL (or even a bit more permissive), so it's not what I'm talking
about at all, I'm afraid.

Matthias

Rich Hickey

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Nov 4, 2008, 12:12:37 PM11/4/08
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On Nov 4, 2008, at 11:37 AM, Matthias Benkard wrote:

>
> On Nov 4, 1:35 pm, Rich Hickey <richhic...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> So far, you are only the third person to complain about lack of GPL
>> compatibility.
>
> For the sake of balance, I _am_ actually concerned about the CPL
> because it effectively denies developers the freedom to be politically
> unneutral.
>
> Let's say I want to write a library that may only be used by free
> software, out of political reasons. (That should be okay, right?
> It's my code, after all.) The natural license choice in this case is
> the GPL, which is widely used and makes my new library compatible with
> all the other GPL-compatibly licensed stuff out there.
>
> The CPL doesn't allow me to choose the GPL.

You've got this completely backwards - the GPL doesn't allow you to
combine with certain things, whereas the CPL is fine with it.

> Instead, it forces me to
> apply a CPL-compatible, GPL-like license -- a thing which may or may
> not currently exist, but which will certainly make my library useless
> to almost everybody because without GPL compatibility, it in turn
> forces a non-GPL-compatible license onto my library's users, who will
> probably want to make use of GPL-licensed libraries as well as mine.

Completely untrue - the CPL makes no requirements whatsoever on
libraries with which it is combined. The problem lies with GPL.

>
> If it was only about Clojure, it wouldn't be so bad, since because of
> the license conflict, there can't be any GPL-licensed Clojure
> libraries out there. But it's not just Clojure -- it's about all of
> the Java ecosystem.
>
> That's also why your suggestion to ask the authors of a GPL'd library
> to LGPL it seems to me a bit unrealistic. After all, the authors
> probably released the library under the GPL out of political reasons,
> so they're unlikely to hamper their political motives by changing the
> license.

Then they (and their consumers) have to live with the effects of the
choices they make and not blame others for making different choices.

>
>
> Therefore, by choosing the CPL, you're making a political statement
> against a sizable part of the Free Software movement. This ought not
> to be done without thorough consideration, I think.
>

I'm not making any statement. Some people who choose the GPL end up
with restrictions about which they are unhappy. LGPL and classpath
exceptions exist for a reason.

Rich

Matthias Benkard

unread,
Nov 4, 2008, 12:40:57 PM11/4/08
to Clojure
On Nov 4, 6:12 pm, Rich Hickey <richhic...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > The CPL doesn't allow me to choose the GPL.
>
> You've got this completely backwards - the GPL doesn't allow you to  
> combine with certain things, whereas the CPL is fine with it.

I know that, but the fact is, the GPL has been widely used for a long
time, and consciously choosing a GPL-incompatible license in this
scenario means preventing users from making use of a lot of existing
code.

Circumstance has it that there is a conflict between the CPL and the
GPL. This doesn't make either the CPL or the GPL a bad license. It
does make it more important to think about the choice of license and
the practical consequences thereof.


> Completely untrue - the CPL makes no requirements whatsoever on  
> libraries with which it is combined. The problem lies with GPL.

Again, it's not the license itself, it's the _choice_ of license that
I'm talking about.


> > Therefore, by choosing the CPL, you're making a political statement
> > against a sizable part of the Free Software movement.  This ought not
> > to be done without thorough consideration, I think.
>
> I'm not making any statement. Some people who choose the GPL end up  
> with restrictions about which they are unhappy.  LGPL and classpath  
> exceptions exist for a reason.

Yes, but you _could_ choose a slightly different license, right? A
license just like the CPL, but without a choice-of-law clause? Which
could make a lot of people happy?

You have no obligation to do so, moral or otherwise, and I'm not
trying to make you look evil for choosing GPL incompatibility or
anything. You may say the GPL crowd's unhappiness about the CPL is
their own fault, not yours -- and you're right. The license choice is
up to you. I'm just trying to explain what the problem is, and that
there is a political aspect to it that one might overlook easily.

Matthias

mritun

unread,
Nov 4, 2008, 1:50:35 PM11/4/08
to Clojure

Shouldn't this flame-bait thread stop now ? Guys, you're just annoying
people interested in getting things done!

Get a beer! And if you're an American, go out and vote!

- Akhilesh

sebe...@spawar.navy.mil

unread,
Nov 4, 2008, 5:16:56 PM11/4/08
to Clojure
Rich

I didn't see any reply to the suggestion to simply negate the choice
of law clause. That seems to be the *only* reason this thread (and
future threads like it) exist/will exist. I'm just saying it may not
be a hill worth dying for so to speak.

