Subject: Re: programs vs. libraries
From: Russell Nelson <>
Date: 29 Aug 1998 05:11:41 -0000

[ In memory of the line eater.  May it rest in peace.  -russ ]
Kragen writes:
 > On 29 Aug 1998, Russell Nelson wrote:
 > > 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.

No, because you're not the publisher of it.

 > 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.

Legally, no.  However, a certain portion of your potential market will
expect you to free any code which benefits from the freedom of Linux.
Remember the big tizzy that readers got into over the
"prediction" (more of a vain hope, really) by the 'zine's author that
Corel would free WP8..

-russ nelson <>
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