[jsword-devel] Re: JSword license
Mon, 29 Sep 2003 09:12:47 -0400
Joe Walker <email@example.com> wrote:
> We don't provide source for those libraries, but I suppose we could.
> I need to have another look at the license. I made the assumption that
> in the question: "I am writing free software that uses non-free ..." The
> term *free* meant GPL, although that seems not to be correct.
Most of the approved open source licenses (but not all -- see the original
bsd for example) can be redistributed under GPL by narrowing/restricting the
terms of the original license. So they are not "free", but they can be
"made free." :-)
> I also remember a number of debates on this list where people told me
> that the GPL was incompatible with Java and I never got where it came
Exceptions were added to the GPL so you didn't have to redistribute source
from the operating system or compiler run-time libraries. Before that, it
was incompatible with Java since the java libraries didn't come with source
and couldn't be redistributed. And now days, most of the java libraries are
now open-source, but again, probably not all.
The above is all true to the best of my understanding, but your best bet is
to read through the GPL license and FAQ. The key to GPL is to remember that
the goal is to require that the user has the ability to recompile and modify
without restriction ANY and ALL parts of the code base, not just the part
created by the developer. Practical considerations (like the preference
for developers not in the GPL camp to use compatible code with less
restrictive licenses and like the popularity/necessity of "proprietary"
libaries such as those original java libraries) has led to the exceptions
which make GPL seem so complicated.
You might be better off asking these questions in a GNU licensing discussion
group. I have my own biases about GPL and don't claim a total understanding
of the nuances, despite having worked on and with GPL'd software for more
than a decade.