Licensing issues for Feather.

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Jean-Claude Wippler

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May 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/18/99
to
Paul,

> What I am proposing to do is the following.
> 1) The Stub libraries are covered by the same license as Tcl uses,
> this means that extensions which link to them do not have to be
> rebuilt.
> 2) The main extensions will be covered by the LGPL which means that
> nobody can restrict their use.
>
> Comments ? I am particularly interested in how you think this use of
> two different licenses would work, I do not want either one of them to
> 'leak' across to the other.

Why not simply use a Tcl-style license for everything and move on?

Maybe someone will take your code, hide it into the most amazing killer
app, never tell you about it, and get rich and famous overnight.

Such thoughts terrify some people, but I think the real questions are:
- what *exactly* would be the problem if this happened?
- would it not happen if the license says "don't do that"?
- would people like you and me be able to enforce this?

Licenses and rights are meaningless unless you are willing and able to
verify and enforce them ... are you?

-- Jean-Claude

James Ingham

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May 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/18/99
to
Bob,

This is just a technical quibble, but you don't actually have to
distribute source with your application if it is LGPL'ed or GPL'ed.
All you have to do is make the source available upon request.

Sticking the source on an ftp site somewhere, and pointing somebody
at, is usually good enough. It still requires some work, but it need
not effect the actual delivery (you don't have to muck with putting
the source code in your installers, or in a net distribution, for
example.)

Jim

> Paul Duffin wrote:
> >
> > I have just been looking at what the best license is for releasing my
> > Feather package under.
>
>
> I am "allowed" to use software with the BSD-style license (like Tcl) and
> LGPL libraries. I am "not allowed" to use GPL libraries. Your
> suggested scheme to use a mixture of BSD and LGPL will be inconvenient,
> but will work.
>
> <opinion>
> I do not see a significant benefit of adding the LGPL restrictions to a
> library. I have used commercial products that included Tcl/Tk and Tix,
> and (as far as I can tell) my freedom to obtain Tcl and Tix have not
> been abridged - even when the Tix web site went down last year.
>
> On the down side, the LGPL forces the library user (me!) to do extra
> work. If I want to distribute a package which includes a BWidget, I
> must ensure that I distribute a complete source-code copy of the entire
> BWidget library, as well as all the appropriate LGPL license documents.
>
> Maybe in the "good-ol-days" when we had to ship 9 track tapes from coast
> to coast, the LGPL restrictions made sense. Today, they are just an
> inconvenience to anyone who might want to use your library.
> </opinion>
>
> Bob
> --
> Bob Techentin techenti...@mayo.edu
> Mayo Foundation (507) 284-2702
> Rochester MN, 55905 USA http://www.mayo.edu/sppdg/sppdg_home_page.html

--
++==++==++==++==++==++==++==++==++==++==++==++==++==++==++==++==++==++==++
Jim Ingham jin...@cygnus.com
Cygnus Solutions Inc.

Bryan Oakley

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May 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/18/99
to
Jean-Claude Wippler <j...@equi4.com> wrote in message
news:3741BB28...@equi4.com...

> Why not simply use a Tcl-style license for everything and move on?
>
> Maybe someone will take your code, hide it into the most amazing killer
> app, never tell you about it, and get rich and famous overnight.
>
> Such thoughts terrify some people, but I think the real questions are:
> - what *exactly* would be the problem if this happened?
> - would it not happen if the license says "don't do that"?
> - would people like you and me be able to enforce this?
>
> Licenses and rights are meaningless unless you are willing and able to
> verify and enforce them ... are you?

A fabulous commentary, and part of the reason why I use as little licensing
as possible on my software. I am most definitely *not* willing to enforce
the license. If someone makes a million bucks off of my software, good for
them. But I've never written code that was so good, so clever, so singularly
amazing that it would enable something like that to happen. If I ever do,
I'll never make it available in source form in the first place. All I want
from a license is a (possibly) binding statement absolving me from
liability. Beyond that, it's a waste of disk space.

lvi...@cas.org

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May 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/18/99
to

According to Bob Techentin <techenti...@mayo.edu>:
:I do not see a significant benefit of adding the LGPL restrictions to a

:library. I have used commercial products that included Tcl/Tk and Tix,

Wouldn't the 'benefit' be that anyone who uses the library is forced to
make the source code of their application available for basically free?

--
<URL: mailto:lvi...@cas.org> Quote: Saving the world before bedtime.
<*> O- <URL: http://www.purl.org/NET/lvirden/>
Unless explicitly stated to the contrary, nothing in this posting
should be construed as representing my employer's opinions.

Paul Duffin

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May 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/18/99
to
I have just been looking at what the best license is for releasing my
Feather package under. I have taken a look at the one which comes with
Tcl, the GPL http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html and the
Lesser GPL http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/lesser.html (formally know as
the Library GPL). I would be very interested in people's comments on
my proposal.

Feather is a set of shared libraries which support the Stub interface
so it has a set of Stub archive libraries which extensions wishing to
use it must link to. If these libraries were covered by the LGPL then
every extension which linked to them would have to provide sufficient
information (either source or object code) to allow the extension to be
rebuilt with a modified version of the libraries.

What I am proposing to do is the following.
1) The Stub libraries are covered by the same license as Tcl uses, this
means that extensions which link to them do not have to be rebuilt.
2) The main extensions will be covered by the LGPL which means that
nobody can restrict their use.

Comments ? I am particularly interested in how you think this use of
two different licenses would work, I do not want either one of them to
'leak' across to the other.

--
Paul Duffin
DT/6000 Development Email: pdu...@hursley.ibm.com
IBM UK Laboratories Ltd., Hursley Park nr. Winchester
Internal: 7-246880 International: +44 1962-816880

Bob Techentin

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May 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/18/99
to
Paul Duffin wrote:
>
> I have just been looking at what the best license is for releasing my
> Feather package under.

