[jsword-devel] [Fwd: Re: [gnu.org #112369] GPL FAQ confusion]

Joe Walker jsword-devel@crosswire.org
Mon, 29 Sep 2003 22:51:29 +0100

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I got a mail from the GNU GPL legal expert, helpful and very prompt.
It confirms that we need to add an exception to our copy of the GPL.


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Subject: Re: [gnu.org #112369] GPL FAQ confusion
From: "novalis@fsf.org via RT" <licensing@fsf.org>
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On Mon, 2003-09-29 at 17:20, Joe Walker via RT wrote:
> novalis@fsf.org via RT wrote:
> >On Mon, 2003-09-29 at 15:48, Joe Walker via RT wrote:
> >  
> >
> >>Hi,
> >>
> >>I've got very confused by the GPL FAQ. It is about the definition of the 
> >>word free.
> >>
> >>>From 
> >>http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#DoesFreeSoftwareMeanUsingTheGPL
> >> > "Does free software mean using the GPL? Not at all..."
> >>
> >>So it would seem that free == most common open licenses. The list is 
> >>lengthy.
> >>
> >>But in http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#TOCWritingFSWithNFLibs
> >> > I am writing free software that uses non-free libraries. What legal 
> >>issues come up if I use the GPL?
> >>
> >>Here the word free appears to mean GPL or compatible with GPL. Certainly 
> >>far more restricted than is implied in the above FAQ.
> >>Now I may have mis-understood the above FAQ, but the Quiz was fairly 
> >>clear that the IPL is not free in this context, and yet the IPL is free 
> >>according to the former question - it is included in the list referred to.
> >>    
> >>
> >
> >That question is addressing two issues at once: the moral issue of using
> >non-free libraries with Free Software, and the legal issue of using
> >GPL-incompatible libraries with GPL software. I will suggest that the
> >question be rephrased to address your concerns.
> >
> >  
> >
> Thanks for the prompt reply.
> Is it OK if I copy this reply to the mailing list where we have been 
> discussing these issues?
> Thanks,

Yes, although I think if you include the following, you will avoid some
confusion (I'm a bit paranoid about being quoted on mailing lists after
the Slashdot/LGPL/Java incident)

1. The IBM Public License is a Free Software license

2. The IBM Public License is not compatible with the GPL, because it
imposes additional restrictions beyond what the GPL imposes.

3. There is a legal problem with linking GPL software with
GPL-incompatible software, both Free and non-Free

4. That doesn't make the GPL-incompatible software non-free.

-Dave Turner
GPL Compliance Engineer
Support my work: http://svcs.affero.net/rm.php?r=novalis&p=FSF

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