[Israel.pm] Are we open source advocates ?

David Baird david.baird at homemail.com
Sun Jan 4 06:14:27 PST 2004


This is not off topic. People should understand why Perl is not part of
GNU, and has a special license.

Written by: Gabor Szabo
> And this is (one of) the nice things about Perl.
> 
> It is distributed under the  GPL (aka Free Software)
> and it helps you to "get the job done".

>From perlfaq1, "While the GNU project includes Perl in its
distributions, there's no such thing as ``GNU Perl''. Perl is not
produced nor maintained by the Free Software Foundation. Perl's
licensing terms are also more open than GNU software's tend to be."

How is this relevant to the conversation? If I want to include a Perl
interpreter in my commercial application, I don't have to make my
commercial application open source as required by the GPL. From the Perl
Artistic License: "You may embed this Package's interpreter within an
executable of yours (by linking); this shall be construed as a mere form
of aggregation, provided that the complete Standard Version of the
interpreter is so embedded."

How is this different from the GPL? "But when you distribute the same
sections as part of a whole which is a work based on the Program, the
distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this License, whose
permissions for other licensees extend to the entire whole, and thus to
each and every part regardless of who wrote it."

In other words, if you embed Perl into your commercial application, it
must remain the Perl interpreter, but you don't have to expose the
source code of your application. If you embed a GNU binary (like a
library) into your commercial application, you are required to place
your commercial application under the GPL, and therefore all your source
code becomes open source. The only exception for a GNU program is when
it is redistributed as a separate binary file. Therefore, many GPL
libraries are built to be dynamically loaded. This doesn't help for many
embedded systems, though.

-David




More information about the Perl mailing list