I am "allowed" to use software with the BSD-style license (like Tcl) and
LGPL libraries. I am "not allowed" to use GPL libraries. Your
suggested scheme to use a mixture of BSD and LGPL will be inconvenient,
but will work.

<opinion>


I do not see a significant benefit of adding the LGPL restrictions to a
library. I have used commercial products that included Tcl/Tk and Tix,

Paul Duffin

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May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
to
lvi...@cas.org wrote:
>
> According to Bob Techentin <techenti...@mayo.edu>:
> :I do not see a significant benefit of adding the LGPL restrictions to a

> :library. I have used commercial products that included Tcl/Tk and Tix,
>
> Wouldn't the 'benefit' be that anyone who uses the library is forced to
> make the source code of their application available for basically free?
>

No, the LGPL or Lesser GPL, previously known as the Library GPL
purposely prevents the license crossing the link boundary. It does
however require that the end user be able to relink with a different
compatible version of the licensed library. This does not cause much of
a problem if the library is loaded dynamically as the user can just
replace the copy on the system with a new one. However if the licensed
library is statically linked into something then the objects (or source)
need to be provided to allow the user to relink. This latter point is
why I intended to place the Stub libraries (which are static archive
libraries) under the Tcl license.

Paul Duffin

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May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
to
Jean-Claude Wippler wrote:
>
> Paul,

>
> > What I am proposing to do is the following.
> > 1) The Stub libraries are covered by the same license as Tcl uses,
> > this means that extensions which link to them do not have to be
> > rebuilt.
> > 2) The main extensions will be covered by the LGPL which means that
> > nobody can restrict their use.
> >
> > Comments ? I am particularly interested in how you think this use of
> > two different licenses would work, I do not want either one of them to
> > 'leak' across to the other.
>
> Why not simply use a Tcl-style license for everything and move on?
>
> Maybe someone will take your code, hide it into the most amazing killer
> app, never tell you about it, and get rich and famous overnight.
>

Oooh I never thought of that, maybe I should publish it under the GPL
then.

> Such thoughts terrify some people, but I think the real questions are:
> - what *exactly* would be the problem if this happened?

Theft, both intellectual and financial.

> - would it not happen if the license says "don't do that"?

It is less likely to happen. Most companies would not do it because
they would not want the bad publicity that would come from it becoming
public.

> - would people like you and me be able to enforce this?
>

I don't know but I assume that the FSF and GNU would have a lot to say
if someone was found to be abusing the licensing like that.

> Licenses and rights are meaningless unless you are willing and able to
> verify and enforce them ... are you?
>

If it is worth my while and I can do afford it.

Jeffrey Hobbs

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May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
to Paul Duffin
Paul Duffin wrote:

> Jean-Claude Wippler wrote:
> > > What I am proposing to do is the following.
> > > 1) The Stub libraries are covered by the same license as Tcl uses,
> > > this means that extensions which link to them do not have to be
> > > rebuilt.
> > > 2) The main extensions will be covered by the LGPL which means that
> > > nobody can restrict their use.

> > Why not simply use a Tcl-style license for everything and move on?


> >
> > Maybe someone will take your code, hide it into the most amazing killer
> > app, never tell you about it, and get rich and famous overnight.
>
> Oooh I never thought of that, maybe I should publish it under the GPL
> then.

I take it a little :^) belongs at the end of that last line, because very
few people don't think of that nowadays but as you point out...

> > Such thoughts terrify some people, but I think the real questions are:
> > - what *exactly* would be the problem if this happened?
>
> Theft, both intellectual and financial.
>
> > - would it not happen if the license says "don't do that"?
>
> It is less likely to happen. Most companies would not do it because
> they would not want the bad publicity that would come from it becoming
> public.

Not to mention that it actually does open the person/company up to owing
the original author megasums, and the oa didn't need to market himself...
Of course, first you would have to prove it.

> > Licenses and rights are meaningless unless you are willing and able to
> > verify and enforce them ... are you?
>
> If it is worth my while and I can do afford it.

"Worth my while" is a very loose term. In general, I prefer to leave my
work in the open (Tcl license, bourbon_ware clause) for others to use,
commercial or public. In part it is because I am probably too lazy to
ever enforce license terms on what I have released. Mostly though, it is
because I enjoy the absolute free exchange and use of all things
intellectual
(that includes a general distaste for software patents, although I'm
somewhat
more agnostic in that respect). I don't have any problems with commercial
entities using my stuff (I get more than one clarification request per month
on using tktable or (less frequently) tkcon in commercial stuff). Sure, I
like the recognition (which the license terms should maintain - how many of
you guys out there owe me a drink?), but I'm not about to worry about who is
making a buck off my leisure time.

I've got the satisfaction knowing that I've exercised my brain, and perhaps
having something others find useful. What more is there?

** Jeffrey Hobbs jeff.hobbs @SPAM acm.org **
** I'm really just a Tcl-bot My opinions are MY opinions **

Jeffrey.Hobbs.vcf

Paul Duffin

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May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
to Jeffrey Hobbs
Jeffrey Hobbs wrote:
>
> Paul Duffin wrote:
> > Jean-Claude Wippler wrote:
> > > > What I am proposing to do is the following.
> > > > 1) The Stub libraries are covered by the same license as Tcl uses,
> > > > this means that extensions which link to them do not have to be
> > > > rebuilt.
> > > > 2) The main extensions will be covered by the LGPL which means that
> > > > nobody can restrict their use.
>
> > > Why not simply use a Tcl-style license for everything and move on?
> > >
> > > Maybe someone will take your code, hide it into the most amazing killer
> > > app, never tell you about it, and get rich and famous overnight.
> >
> > Oooh I never thought of that, maybe I should publish it under the GPL
> > then.
>
> I take it a little :^) belongs at the end of that last line, because very
> few people don't think of that nowadays but as you point out...
>

Maybe :^), maybe :), maybe 8o)

I do not think that the LGPL is too restrictive as it still allows
commercial applications to use it.

dhag...@my-dejanews.com

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May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
to
In article <374140...@mailserver.hursley.ibm.com>,

Paul Duffin <pdu...@mailserver.hursley.ibm.com> wrote:
> I have just been looking at what the best license is for releasing my
> Feather package under. I have taken a look at the one which comes with
> Tcl, the GPL http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html and the
> Lesser GPL http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/lesser.html (formally know as
> the Library GPL). I would be very interested in people's comments on
> my proposal.

