Subject: Re: Possibly stupid GPL question
From: "Stig Hackvan" <>
Date: 30 Sep 1999 19:23:36 -0000

L. Peter Deutsch wrote:
> I think the delay in providing the source is a red herring.  Let's consider:
>   A proprietary company sees a GPLed project, notices a useful feature, and
>   writes it.  They then start shipping their modified version.  One of the
>   modifications makes the modified program useful only unless you happen to
>   have another program available - a program that was independently
>   developed, is not linked into any GPLed software, and which is completely
>   proprietary.  That proprietary program is copyrighted under a proprietary
>   licence.
> In other words, a company releases software that is GPL'ed, but useless
> without obtaining proprietary software.  Nothing in the GPL precludes this
> that I can see.  An example would be a Free or Open Source Mozilla plug-in
> that talks to a proprietary server, from a company that plans to make their
> money by licensing the server.  I suspect there are companies out there
> right now that are planning on doing this.

This was done a long time ago with gcc.  The 'gct' (gnu coverate tool?)
provides minimal functionality under gpl but is relatively useless without
the commercial tools that process it into something readable.


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