[nSLUG] On topic of favorite distros, and Linux on the Desktop

Jeff Warnica jeffw at chebucto.ns.ca
Sun Mar 7 20:00:02 AST 2004

On Sun, 2004-03-07 at 17:28, Matthew Balcom wrote:
> Holy crap, could you possibly misunderstand the GPL any further?First,
> the GPL is NOT viral. If you don't like the license, don't usecode
> under it. Viral implies that it infects code "against its will,"or
> "without its knowledge." You place code under the GPL, the GPL doesnot

Not necessarily. Vaccinations are purposeful injections of a virus.

Quote http://www.gnu.org/licenses/why-not-lgpl.html :

> However, when a library provides a significant unique capability, like
> GNU Readline, that's a horse of a different color. The Readline
> library implements input editing and history for interactive programs,
> and that's a facility not generally available elsewhere. Releasing it
> under the GPL and limiting its use to free programs gives our
> community a real boost. At least one application program is free
> software today specifically because that was necessary for using
> Readline.

So there is at least one example of the GNUs idea of freedom being
forced on a program(mer) due to the GPL. Actually the whole why-not-lgpl
discussion can boil down to: if you use the lgpl, users of your library
don't need to do anything special; if you use the GPL, they will be
forced to also use the GPL (or at least some free software license). 

> "without its knowledge." You place code under the GPL, the GPL doesnot
> assimilate code. In order to place code under the GPL, you have tobe

Yes, it does. RMS just said it did. He is proud of it, and it is part of
his strategy. Perhaps you can use some other free software license
besides the GPL, but that is a minor distinction.

> the GPL works. You are only required to share your changes, if youmake

GPL :: required

> available, you are not allowed to strip the right of sharingaway from 

GPL :: not allowed

> Second, public domain does not ensure freedom. Software in the
> publicdomain can be used by anyone for any purpose, including taking

public domain :: any purpose

>  suchcode and placing it inside a proprietary application. The GPL
> helps tomaintain that once the code is opened up, it remains open.

I didn't say that public domain would ensure freedom. I said it would be
the most free. If I receive some code that is in the public domain (or
under a BSD license), I can do more with it then I could if it was under
the GPL. I could, for instance, include it in a proprietary app. Clearly
public domain (or BSD) is more free then the GPL. With the GPL, if you
make a change, and distribute the compiled output, you are required to
also distribute your code. Your unique, brand new, code, depending on
how your write a Makefile, may be required to be GPLd. Compared to
public domain, the GPL restricts freedom. You may think that this
restriction is necessary for larger goals, and I may agree with you, but
the GPL is clearly more restrictive then at least one other license
style. It is not as free as it could be.

> Third, RMS's goals are not financially, nor technically,
> norpolitically motivated. RMS is solely motivated by his philosophies
> ofcommunity and sharing. On the topic of Free Software and
> itsphilosophies, versus Open Source and their goals:

Politics could be defined as "applied philosophy". In this context
politics, religion, philosophy are the same.

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