"(s)He who writes the code gets to choose the license."
(author unknown)

Mixing licenses does make things for confusing and a bit more painful
for us commercial users, BUT we're still getting essentially free
software development done for us. We can either choose to work with
the license you choose, or write our own darn software.

It sounds like the above scheme is workable, but my code would STILL
be linking against an LGPL code base, albeit with one level of
indirection with a BSD-licensed linking mechanism. I'm not sure
if this absolves my need to comply fully with LGPL. It also still
prevents me from building a statically-linked wish/tclsh with my
script embedded.

I would argue that if you want to enforce LGPL-style licesing, you
should make your WHOLE library LGPL, for the sake of simplicity.

Thanks for letting us comment on your decision, though.

--== Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/ ==--
---Share what you know. Learn what you don't.---

Chang LI

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May 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/19/99
to
Paul Duffin wrote:
>

It is not very clear whether the LGPL is compatible with the commercial
license. And when a LGPL software is mixed with a BSD software the
BSD software will become a LGPL. (LGPL+BSD => LGPL).


> No, the LGPL or Lesser GPL, previously known as the Library GPL
> purposely prevents the license crossing the link boundary. It does
> however require that the end user be able to relink with a different
> compatible version of the licensed library. This does not cause much of
> a problem if the library is loaded dynamically as the user can just
> replace the copy on the system with a new one. However if the licensed
> library is statically linked into something then the objects (or source)
> need to be provided to allow the user to relink. This latter point is
> why I intended to place the Stub libraries (which are static archive
> libraries) under the Tcl license.
>

> --
> Paul Duffin
> DT/6000 Development Email: pdu...@hursley.ibm.com
> IBM UK Laboratories Ltd., Hursley Park nr. Winchester
> Internal: 7-246880 International: +44 1962-816880

--
--------------------------------------------------------------
Chang LI, Neatware
email: cha...@neatware.com
web: http://www.neatware.com
--------------------------------------------------------------

Paul Duffin

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May 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/20/99
to
dhag...@my-dejanews.com wrote:
>
> In article <374140...@mailserver.hursley.ibm.com>,
> Paul Duffin <pdu...@mailserver.hursley.ibm.com> wrote:
> > I have just been looking at what the best license is for releasing my
> > Feather package under. I have taken a look at the one which comes with
> > Tcl, the GPL http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html and the
> > Lesser GPL http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/lesser.html (formally know as
> > the Library GPL). I would be very interested in people's comments on
> > my proposal.
>
> "(s)He who writes the code gets to choose the license."
> (author unknown)
>
> Mixing licenses does make things for confusing and a bit more painful
> for us commercial users, BUT we're still getting essentially free
> software development done for us. We can either choose to work with
> the license you choose, or write our own darn software.
>
> It sounds like the above scheme is workable, but my code would STILL
> be linking against an LGPL code base, albeit with one level of
> indirection with a BSD-licensed linking mechanism. I'm not sure
> if this absolves my need to comply fully with LGPL. It also still
> prevents me from building a statically-linked wish/tclsh with my
> script embedded.
>

You can do that it is just a little more complicated because you have
to provide (or promise to provide) the end user with sufficient
information (object, Makefile etc) to allow them to relink your
application with a different version of the LGPL. If you do not want to
do that you can still have a static tclsh or wish which uses the
loadable extension thanks to the power of Stubs.

> I would argue that if you want to enforce LGPL-style licesing, you
> should make your WHOLE library LGPL, for the sake of simplicity.
>

The compromise I came up with was intended to protect my intellectual
property (to some extent) but reduce the amount of work necessary for
an individual user by preventing the LGPL affecting their Stub linked
extension.

> Thanks for letting us comment on your decision, though.
>

I know that I won't be able to satisfy everyone, I just wanted to get
a feel for the issue.

Paul Duffin

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May 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/20/99
to
Chang LI wrote:
>
> Paul Duffin wrote:
> >
>
> It is not very clear whether the LGPL is compatible with the commercial

Actually it seems very clear to me. The GNU C runtime library is LGPL
and is used by lots of commercial products on Linux and other places.

> license. And when a LGPL software is mixed with a BSD software the
> BSD software will become a LGPL. (LGPL+BSD => LGPL).
>

Depending on how you 'mix' the two this is both true and false. The
latter is where it differs from the GPL.

lvi...@cas.org

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May 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/21/99
to

According to Paul Duffin <pdu...@mailserver.hursley.ibm.com>:
:I don't know but I assume that the FSF and GNU would have a lot to say

:if someone was found to be abusing the licensing like that.

I would assume they would not wish to be involved unless you turned over
the rights to the extension to them. And knowing some members of GNU/FSF's
feelings about Tcl, I am uncertain if they would accept it...

Paul Duffin

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May 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/21/99
to
lvi...@cas.org wrote:
>
> According to Paul Duffin <pdu...@mailserver.hursley.ibm.com>:
> :I don't know but I assume that the FSF and GNU would have a lot to say
> :if someone was found to be abusing the licensing like that.
>
> I would assume they would not wish to be involved unless you turned over
> the rights to the extension to them. And knowing some members of GNU/FSF's
> feelings about Tcl, I am uncertain if they would accept it...
>

They sound as bad as M$, well almost.

lvi...@cas.org

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May 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/21/99
to

According to Paul Duffin <pdu...@mailserver.hursley.ibm.com>:
:lvi...@cas.org wrote:
:>
:> According to Bob Techentin <techenti...@mayo.edu>:
:> :I do not see a significant benefit of adding the LGPL restrictions to a
:> :library. I have used commercial products that included Tcl/Tk and Tix,
:>
:> Wouldn't the 'benefit' be that anyone who uses the library is forced to
:> make the source code of their application available for basically free?
:>
:
:No, the LGPL or Lesser GPL, previously known as the Library GPL
:purposely prevents the license crossing the link boundary. It does

Hmm - we've moved into one of those areas that seem to always
result in more noise than signal. It has always been my understanding
that _if_ you create applications that are linked with a Gnu licensed library
(commercial software seldom goes out dynamically linked against a non-standard
library such as Feather would be unless Feather is included) then the
application developer is forced to provide the application source code
to the application purchasing customers - who are then free to do with
said source code what they wish.