Chris

Mibu

unread,
Nov 4, 2008, 6:49:17 PM11/4/08
to Clojure
Hello.

I came over to see what Clojure is all about and the first thing I see
is a license flame war. So I thought to myself, why not chime in?

You do know these licenses only hold in the litigious USA and some of
its subsidiaries? Even there, they're practically unenforceable. In
other places, developers usually ignore this red herring legal mambo
jumbo and just use the technology. Common law and common sense do the
rest.

Who here haven't stumbled upon an exciting project just to turn away
due to one of these "free" licenses with all their arbitrary
restrictions? Today, a GPL stamp is gradually becoming synonymous with
"bring a lawyer or go away". With time, I suspect other three-letter-
licenses will follow suit, no matter how permissive they are.

If this thing is supposed to be free then release it to the public
domain and focus on the technology rather than the legal aspects.
Otherwise, this license issue will distract and put off people, and in
the long run turn into a pathetic farce.

Ask yourself, what could possibly go wrong if you release something
that's supposed to be free into the public domain?

Just adding my 0.02 gallons of gasoline to the fire.

Aside from that invigorating entry to this group, I must say Clojure
looks so good, I can't remember when I felt so excited and hopeful
about a new piece of technology. Thanks for making this happen with or
without those stupid licenses.

Mibu

r

unread,
Nov 4, 2008, 8:21:11 PM11/4/08
to clo...@googlegroups.com
On Tue, Nov 4, 2008 at 12:35 PM, Rich Hickey <richh...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> I would turn it around and say - if there is something you want to
> combine with Clojure that is GPL why don't you ask them to make it
> LGPL instead, in which case there would be no problem? The problem
> lies with GPL.

The (only GPL) library I'm interested in is Qt Jambi, currently
distributed under a commercial license and GPL. I guess LGPL is way
too liberal for Trolltech/Nokia.

OTOH, what is this incompatibility really about? If I include a GPL
library and publish my code under CPL, the source code is still there,
isn't it?
Or, what if I publish my clojure code under a dual license GPL/CPL?
That IMHO should keep everyone happy.

-r.

r

unread,
Nov 4, 2008, 8:33:09 PM11/4/08
to clo...@googlegroups.com
On Wed, Nov 5, 2008 at 1:21 AM, r <nbs.p...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> The (only GPL) library I'm interested in is Qt Jambi, currently
> distributed under a commercial license and GPL. I guess LGPL is way
> too liberal for Trolltech/Nokia.

I've just found the "GUI builder and Clojure" thread - it looks like
CPL is fine with Qt Jambi due to explicit GPL exceptions. Still, if
someone could explain me what this GPL/CPL incompatibility is about
(in general case, without exception clauses) and what are practical
means of working it around that would be great.

-r.

Randall R Schulz

unread,
Nov 4, 2008, 8:39:46 PM11/4/08
to clo...@googlegroups.com
On Tuesday 04 November 2008 17:33, r wrote:
> ...

>
> I've just found the "GUI builder and Clojure" thread - it looks like
> CPL is fine with Qt Jambi due to explicit GPL exceptions. Still, if
> someone could explain me what this GPL/CPL incompatibility is about
> (in general case, without exception clauses) and what are practical
> means of working it around that would be great.

Perhaps the resource supplied by the OP would be a good start?

<http://www.dwheeler.com/essays/gpl-compatible.html>

At a minimum, I assume it reflects his (the OP's) perspective.


> -r.


Randall Schulz

Randall R Schulz

unread,
Nov 4, 2008, 9:01:43 PM11/4/08
to clo...@googlegroups.com
On Tuesday 04 November 2008 17:21, r wrote:
> ...

>
> OTOH, what is this incompatibility really about? If I include a GPL
> library and publish my code under CPL, the source code is still
> there, isn't it?

It's about how much control you retain over your own work once you
publish it. GPL has strong contagion clauses, as I understand it.

I'm not sure to what degree this is an oversimplification or even
whether it's accurate, but keep in mind that "free," as conceptualized
by the FSF and "open source" are quite distinct. Thus, mixing licenses
oriented towards the FSF philosophy of "software freedom" with the much
more limited notion of "open source" is likely to be problematic.


> Or, what if I publish my clojure code under a dual license GPL/CPL?
> That IMHO should keep everyone happy.

