[Israel.pm] Are we open source advocates ?

Oron Peled oron at actcom.co.il
Sun Jan 4 08:32:09 PST 2004

On Sunday 04 January 2004 16:14, David Baird wrote:
> This is not off topic. People should understand why Perl is not part of
> GNU, and has a special license.

You seem to mix three related but different entities:
    - The GPL
    - The GNU Project and FSF
    - Free software in general

If we look at various FOSS (Free/Open-Source Software) as examples:
  - perl doesn't belong to FSF and is Artistic or GPL (your choice).
  - glibc belong to FSF and is LGPL (not GPL).
  - Linux kernel doesn't belong to FSF and is GPL.
  - Apache doesn't belong to FSF and has its own (Free) license.

Some clarification may be provided by:

> If I want to include a Perl interpreter in my commercial application,

You give good example for the differences between GPL and Artistic licenses
(with slight problematic terminology: s/commercial/proprietary/g you may
make money with GPL code as long as you distribute the 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.

Oops, there is NO SUCH EXCEPTION whatsoever. The GPL does not talk about
libraries and other specific terms, it talks about *derived work*.

The issue of derived work is separate from GPL or FOSS in general (it applies
to copyright law in general) and is a tough legal issue.

Thinking that dynamic linking a library instead of static linking will change 
its status as derived/non-derived work is naive at best (better consult with
a good lawyer before trusting this "trick"). [IANAL]


Oron Peled                             Voice/Fax: +972-4-8228492
oron at actcom.co.il                  http://www.actcom.co.il/~oron

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new
 discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..."
                 -- Isaac Asimov

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