However, that's likely to be a misunderstanding on my part. If so,
I apologize Paul for that misunderstanding. However, I will say, that
issues such as this are why my company, and many others, just avoid gnu
licensed libraries altogether.

Paul Duffin

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May 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/21/99
to
lvi...@cas.org wrote:
>
> According to Paul Duffin <pdu...@mailserver.hursley.ibm.com>:
> :lvi...@cas.org wrote:
> :>
> :> According to Bob Techentin <techenti...@mayo.edu>:
> :> :I do not see a significant benefit of adding the LGPL restrictions to a
> :> :library. I have used commercial products that included Tcl/Tk and Tix,
> :>
> :> Wouldn't the 'benefit' be that anyone who uses the library is forced to
> :> make the source code of their application available for basically free?
> :>
> :
> :No, the LGPL or Lesser GPL, previously known as the Library GPL
> :purposely prevents the license crossing the link boundary. It does
>
> Hmm - we've moved into one of those areas that seem to always
> result in more noise than signal. It has always been my understanding
> that _if_ you create applications that are linked with a Gnu licensed library
> (commercial software seldom goes out dynamically linked against a non-standard
> library such as Feather would be unless Feather is included) then the
> application developer is forced to provide the application source code
> to the application purchasing customers - who are then free to do with
> said source code what they wish.
>

That is true of the GPL and not the LGPL.

> However, that's likely to be a misunderstanding on my part. If so,
> I apologize Paul for that misunderstanding. However, I will say, that
> issues such as this are why my company, and many others, just avoid gnu
> licensed libraries altogether.
>

If you need it enough then you can always talk to the author who would
probably be more than willing for you to use it.

lvi...@cas.org

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May 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/21/99
to

According to Paul Duffin <pdu...@mailserver.hursley.ibm.com>:
:lvi...@cas.org wrote:
:> I apologize Paul for that misunderstanding. However, I will say, that

:> issues such as this are why my company, and many others, just avoid gnu
:> licensed libraries altogether.
:>
:
:If you need it enough then you can always talk to the author who would
:probably be more than willing for you to use it.

Perhaps. In general, the effort of getting a license that our legal
department approves is enough to discourage any casual considerations
;-) ...

James Ingham

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May 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/21/99
to
lvi...@cas.org writes:

> According to Paul Duffin <pdu...@mailserver.hursley.ibm.com>:
> :lvi...@cas.org wrote:
> :> I apologize Paul for that misunderstanding. However, I will say, that
> :> issues such as this are why my company, and many others, just avoid gnu
> :> licensed libraries altogether.
> :>
> :
> :If you need it enough then you can always talk to the author who would
> :probably be more than willing for you to use it.
>
> Perhaps. In general, the effort of getting a license that our legal
> department approves is enough to discourage any casual considerations
> ;-) ...
>

Larry,

Then make sure you don't tell them that EVERY TIME that you ship an
application that you have built with GCC, you are linking to some
LGPL'ed code...

Jim

Chang LI

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May 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/21/99
to
Paul Duffin wrote:

>
> lvi...@cas.org wrote:
> >
> > According to Paul Duffin <pdu...@mailserver.hursley.ibm.com>:
> > :lvi...@cas.org wrote:
> > :>
> > :> According to Bob Techentin <techenti...@mayo.edu>:
> > :> :I do not see a significant benefit of adding the LGPL restrictions to a
> > :> :library. I have used commercial products that included Tcl/Tk and Tix,
> > :>
> > :> Wouldn't the 'benefit' be that anyone who uses the library is forced to
> > :> make the source code of their application available for basically free?
> > :>
> > :
> > :No, the LGPL or Lesser GPL, previously known as the Library GPL
> > :purposely prevents the license crossing the link boundary. It does
> >
> > Hmm - we've moved into one of those areas that seem to always
> > result in more noise than signal. It has always been my understanding
> > that _if_ you create applications that are linked with a Gnu licensed library
> > (commercial software seldom goes out dynamically linked against a non-standard
> > library such as Feather would be unless Feather is included) then the
> > application developer is forced to provide the application source code
> > to the application purchasing customers - who are then free to do with
> > said source code what they wish.
> >
>
> That is true of the GPL and not the LGPL.

But many people can not distinguish them. What is the famous example of
LGPL? You can use the Apache like license. So everyone knows its bound
of
usage if they know Apache.



>
> > However, that's likely to be a misunderstanding on my part. If so,

> > I apologize Paul for that misunderstanding. However, I will say, that
> > issues such as this are why my company, and many others, just avoid gnu
> > licensed libraries altogether.
> >
>
> If you need it enough then you can always talk to the author who would
> probably be more than willing for you to use it.
>

> --
> Paul Duffin
> DT/6000 Development Email: pdu...@hursley.ibm.com
> IBM UK Laboratories Ltd., Hursley Park nr. Winchester
> Internal: 7-246880 International: +44 1962-816880

--

Gerald W. Lester

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May 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/22/99
to
I've read the entire discussion (to date) and I'm unclear of one thing - How does the LGPL protect your intellectual
property more than the standard Tcl copyright. The Tcl copyright has the following clause:
 
... The authors hereby grant permission to use, copy, modify, distribute, and license this software and its documentation for any purpose, provided that existing copyright notices are retained in all copies and that this
notice is included verbatim in any distributions. ...
Both, with some care, can be used in commercial application. Both require acknowledgment of the copyright.

