Subject: Re: Possibly stupid GPL question
From: "L. Peter Deutsch" <ghost@aladdin.com>
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 16:29:56 -0700

> AFAIK, there's nothing ineherent to COBOL which prevents the development
> of a free compiler.

Exactly.  And I would argue that dependency on an openly documented language
(Cobol), operating system (Unix, Windows), network protocol, or library
whose only current implementation(s) happen(s) to be (a) proprietary one(s)
is not a "restriction" within the meaning of the GPL.

> Ben's example, however, took a work, ammended it, and in so doing
> restricted its application in such a way that directly benefitted the
> party making the modifications.  I'd tend to see this as an intentional,
> rather than an incidental, restriction.

I agree that your argument is stronger if the proprietary facility is only
available from the distributor of the Free software.

-- 

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