Or make everyone upset?? Seriously, I don't know enough about FLOSS
licenses individually, let alone what happens when you offer
alternatives or combinations.


> -r.


Randall Schulz

darren...@gmail.com

unread,
Nov 5, 2008, 9:33:08 AM11/5/08
to Clojure
On Nov 4, 4:37 pm, Matthias Benkard <mulkiat...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> The CPL doesn't allow me to choose the GPL.  Instead, it forces me to
> apply a CPL-compatible, GPL-like license -- a thing which may or may
> not currently exist, but which will certainly make my library useless
> to almost everybody because without GPL compatibility, it in turn
> forces a non-GPL-compatible license onto my library's users, who will
> probably want to make use of GPL-licensed libraries as well as mine.
>
Are you sure? You're not modifying the clojure source, so you're not
creating a derivative work. I would think you can create a GPL
licensed library in that case. Anyone who uses your library and
distributes the result would have to GPL their work. This has no
bearing on the clojure license. It's analagous to claiming that Intel
have to GPL their design for the x86 chips that Linux runs on, because
Linux itself is GPL.

Konrad Hinsen

unread,
Nov 5, 2008, 9:55:44 AM11/5/08
to clo...@googlegroups.com
On Nov 5, 2008, at 0:49, Mibu wrote:

> You do know these licenses only hold in the litigious USA and some of
> its subsidiaries? Even there, they're practically unenforceable. In
> other places, developers usually ignore this red herring legal mambo
> jumbo and just use the technology. Common law and common sense do the
> rest.

I agree. Can anyone cite a single lawsuit concerning an inappropriate
mix of licenses?

Konrad.

Matthias Benkard

unread,
Nov 5, 2008, 12:53:05 PM11/5/08
to Clojure
On Nov 5, 3:33 pm, "darren.ho...@gmail.com" <darren.ho...@gmail.com>
wrote:
> Are you sure? You're not modifying the clojure source, so you're not
> creating a derivative work. I would think you can create a GPL
> licensed library in that case.

I can, but noone else will be allowed to redistribute it or works
based upon it because the GPL disallows combining the work with CPL'd
code.

Imagine this scenario: There's a GPL'd Java library A. Its license
disallows combining it with something CPL'd like Clojure. I can't
release a programme based upon both Clojure and A because by doing so,
I'd be combining A with Clojure.

The CPL doesn't care, but the GPL does. I should probably have stated
this more explicitely.


> Anyone who uses your library and
> distributes the result would have to GPL their work.

If I create a library and put a GPL + “special Clojure
exception” (analogous to the OpenSSL exception that is so common) on
it (or maybe a GPL + “CPL exception” or whatever), then yes, something
like that will be the result. And that would be a fine situation, if
Clojure code could only call other Clojure code. But obviously, most
GPL'd Java libraries don't do this, if only for the fact that their
authors didn't know or care about Clojure when they started their
project.


> It's analagous to claiming that Intel
> have to GPL their design for the x86 chips that Linux runs on, because
> Linux itself is GPL.

This analogy seems to evade my mind.

Matthias

Graham Fawcett

unread,
Nov 5, 2008, 1:19:48 PM11/5/08
to clo...@googlegroups.com
On Wed, Nov 5, 2008 at 12:53 PM, Matthias Benkard <mulki...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> On Nov 5, 3:33 pm, "darren.ho...@gmail.com" <darren.ho...@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Are you sure? You're not modifying the clojure source, so you're not
>> creating a derivative work. I would think you can create a GPL
>> licensed library in that case.
>
> I can, but noone else will be allowed to redistribute it or works
> based upon it because the GPL disallows combining the work with CPL'd
> code.
>
> Imagine this scenario: There's a GPL'd Java library A. Its license
> disallows combining it with something CPL'd like Clojure. I can't
> release a programme based upon both Clojure and A because by doing so,
> I'd be combining A with Clojure.

Hi,

But you could release your program, and your installer could download
library A and install it, no? The sticking point is in redistribution,
not installation or use.

Best,
Graham

Mibu

unread,
Nov 5, 2008, 3:00:51 PM11/5/08
to Clojure
I love it how developers talk about legal issues as if they were
software issues: license compatibility, backward compatibility, dual-
licensing, license interop, adherence to license clauses, migration to
a different license, forking of licenses, license features, supporting
a license or license requirements, license names with Three-Letter-
Acronyms, version numbers, and even the way developers declare their
licenses at the beginning of sources files. It's all there in any
license flame war populated by software developers.

