Subject: Re: Special Exceptions on FreeCard project
From: Crispin Cowan <crispin@wirex.com>
Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2000 20:00:22 +0000

Mark Rauterkus wrote:

> So, we'd like the FreeCard tool to be FREE and OPEN, but we'd like to see
> the FreeCard community be able to create applications that are CLOSED AND
> PROPRIETARY.

I see no need for a special new license.  There are two analogous situations:

   * GCC:  If FreeCard is a compiler system that produces binary executables,
     then it is acting in the same role as GCC.  Two existing licenses come
     with GCC to allow people to compile proprietary code with GCC:
        o GPL:  the compiler itself is GPL'd.  You can use the compiler to
          compile proprietary programs, but you cannot derrive a proprietary
          compiler from GCC itself.
        o LGPL (Library? GPL):  the standard libraries that come with GCC are
          under the LGPL license.  This is a special, more "liberal" version of
          the GPL license that allows binary code derrived from the libraries
          to be linked with proprietary code.  As usual, you may not derrive a
          proprietary version of the library itself.
   * Perl:  If FreeCard is an interpreter, then the FreeCard is operating in
     the same role as the Perl interpreter.  Perl actualy is issued under the
     "Artistic" license (briefly, you can do anything you want, but you can't
     call it "Perl" without the author's permission) however, it could just as
     well be GPL'd.  People write proprietary Perl programs without
     difficulty.  Your proprietary FreeCard/Perl code is not actually linked to
     the GPL'd interpreter, and thus is not under the interpreter's license.

Thus, it seems to me that you do not need a new license, or any funny
exceptions in existing licenses.  You just need to use them appropriately.

Disclaimer:  I am not a lawyer.  If you depend on this advice, then you're
crazier than I am :-)  Before you base your business on a given license, have
*your* attorney check it out.

Crispin
-----
Crispin Cowan, CTO, WireX Communications, Inc.    http://wirex.com
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