Subject: Re: Stallman vs Wind River on the GPL
From: kragen@pobox.com
Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2001 02:22:30 -0500 (EST)

"Jonathan S. Shapiro" <shap@cs.jhu.edu> writes:
> kragen@pobox.com wrote:
>  
> > The GPL does not have the power to infect your code like this.  It
> > only has the power to prohibit you from distributing your code if it's
> > not licensed under the GPL, but is subject to the terms of the GPL.
> 
> This is very much a matter of murky legal opinion, and it is an issue on
> which RMS has consistently evaded clarity. Many many lawyers have spent
> many many hours trying to work out how the dynamic library issue is
> resolved without any success at all.
> 
> My point is only that (a) this issue MUST be clarified in the next
> version of GPL, and (b) it must be clarified in a way that accepts
> current common practices (e.g. Torvalds' position vs. RMS's position) or
> we may face a schism.

I was going to argue with you, but your second paragraph seems to
suggest that what you're disagreeing with is something other than what
I said.  

What I said is that, whatever the GPL allows or does not allow, it
cannot apply itself to code the author does not want it applied to,
making it freely available to the world against the author's will; the
debate is over what the GPL says about code that uses code licensed
under it, not what code is licensed under the GPL.  Code the copyright
holder licenses under the GPL is licensed under the GPL; other code
isn't.  Period.

There might be cases where you might want to license your code under
the GPL even if you were opposed to free software; for instance, if
you used GPLed code in your program, you would not have a license to
distribute that code unless you GPLed the whole program, and
(debatably) might not even be legally allowed to distribute the
non-GPLed parts of your program.  It might even be the case that a
court would force you to license your software under GPL as a remedy
if the FSF sued you for copyright infringement and won.  But that
doesn't happen automatically.