Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Legal Group Releases Guide To GPL Compliance

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the information-wants-to-be-free-and-legal dept.

GNU is Not Unix 141

An anonymous reader brings news that the Software Freedom Law Center has published a guide for compliance with the GNU General Public License. The purpose of the guide is to prevent "common mistakes" the SFLC has encountered during its various GPL violation investigations. Their suggestions include close scrutiny of software acquisitions, more precise tracking of changes and updates, and avoiding "build gurus." They also provide tips for dealing with a violation. The full guide is available at the SFLC's website.

cancel ×

141 comments

fp (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24718451)

Are first posts legal?

All in all, a good thing. (3, Insightful)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 5 years ago | (#24718701)

Any kind of legalese could do with such a guide.

Good fun to make up your own license (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24718705)

but yes this does rather highlight all the obligations of the GPL, which is a good thing because a lot of companies don't realise what it actually entails.

When making a software product from open source software, one of the tasks is to find out about all the licenses and to be quite honest it is to avoid a lot of software that is GPL, which thankfully most isn't as far as the building blocks go.

GPL software is nice when you want to include a tool that the end user can use but is not central to your software. And, if you have to make alteration then ensuring that alteration is distributed alongside the source for that GPL software is good practice.

Pompous, over-long, and bad English (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24718717)

1. Way too long to be useful (preaching to the converted---only those in love with the GPL will get to the end, and it will only confirm things they already know)

2. Massively overwritten---about as concise as the Bible.

3. Very partisan; not clear instructions, as one would expect, but more a hidden manifesto on how they think you should run your development team.

4. Bad English in parts (learn how to use an apostrophe).

Re:Pompous, over-long, and bad English (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24718813)

Yes, I can see how you would think a 15 page document is as long as a 1000 page book. How very astute of you.

Build Guru (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24718759)

What is a build guru? Tried looking it up in various places but no luck...

Re:Build Guru (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24718935)

RTFA, it's the one person in your organization that know how to make a build.

Re:Build Guru (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#24718955)

The term is defined within the text: "build guru" is their term for a team member who handles the firmware build process for your product, given a situation where the knowledge of how to do so exists in his head, rather than in documentation or shared knowledge.

I don't think that the term is a standard one in the broader sense; but it is clear enough for the purposes of their discussion. Relying on one person's personal knowledge for a vital step in your process is never ideal, especially if you have a legal obligation to provide your customers with some of that knowledge, if they ask for it. Simple enough, really.

Re:Build Guru (3, Interesting)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 5 years ago | (#24720181)

Someone should show this document to Sun's OOo team. If you download the source on any given day and try to compile it, there's about a 75% chance that something is broken on that day.

Re:Build Guru (1)

PingXao (153057) | more than 5 years ago | (#24720195)

I never heard that term, either, but I'm guessing it's someone who knows the entire build process from start to finish. Possibly even wrote the scripts for it. For embedded Linux firmware this would involve shell scripts, custom tools written in C/C++, a ton of Makefiles, maybe a little Buildroot, and how to script the source code control system. Just figuring out how the various SCCS tools do "branching and merging" takes a guru all by itself.

Re:Build Guru (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 5 years ago | (#24720803)

"I never heard that term, either, but I'm guessing it's someone who knows the entire build process from start to finish. Possibly even wrote the scripts for it."

There is no official term, and your interpretation makes sense, but a thorough reading of the article and the actual guide to which it refers, shows that they mean something different. It is, in effect, a facetious term in the content in which they use it. In this case the articles author actually used quotes correctly - [stops to gasp]

If someone knoiws the build process forward and backward that is fine, as long as the process is documented in a manner that allows others who are not intimately familiar with the process to also build the binary . If someone wrote a script, and the script works, then everything is fine. A script comprises "complete instructions on how to build the executable" (assuming you include instructions detailing how to unzip the source and run the script, etc.)

They mean someone who knows how to build the code, or hack their way through the process, but hasn't written a comprehensive document or solid script that makes it possible/reasonable for others to accomplish the same task.

