Subject: Re: Free Software vs. Open Source
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: 18 Feb 2002 19:55:37 +0900

>>>>> "ralph" == ralph  <> writes:

    ralph> Are there any examples of a program being deliberately
    ralph> warped to contain a library component so that it gains this
    ralph> benefit of a GPL-style licence?

I don't see how this could be done.  In fact, even if your program
naturally contains library components, GPLing them may provide very
little leverage.

Consider, for example, something like PostgreSQL (RDBMSes being one of
Olson's examples).  PostsgreSQL's applications are normally
implemented through libpq.  However, PostgreSQL does not really get
any legal leverage from this, as PostgreSQL also speaks ODBC (IIRC).
So you run a vanilla server, talk to it via ODBC, and *poof* your
proprietary PostgreSQL application is 100% compliant with whatever
open license you care to name.

Nor would it be terribly hard to reimplement the wire protocol that
libpq speaks to the back end in new code.  On this theme, you could
even wrap a "pure" library in a server, eg if it provided I/O services
to humans, who would never notice delays due to IPC communications.

Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
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