Free software licenses are a convention or a trend of open source
projects. Who said an OS project must have a license? Sure it's
convenient when one is really needed or if you really want to virally
and forcefully push your agenda onto others, but for most free
projects, if you just let them loose, there really are no issues of
liability, copyright, trademarks, patents, code mixing, tainted code,
distribution rights or even credits. It may seem there are issues
thanks to the verbose legal gobbledygook licenses are written in, but
really it's all bull.

Now, I'm not a lawyer, nor I play one on TV, but the truth is software
developers know about legal issues as much as legal professionals know
about software. One effect of this, is paralysis. Remember when you
needed to deal with something awfully bureaucratic, and you just put
it off? Same thing happens when people are faced with a difficult
dilemma, they avoid it. People see licenses, and immediately enter a
moral dilemma -- should they ignore the will of the developer and
possibly break the law or should they pay a lawyer? Which is the
greater sin?

Lispers were always avant-garde, ignoring convention, only considering
merit. Why can't we debate whether a license is needed at all for a
free project? It's like inventing a new programming language and
debating how you should retrofit it with OOP features because all the
other cool languages do it.

Mibu

(Too idealistic? Hey, it's a flame war. Just playing by the rules...)

Randall R Schulz

unread,
Nov 5, 2008, 3:19:44 PM11/5/08
to clo...@googlegroups.com
On Wednesday 05 November 2008 12:00, Mibu wrote:
> I love it how developers talk about legal issues as if they were
> software issues: license compatibility, backward compatibility, dual-
> licensing, license interop, adherence to license clauses, migration
> to a different license, forking of licenses, license features,
> supporting a license or license requirements, license names with
> Three-Letter- Acronyms, version numbers, and even the way developers
> declare their licenses at the beginning of sources files. ...

You send this as a reply to my message, yet I said nothing of the sort.

And perhaps you should ponder the similarity between the formal systems
of the law and those of digital information systems. You might find
they have more in common than you seem to think.


> Lispers were always avant-garde, ignoring convention, only
> considering merit. Why can't we debate whether a license is needed at

> all for a free project? ...

I think the answer is that very few people see it as a matter that
requires debate _whether_ a license is required. One has to make formal
the conditions under which a work of of technological authorship is
made available to the world at large. Programmers work long and hard on
their projects, whether large or small, and most of us naturally view
the fruits of our labor with a strong sense of ownership. And I'd say
that attitude is well deserved. All programming is hard. Library design
is harder. Language design is much harder, perhaps even the hardest
sub-discipline of all on the software side of IT.


> Mibu
>
> (Too idealistic? Hey, it's a flame war. Just playing by the rules...)

You have some odd ideas. No one is flaming. There is no war. And if
there is an idealism in what you suggest, it's barely discernable.
Unless perhaps it is that you renounce all notions of ownership,
perhaps only for intellectual property. You're entitled to that
viewpoint, of course, but don't expect to find many technologists to
share such a view.


Randall Schulz

Mibu

unread,
Nov 5, 2008, 3:30:23 PM11/5/08
to Clojure
> Unless perhaps it is that you renounce all notions of ownership,
> perhaps only for intellectual property. You're entitled to that
> viewpoint, of course, but don't expect to find many technologists to
> share such a view.

I don't renounce ownership rights at all, not even for intellectual
property. I just think "free" software licenses are useless at best
and counterproductive at worst when applied to projects that are
supposed to be free.

About the flame war thingy, it's with a tongue-in-cheek.

Mibu

Randall R Schulz

unread,
Nov 5, 2008, 3:40:40 PM11/5/08
to clo...@googlegroups.com
On Wednesday 05 November 2008 12:30, Mibu wrote:
> > Unless perhaps it is that you renounce all notions of ownership,
> > perhaps only for intellectual property. You're entitled to that
> > viewpoint, of course, but don't expect to find many technologists
> > to share such a view.
>
> I don't renounce ownership rights at all, not even for intellectual
> property. I just think "free" software licenses are useless at best
> and counterproductive at worst when applied to projects that are
> supposed to be free.

Then I don't think you understand what licenses are for. What you
advocate leaves authors powerless to exert any control over their
works, since the public domain is the absence of ownership and, hence,
of control.


> ...
>
> Mibu


Randall Schulz

Craig Andera

unread,
Nov 5, 2008, 3:43:15 PM11/5/08
to clo...@googlegroups.com
> I don't renounce ownership rights at all, not even for intellectual
> property. I just think "free" software licenses are useless at best
> and counterproductive at worst when applied to projects that are
> supposed to be free.