Maybe I don't understand the issue, but what it seems to come down to is that LGPL requires that people spin a copy of your code for others to get at and the TCL copyright does not. A side effect, due to GNU's original licenses is that many corporations are "uneasy" about using *GPL stuff.

--
+--------------------------------+---------------------------------------+
| Gerald W. Lester               | "The man who fights for his ideals is |
| gerald...@bellsouth.net    |  the man who is alive." -- Cervantes  |
|               Webmaster for http://www.mtolive-lcms.org                |
+--------------------------------+---------------------------------------+
 

Chang LI

unread,
May 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/22/99
to
Gerald W. Lester wrote:
[snip]

> I've read the entire discussion (to date) and I'm unclear of one thing
> - How does the LGPL protect your intellectual
> property more than the standard Tcl copyright. The Tcl copyright has
> the following clause:
>
[snip]

> Both, with some care, can be used in commercial application. Both
> require acknowledgment of the copyright.
>
> Maybe I don't understand the issue, but what it seems to come down to
> is that LGPL requires that people spin a copy of your code for others
> to get at and the TCL copyright does not. A side effect, due to GNU's
> original licenses is that many corporations are "uneasy" about using
> *GPL stuff.
>

Is it possible to use part of LGPL code in commerical program? There is
no problem for BSD.



> --
> +--------------------------------+---------------------------------------+
>
> | Gerald W. Lester | "The man who fights for his ideals
> is |
> | gerald...@bellsouth.net | the man who is alive." --
> Cervantes |
> | Webmaster for
> http://www.mtolive-lcms.org |
> +--------------------------------+---------------------------------------+
>
>

--

Donal K. Fellows

unread,
May 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/24/99
to
In article <3745D0...@neatware.com>, Chang LI <cha...@neatware.com> wrote:
> But many people can not distinguish them. What is the famous example
> of LGPL? You can use the Apache like license. So everyone knows its
> bound of usage if they know Apache.

The classic example of the LGPL is GLibC. Linking against that
version of the standard C library does not force you to make your
commercial code open, otherwise nobody would touch it with a barge
pole except for the utter fanatics.

Ordinary applications tend not to have LGPL licenses - it doesn't make
too much sense for them - so your request for an Apache-equivalent
example is a bit tough to satisfy.

Donal.
--
Donal K. Fellows http://www.cs.man.ac.uk/~fellowsd/ fell...@cs.man.ac.uk
-- The small advantage of not having California being part of my country would
be overweighed by having California as a heavily-armed rabid weasel on our
borders. -- David Parsons <o r c @ p e l l . p o r t l a n d . o r . u s>

lvi...@cas.org

unread,
May 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/24/99
to

According to James Ingham <jin...@cygnus.com>:
:lvi...@cas.org writes:
:> According to Paul Duffin <pdu...@mailserver.hursley.ibm.com>:
:> :If you need it enough then you can always talk to the author who would

:> :probably be more than willing for you to use it.
:>
:> Perhaps. In general, the effort of getting a license that our legal

:> department approves is enough to discourage any casual considerations
:> ;-) ...
:>
:Larry,
:
:Then make sure you don't tell them that EVERY TIME that you ship an
:application that you have built with GCC, you are linking to some
:LGPL'ed code...

There's the rub - we don't use GCC for that very reason!

Paul Duffin

unread,
May 24, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/24/99
to
Chang LI wrote:
>
> Paul Duffin wrote:
> >
> > lvi...@cas.org wrote:
> > >
> > > According to Paul Duffin <pdu...@mailserver.hursley.ibm.com>:
> > > :lvi...@cas.org wrote:
> > > :>
> > > :> According to Bob Techentin <techenti...@mayo.edu>:
> > > :> :I do not see a significant benefit of adding the LGPL restrictions to a
> > > :> :library. I have used commercial products that included Tcl/Tk and Tix,
> > > :>
> > > :> Wouldn't the 'benefit' be that anyone who uses the library is forced to
> > > :> make the source code of their application available for basically free?
> > > :>
> > > :
> > > :No, the LGPL or Lesser GPL, previously known as the Library GPL
> > > :purposely prevents the license crossing the link boundary. It does
> > >
> > > Hmm - we've moved into one of those areas that seem to always
> > > result in more noise than signal. It has always been my understanding
> > > that _if_ you create applications that are linked with a Gnu licensed library
> > > (commercial software seldom goes out dynamically linked against a non-standard
> > > library such as Feather would be unless Feather is included) then the
> > > application developer is forced to provide the application source code
> > > to the application purchasing customers - who are then free to do with
> > > said source code what they wish.
> > >
> >
> > That is true of the GPL and not the LGPL.
>
> But many people can not distinguish them. What is the famous example of
> LGPL? You can use the Apache like license. So everyone knows its bound
> of
> usage if they know Apache.
>

Anytime you build something with gcc you end up with an executable which
is linked with LGPL code, namely the GNU C library.

Donal K. Fellows

unread,
May 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/25/99
to
In article <37476E...@neatware.com>, Chang LI <cha...@neatware.com> wrote:
> Is it possible to use part of LGPL code in commerical program? There is
> no problem for BSD.

As an unmodified library? Yes, provided you provide a mechanism for
people to use an updated version of the library with your program.
Any changes made to the *library* fall under the LGPL rules and must
be opened up, but the rest of your code is unaffected release- and
license-wise.

IANAL, of course!

Peter.DeRijk

unread,
May 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/26/99
to
Gerald W. Lester (gerald...@bellsouth.net) wrote:

: I've read the entire discussion (to date) and I'm unclear of one thing - How


: does the LGPL protect your intellectual
: property more than the standard Tcl copyright. The Tcl copyright has the
: following clause:
: ... The authors hereby grant permission to use, copy, modify,
: distribute, and license this software and its documentation for any
: purpose, provided that existing copyright notices are retained in
: all copies and that this
: notice is included verbatim in any distributions. ...
: Both, with some care, can be used in commercial application. Both require
: acknowledgment of the copyright.

