Subject: Re: EROS license
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 14:56:43 +0900 (JST)

>>>>> "Ian" == Ian Lance Taylor <> writes:

    Ian> I hope it's clear that I am not objecting to the GPL.  I also
    Ian> hope it's clear that the GPL itself does not require any sort
    Ian> of licensing arrangement with a contributor; the FSF does
    Ian> insist upon such an arrangement, but the Linux kernel
    Ian> project, for example, does not.

Please be careful with terminology here.  (IANAL, the following are my
understanding of correct usage.)  The "copyright holder" is the
original author, or by employment contract the employer of the author.
The copyright can be "assigned" to another by the author.  The
assignee then becomes the copyright holder in a practical sense, I
don't know what differences may be there.  The copyright holder is the 
"licensor", users of the program in any form are "licensees" or
"license holders".

The GPL _does_ _require_ relicensing under the GPL.  Strictly speaking 
the contributor could give a no-restrictions license to the original
author, or assign the copyright, but in the usual case of
contributions to GPL projects the contribution is returned in the form 
of a patch, which implies (to my mind) the GPL applies (although the
FSF's assignment policy implies that the FSF's lawyers disagree with
me).  Anyway, I'm sure that's the intent of most contributors, and
that's apparently the way most "whole-file" submissions are done (with 
the "This is free software - See COPYING" language at the top).

And the contributor himself cannot relicense his own software with
anything less than full and transitive GPL privileges for all

What the GPL does not require is an "assignment" of contributions.

    Ian> It's certainly true, as you and Stephen Turnbull have pointed
    Ian> out, that the author of a GPL project may take advantage of
    Ian> retaining the copyright and release a proprietary version of
    Ian> the code.  If that happened to a project to which I had
    Ian> contributed, and if I were not warned of the possibility
    Ian> beforehand, I believe I would feel that I had been misled and
    Ian> betrayed.

Suppose that Peter Deutch were to abandon the Aladdin license, and
release all versions of Ghostscript immediately under the GPL.  His
business model still requires dual licensing, printer or fax
manufacturers might very well wish to statically link Ghostscript, or
modules of it, with proprietary code in ROM, code that the GPL would
require them to publish.  Further, let's assume that all of the
proprietary code was already written, and only a negligible amount of
trivial interface glue is needed.

Would you have a problem with that?  It is certainly something that
you can't do with the Ghostscript code.

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