Free software needs a license if it's going to be adopted by
organizations with lawyers. That's true independent of their inherent
utility (or lack thereof).

sebe...@spawar.navy.mil

unread,
Nov 5, 2008, 4:09:29 PM11/5/08
to Clojure


On Nov 5, 6:55 am, Konrad Hinsen <konrad.hin...@laposte.net> wrote:

> I agree. Can anyone cite a single lawsuit concerning an inappropriate  
> mix of licenses?

Usually these license issues get resolved before court. The fact is
that it is illegal to combine CPL and GPL code in certain manners.
Doing that anyways and crossing your fingers that you won't get sued
doesn't sound like the best policy.

cs

sebe...@spawar.navy.mil

unread,
Nov 5, 2008, 4:13:39 PM11/5/08
to Clojure


On Nov 5, 12:00 pm, Mibu <mibu.cloj...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Why can't we debate whether a license is needed at all for a
> free project?

> (Too idealistic? Hey, it's a flame war. Just playing by the rules...)

This is sounding awfully trollish of you. I didn't start this thread
to cause a "flame war". My apologies to Rich and others if it seemed
that way. I genuinely care about removing barriers to open source
interoperability. My motives are pure.

cs

Rich Hickey

unread,
Nov 5, 2008, 5:34:36 PM11/5/08
to Clojure


On Nov 5, 4:13 pm, "seber...@spawar.navy.mil"
I'll grant that as true, and would like to end the current discussion
for now, as it's gone on pretty long and has run out of productive
content. This list has been free of 'wars' and I'd like to keep it
that way.

Here's where I stand with Clojure's licensing:

For the short term, it's going to remain CPL.

The next likely candidate would be EPL, CPL's successor, in wide use
by Eclipse et al, and acceptable to Google Code. If the EPL and GPL
folks can hammer out compatibility, great. Until then, I'll not let it
become my problem.

I will not be using any 'customized' license. Using a well known
license intact is the only way to make it easy for users to vet the
license for use. Anything else requires lawyers for me and them.

I will not be dual licensing with GPL or LGPL. Both licenses allow the
creation of derived works under GPL, a license I cannot use in my
work. Allowing derived works I cannot use is not reciprocal and make
no sense for me.

Thanks to all for your opinions - let's move on.

Rich

darren...@gmail.com

unread,
Nov 6, 2008, 6:54:51 AM11/6/08
to Clojure
On Nov 5, 5:53 pm, Matthias Benkard <mulkiat...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Nov 5, 3:33 pm, "darren.ho...@gmail.com" <darren.ho...@gmail.com>
> > Are you sure? You're not modifying the clojure source, so you're not
> > creating a derivative work. I would think you can create a GPL
> > licensed library in that case.
>
> I can, but noone else will be allowed to redistribute it or works
> based upon it because the GPL disallows combining the work with CPL'd
> code.
>
You're right, the issue is about distribution, not use. If the GPL
software assumes the presence of clojure (ie. does not include it in
the distribution) that should satisfy the license. Some Java programs
assume the presence of the JRE, with advice about how to get it if you
don't already have it.

> Imagine this scenario: There's a GPL'd Java library A.  Its license
> disallows combining it with something CPL'd like Clojure.  I can't
> release a programme based upon both Clojure and A because by doing so,
> I'd be combining A with Clojure.
>
I think as long as you don't include clojure in the distribution that
should be ok. Not a lawyer...

>
> > It's analagous to claiming that Intel
> > have to GPL their design for the x86 chips that Linux runs on, because
> > Linux itself is GPL.
>
> This analogy seems to evade my mind.
>
Yes, it was bad and wrong. Let's take squeezebox as an example. I
don't know what cpu it has, but it is a hardware appliance running GPL
code. The code is freely available from their website. But the
hardware, microcode etc is proprietary. So is the appliance a
'combined work' according to the GPL? Does a strict interpretation of
the GPL require that the hardware be GPL'ed as well? I would guess not
but I couldn't explain why not.

The GPL is as much about making a political statement as it is about
copyright issues. I've had several technology choices for internal
applications instantly vetoed due to the GPL even though we had no
plans to distribute simply because (a) nobody is really sure if that's
ok and (b) nobody in the business wanted to be dictated to by a
software license. That's the reality I work in. From a day to day
perspective the GPL causes me far more problems than it solves. I (and
most reasonable non-technical business people) can totally agree and
comply with something like the CPL. If I extend (and redistribute)
clojure the owner has a right to see the changes. If I build a
proprietary internal system using clojure, that's my business.
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