: Maybe I don't understand the issue, but what it seems to come down to is that
: LGPL requires that people spin a copy of your code for others to get at and
: the TCL copyright does not. A side effect, due to GNU's original licenses is
: that many corporations are "uneasy" about using *GPL stuff.

The difference is that the LGPL requires people that make changes/extensions
to the library itself to make these extensions availble under the same (LGPL)
licence. You can use the library (by dynamically linking it) in your program
without restrictions. However you can not make a proprierty version of the
library itself (unless of course you negotiate another licence with the
original author.)

--
Peter De Rijk der...@uia.ua.ac.be
<a href="http://rrna.uia.ac.be/~peter/">Peter</a>
To achieve the impossible, one must think the absurd.
to look where everyone else has looked, but to see what no one else has seen.

Paul Duffin

unread,
May 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/27/99
to
Peter.DeRijk wrote:
>
> Gerald W. Lester (gerald...@bellsouth.net) wrote:
>
> : I've read the entire discussion (to date) and I'm unclear of one thing - How

> : does the LGPL protect your intellectual
> : property more than the standard Tcl copyright. The Tcl copyright has the
> : following clause:
> : ... The authors hereby grant permission to use, copy, modify,
> : distribute, and license this software and its documentation for any
> : purpose, provided that existing copyright notices are retained in
> : all copies and that this
> : notice is included verbatim in any distributions. ...
> : Both, with some care, can be used in commercial application. Both require
> : acknowledgment of the copyright.
>
> : Maybe I don't understand the issue, but what it seems to come down to is that
> : LGPL requires that people spin a copy of your code for others to get at and
> : the TCL copyright does not. A side effect, due to GNU's original licenses is
> : that many corporations are "uneasy" about using *GPL stuff.
>
> The difference is that the LGPL requires people that make changes/extensions
> to the library itself to make these extensions availble under the same (LGPL)
> licence. You can use the library (by dynamically linking it) in your program
> without restrictions. However you can not make a proprierty version of the
> library itself (unless of course you negotiate another licence with the
> original author.)
>

Thanks for making that important point. LGPL means that everyone can benefit
from any changes to the library.

Brian Burton

unread,
Jun 4, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/4/99
to
"Peter.DeRijk" wrote:
>
> Gerald W. Lester (gerald...@bellsouth.net) wrote:
>
> : Maybe I don't understand the issue, but what it seems to come down to is that

> : LGPL requires that people spin a copy of your code for others to get at and
> : the TCL copyright does not. A side effect, due to GNU's original licenses is
> : that many corporations are "uneasy" about using *GPL stuff.
>
> The difference is that the LGPL requires people that make changes/extensions
> to the library itself to make these extensions availble under the same (LGPL)
> licence. You can use the library (by dynamically linking it) in your program
> without restrictions. However you can not make a proprierty version of the
> library itself (unless of course you negotiate another licence with the
> original author.)
>

The original author, and potentially anyone else who has contributed fixes and
enhancements to the author unless official transfers of copyright were made.
Free software combines the works of too many people to make closing things
down completely an option. Unless of course the author refuses to take
patches and enhancements from people. And what good would that be?

My personal opinion on this is that if you want to provide the maximum benefit
with your free software then open it up with a TCL style license. If you want
to limit usage of your work to other free software developers and companies
with fearless legal departments (not many of them here in the US...), then use
GPL or LGPL.

Just my personal opinion of course. I respect the opinions of others and
recognize that I am probably in the minority. Just taking a mionute to throw
mine into the pot.

All the best,
++Brian

--
Brian Burton - Burton Computer Corporation - http://www.burton-computer.com
Custom software development and consulting services in Java and C++

Creators of CoffeeLink News Server, the all-Java NNTP discussion server
"Why just spin a web when you can build a community?"

Paul Duffin

unread,
Jun 7, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/7/99
to
Brian Burton wrote:
>
> "Peter.DeRijk" wrote:
> >
> > Gerald W. Lester (gerald...@bellsouth.net) wrote:
> >
> > : Maybe I don't understand the issue, but what it seems to come down to is that

> > : LGPL requires that people spin a copy of your code for others to get at and
> > : the TCL copyright does not. A side effect, due to GNU's original licenses is
> > : that many corporations are "uneasy" about using *GPL stuff.
> >
> > The difference is that the LGPL requires people that make changes/extensions
> > to the library itself to make these extensions availble under the same (LGPL)
> > licence. You can use the library (by dynamically linking it) in your program
> > without restrictions. However you can not make a proprierty version of the
> > library itself (unless of course you negotiate another licence with the
> > original author.)
> >
>
> The original author, and potentially anyone else who has contributed fixes and
> enhancements to the author unless official transfers of copyright were made.

How is this transfer done ? If someone contributed a patch to my code which
added a copyright statement to the files that they have changed then I
presume they want to keep ownership of that part, however if they
contribute a patch which doesn't have a copyright message of their own
does that mean that they have transferred it to me ?

If later on I remove their code, can I also remove their copyright ?

> Free software combines the works of too many people to make closing things
> down completely an option. Unless of course the author refuses to take
> patches and enhancements from people. And what good would that be?
>
> My personal opinion on this is that if you want to provide the maximum benefit
> with your free software then open it up with a TCL style license. If you want
> to limit usage of your work to other free software developers and companies
> with fearless legal departments (not many of them here in the US...), then use
> GPL or LGPL.
>
> Just my personal opinion of course. I respect the opinions of others and
> recognize that I am probably in the minority. Just taking a mionute to throw
> mine into the pot.
>

--

Darren New

unread,
Jun 8, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/8/99
to
Paul Duffin wrote:
> How is this transfer done ? If someone contributed a patch to my code which
> added a copyright statement to the files that they have changed then I
> presume they want to keep ownership of that part, however if they
> contribute a patch which doesn't have a copyright message of their own
> does that mean that they have transferred it to me ?

