Subject: Re: Meaning of "combined work"?
From: "Jonathan S. Shapiro" <shap@eros-os.org>
Date: Fri, 29 Dec 2000 15:53:35 -0500

> What incompatible means is "places different restrictions on
> distribution than the GPL".  It's not a value judgement; the GPL says
> that additional restrictions are not allowed.

Given the ambiguity of the GPL, it most certainly *is* a value judgement.
Indeed, *any* interpretation of a license involves making value judgements.

In any case, if what you say is true it would be both feasible and
appropriate to say *why* the respective licenses are incompatible. The page
in question does do so.

I agree with your main point that no conspiracy is intended. On the other
hand, I started to feel somewhere about midway down the page that the rules
for compatibility had become as uncompromising and intrusive as some of the
proprietary licenses we all object to. The IBM Public License, for example,
is clearly consistent with the intent (though not the letter) of GPL. It
provides better patent protection for the end user. IBMPL is incompatible
only because it insists on *greater* openness than GPL. This seems both
counterproductive and contrary to the objectives of the open source
community. One could argue that by denying users protection from patent
infringement the FSF is failling in its mission of ensuring openness. Even
FSF felt compelled to stick a sheepish statement in their incompatibility
list regretting the incompatibility.

I suppose that all this really means is that GPL is overdue for overhaul,
and I know that an effort to achieve this is underway. I do wish it would
hurry, as the issues won't wait.

Jonathan