Subject: Re: programs vs. libraries
From: kragen@pobox.com (Kragen)
Date: Sat, 29 Aug 1998 00:45:04 -0400 (EDT)

On 29 Aug 1998, Russell Nelson wrote:
> shap@eros.cis.upenn.edu writes:
>  > Are we morally obligated to GPL major portions of EROS if we do this?
> 
> As long as you're leaving the law out of it, yes.  The idea behind
> GPL'ed software is this: We are selling you this software.  You don't
> have to ask us for our permission to buy it.  All that you have to do
> is free your software.  If you can't afford that price, then you have
> to license the software.

Well, you have to free the software you incorporate it into.  That
doesn't mean, for example, that using the Linux kernel in the Cobalt
Microserver Qube means that Cobalt must free all the code that runs on
the Qube.  It doesn't mean that writing a CGI script in Perl (assuming
you're using the GPL redistribution license, not the Artistic one) for
your proprietary web server means you must free your web server.

The question is, where do you draw the line?

Linux's copy of the GPL includes a clarification that ordinary programs
using the kernel services are not considered to be part of the same
program as the kernel.  I believe that if you could legitimately
convert Linux into an ordinary program that runs on EROS, without
incorporating parts of the Linux kernel into the EROS kernel, you could
legitimately make the argument that the relationship between your Linux
server and EROS is the same as the relationship between WordPerfect 8
for Linux and Linux itself.

Kragen

-- 
<kragen@pobox.com>       Kragen Sitaker     <http://www.pobox.com/~kragen/>
We are forming cells within a global brain and we are excited that we might
start to think collectively.  What becomes of us still hangs crucially on
how we think individually.  -- Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web