IANAL. But no, not in the USA. Since the Berne Convention was passed
in the mid-70's, works are automatically copyrighted even without
copyright notices. Unless it explicitly says it's public domain, it's
copyrighted by the author.

> If later on I remove their code, can I also remove their copyright ?

Yes, unless you create something that would be a "derivative work."
I.e., if you reworked their code using their ideas, merely reformatting
it, say, then you'd be creating a derivative work and it would still be
subject to their (and now your) copyright. IASNAL, so how much it has to
change before it's not a derivative is open to interpretation.

If you completely remove all traces of their code, you can remove their
copyright, I think.

--
Darren New / Senior Software Architect / MessageMedia, Inc.
San Diego, CA, USA (PST). Cryptokeys on demand.
Japanese Undo Soup!

Bob Techentin

unread,
Jun 8, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/8/99
to
Darren New wrote:

>
> Paul Duffin wrote:
> > If later on I remove their code, can I also remove their copyright ?
>
> Yes, unless you create something that would be a "derivative work."
> I.e., if you reworked their code using their ideas, merely reformatting
> it, say, then you'd be creating a derivative work and it would still be
> subject to their (and now your) copyright. IASNAL, so how much it has to
> change before it's not a derivative is open to interpretation.
>
> If you completely remove all traces of their code, you can remove their
> copyright, I think.
>

I'm not a lawyer either, but I don't think you can remove a copyright.
(see http://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright/ ) The copyrights belong to the
author (or the author's employer) whether or not all the official
looking notices appear in the code.

But the crux of the problem is the distribution terms of the license. I
believe that license terms can be rather sticky. If you choose the Tcl
license for your library, then incorporate contributed code covered by
the GPL or LGPL, then your entire program falls under the GPL
restrictions. From the GPL (LGPL) at http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/

But when you distribute the same sections as part of a whole
which is a work based on the Program (Library), the
distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this License,
whose permissions for other licensees extend to the entire whole,
and thus to each and every part regardless of who wrote it.

I would guess that if all the original authors agreed to remove the GPL,
then you might be able to do so. But most licenses don't describe how
to remove them. Kind of like a virus. :-)

I still like the Tcl license better for Tcl libraries.

Bob
--
Bob Techentin techenti...@mayo.edu
Mayo Foundation (507) 284-2702
Rochester MN, 55905 USA http://www.mayo.edu/sppdg/sppdg_home_page.html

Chang LI

unread,
Jun 8, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/8/99
to
Bob Techentin wrote:
>

Yes. I think the LGPL is like a virus. And it maybe more powerful than
virus. If you use parts of the LGPL code in your program, your program
is bounded to LGPL. In commercial society it is not acceptable. So use
LGPL as a whole or nothing.

>
> But when you distribute the same sections as part of a whole
> which is a work based on the Program (Library), the
> distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this License,
> whose permissions for other licensees extend to the entire whole,
> and thus to each and every part regardless of who wrote it.
>
> I would guess that if all the original authors agreed to remove the GPL,
> then you might be able to do so. But most licenses don't describe how
> to remove them. Kind of like a virus. :-)
>
> I still like the Tcl license better for Tcl libraries.
>
> Bob
> --
> Bob Techentin techenti...@mayo.edu
> Mayo Foundation (507) 284-2702
> Rochester MN, 55905 USA http://www.mayo.edu/sppdg/sppdg_home_page.html

--

Paul Duffin

unread,
Jun 9, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/9/99
to
Chang LI wrote:
>
> Bob Techentin wrote:
> >
>
> Yes. I think the LGPL is like a virus. And it maybe more powerful than
> virus. If you use parts of the LGPL code in your program, your program
> is bounded to LGPL. In commercial society it is not acceptable. So use
> LGPL as a whole or nothing.
>

LGPL is NOT, repeat NOT the GPL. All the LGPL requires from you is that
a user is able to replace the LGPL code with a different version which
as long as you either use it as a shared library or provide objects of
your own code does not infect components which use it.

> >
> > But when you distribute the same sections as part of a whole
> > which is a work based on the Program (Library), the
> > distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this License,
> > whose permissions for other licensees extend to the entire whole,
> > and thus to each and every part regardless of who wrote it.
> >
> > I would guess that if all the original authors agreed to remove the GPL,
> > then you might be able to do so. But most licenses don't describe how
> > to remove them. Kind of like a virus. :-)
> >
> > I still like the Tcl license better for Tcl libraries.
> >

--

Donal K. Fellows

unread,
Jun 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/10/99
to
In article <375D57BB...@mayo.edu>,

Bob Techentin <techenti...@mayo.edu> wrote:
> But the crux of the problem is the distribution terms of the license. I
> believe that license terms can be rather sticky. If you choose the Tcl
> license for your library, then incorporate contributed code covered by
> the GPL or LGPL, then your entire program falls under the GPL
> restrictions. From the GPL (LGPL) at http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/
>
> But when you distribute the same sections as part of a whole
> which is a work based on the Program (Library), the
> distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this License,
> whose permissions for other licensees extend to the entire whole,
> and thus to each and every part regardless of who wrote it.

That doesn't seem very compatible with the Tcl license to me. I hope
it doesn't mean that anyone foolish enough to distribute a library
under the GPL would require a change in the licensing of Tcl itself!

> I would guess that if all the original authors agreed to remove the GPL,
> then you might be able to do so. But most licenses don't describe how
> to remove them. Kind of like a virus. :-)

Licenses do not need to describe how to remove them, since you can
always do a separate release under a separate license. That is
definitely a fundamental right of the copyright holder, and they are
never constrained by the license themselves.

> I still like the Tcl license better for Tcl libraries.

ObAOL: Me2!

Bob Techentin

unread,
Jun 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/10/99
to
"Donal K. Fellows" wrote:
>
[GPL text snipped]

>
> That doesn't seem very compatible with the Tcl license to me. I hope
> it doesn't mean that anyone foolish enough to distribute a library
> under the GPL would require a change in the licensing of Tcl itself!

Let's just say that someone distributes a gee-whiz library under GPL or
LGPL. A year and a couple of revs later, everybody realizes that this
stuff should really be in the core release. If you try to fold the
library into the Tcl distribution, then Tcl becomes a "work based on the
Library", and the entire package would be covered by GPL/LGPL. Or you
could just rewrite the library from scratch.


> > I would guess that if all the original authors agreed to remove the GPL,
> > then you might be able to do so. But most licenses don't describe how
> > to remove them. Kind of like a virus. :-)
>
> Licenses do not need to describe how to remove them, since you can
> always do a separate release under a separate license. That is
> definitely a fundamental right of the copyright holder, and they are
> never constrained by the license themselves.

But *all* authors are joint copyright holders. The "joy" of open source
is that many people can contribute, so you've got many authors to a
single program or library. How well do you keep track of contributing
authors, whether they submit code, examples, or documentation? Can you
keep track of, and later contact all the contributors to secure
permission for a license change?

It may already be too late for BWidget. It was released several months
ago under LGPL. It is already at rev 1.2. I have submitted a bug
report and patch. I don't know how many others might have. I don't
know if the Unifix folks are keeping close tabs. But I don't expect the
BWidget code to ever be releasable with the Tcl/Tk core.

Maybe the 'contrib' idea that Jeffrey Hobbs mentioned recently is the
way to go.

Bruce S. O. Adams

unread,
Jun 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/10/99
to

Bob Techentin wrote:

Couldn't all this discussion be left to the lawyers, it grows tiresome?
How about using the phrase:

package <blahblah> is released under the terms of the <whizbang>
license with the following exceptions:
1) The author reserves the right to change the licensing policy at
anytime,
including to the extent of releasing it entirely into the public
domain
or turning it into an entirely commercial product.

2) some other thing about the <whizbang> license I didn't like

What's wrong with that?

>
> Maybe the 'contrib' idea that Jeffrey Hobbs mentioned recently is the
> way to go.
>

It is certainly a good start.

but what if scriptics suddenly went anti-opensource you're back to your
what if the FSF decide to invoke the GPL or LGPL to make all software
free type of argument
* * <- big smiley
<
\_/

Regards,
Bruce A.


Paul Duffin

unread,
Jun 10, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/10/99
to
Darren New wrote:
>
> Paul Duffin wrote:
> > How is this transfer done ? If someone contributed a patch to my code which
> > added a copyright statement to the files that they have changed then I
> > presume they want to keep ownership of that part, however if they
> > contribute a patch which doesn't have a copyright message of their own
> > does that mean that they have transferred it to me ?
>
> IANAL. But no, not in the USA. Since the Berne Convention was passed
> in the mid-70's, works are automatically copyrighted even without
> copyright notices. Unless it explicitly says it's public domain, it's
> copyrighted by the author.
>
> > If later on I remove their code, can I also remove their copyright ?
>
> Yes, unless you create something that would be a "derivative work."
> I.e., if you reworked their code using their ideas, merely reformatting
> it, say, then you'd be creating a derivative work and it would still be
> subject to their (and now your) copyright. IASNAL, so how much it has to
> change before it's not a derivative is open to interpretation.
>
> If you completely remove all traces of their code, you can remove their
> copyright, I think.
>

I have just been looking at Guile and they actually have a process
whereby patches which change over 10 lines have to have their copyright
officially transferred to GNU.

Jochem Huhmann

unread,
Jun 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/11/99
to
In article <375FAFE5...@mayo.edu>,

Bob Techentin <techenti...@mayo.edu> writes:
> "Donal K. Fellows" wrote:
>>
> [GPL text snipped]
>>
>> That doesn't seem very compatible with the Tcl license to me. I hope
>> it doesn't mean that anyone foolish enough to distribute a library
>> under the GPL would require a change in the licensing of Tcl itself!
>
> Let's just say that someone distributes a gee-whiz library under GPL or
> LGPL. A year and a couple of revs later, everybody realizes that this
> stuff should really be in the core release. If you try to fold the
> library into the Tcl distribution, then Tcl becomes a "work based on the
> Library", and the entire package would be covered by GPL/LGPL. Or you
> could just rewrite the library from scratch.

Hey man! In this case I would just ask the author of the lib to
release it (maybe additionally) under some other licence. Even authors
of libraries are just sensible humans. Things aren't as static as they
look on the web. Often an email is enough to get the world moving.

> It may already be too late for BWidget. It was released several months
> ago under LGPL. It is already at rev 1.2. I have submitted a bug
> report and patch. I don't know how many others might have. I don't
> know if the Unifix folks are keeping close tabs. But I don't expect the
> BWidget code to ever be releasable with the Tcl/Tk core.

Did you ask them to do so? What did they say? The unifix folks are
definitly not too present here, but every single posting of them was
reasonable yet. Give it a try.


Jochem

--
Hi! I'm a .signature virus! Copy me into your ~/.signature to help me spread!


Jochem Huhmann

unread,
Jun 11, 1999, 3:00:00 AM6/11/99
to
In article <375FDE...@mailserver.hursley.ibm.com>,

Paul Duffin <pdu...@mailserver.hursley.ibm.com> writes:
> I have just been looking at Guile and they actually have a process
> whereby patches which change over 10 lines have to have their copyright
> officially transferred to GNU.

Which is (and should be) the right of any copyright holder who chooses
a license that seems to fit his purposes. Guile is rapidly loosing its
(formerly) good reputation. Either they will learn or they will
lose. In most cases the world is fair in the long run. Well, actually
even the world may learn, but I wouldn't hold my breath ;-)

Just my 0.02 EUR,

Jochem

PS: I'm so sick of these license debates. Try to change things or just
don't care. There is only so little time.

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