Alas, the industry is awash with such "gurus" ...

From the document... (5, Funny)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | more than 5 years ago | (#24718777)

GPL compliance need not be an onerous process.

They say at the end of a 15 page document.

Re:From the document... (3, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 5 years ago | (#24718821)

To be fair, 15 pages is nothing to most lawyers.

Re:From the document... (4, Insightful)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 5 years ago | (#24718833)

Exactly. It kind of makes you think the BSD folk might have a point in insisting on simple, permissive licences (though even those can be open to misinterpretation - see ipfilter in OpenBSD).

Still, this 15 page document is only needed for legal-corporate types, anxious to know the letter of the law and the exact boundaries of what's permitted. For ordinary programmers, RMS has tended to say that the letter of the GPL is less important than its spirit, which is to share your code and give all users the same rights you have. If you stick to that principle you can be pretty sure you are within the letter of the licence as well.

Re:From the document... (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#24719021)

GPL arguably has more complex goals than BSD, so it really isn't realistic to expect the GPL to be simpler than, or even as simple as, the BSD licence.

Making sure that your licence is as short as possible, without compromising your goals, is always good; but compromising your goals just to make your licence simpler is perverse at best.

Legalese not complexity is the issue. (3, Insightful)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | more than 5 years ago | (#24719105)

GPL arguably has more complex goals than BSD, so it really isn't realistic to expect the GPL to be simpler than, or even as simple as, the BSD licence. Making sure that your licence is as short as possible, without compromising your goals, is always good; but compromising your goals just to make your licence simpler is perverse at best.

Complexity isn't the issue with the GPL: it's the legalese. And because of the legalese, I am not confident to use it or any software using that license for commercial use without legal advice; which increases the cost of using GPL software on a commercial level. This extra cost is factored in when evaluating and comparing against software under other licenses.

Deceptive simplicity is unwise. (3, Informative)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 5 years ago | (#24719181)

Large corporations (which probably do way more business than you or whomever you're speaking for) don't have that problem. Reasonable business operators recognize that you should not be "confident to use" any software without complete understanding of the terms of the relevant licenses. This goes for any software license. In this way the new BSD license is deceptively simple and framing this issue as though it only affected the GPL is unfair.

So what if it gets patented? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24719829)

What if someone takes your code and patents a part of it? BSD then says you cannot claim the patent or protect yourself from it.

And patent law says you can't use your BSD code.

It therefore doesn't matter if you feel confident in obeying the BSD. Your feelings will not make a hill of beans difference. And you will be disallowed.

Re:So what if it gets patented? (1, Insightful)

jeaton (44965) | more than 5 years ago | (#24720187)

What if someone takes your code and patents a part of it? BSD then says you cannot claim the patent or protect yourself from it.

The BSD license does not mention patents. There is nothing in the BSD license preventing you having patents based on BSD code, nor protecting yourself from others patent claims.

Which was my point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24720525)

The BSD doesn't protect you from someone else patenting your code.

And protecting it costs words.

Words some BSDers would complain "makes it more complicated!".

Re:Which was my point (1)

jeaton (44965) | more than 5 years ago | (#24721035)

Nothing protects you from someone else patenting your idea, except fighting the patent application in court.

The license under which you release your code is irrelevant with regards to patent law.

Re:Which was my point (1)

mdfst13 (664665) | more than 5 years ago | (#24723361)

The license under which you release your code is irrelevant with regards to patent law.

The difference is that the company holding the patent can't distribute the code under the GPL. Consider the case where you write code; someone else patents part of the basis for your code; now they redistribute the code that you wrote and charge their patent rent. With GPLed code, they couldn't redistribute your code (they'd have to write their own).

Re:Legalese not complexity is the issue. (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 5 years ago | (#24719995)

because of the legalese, I am not confident to use it or any software using that license for commercial use without legal advice; which increases the cost of using GPL software on a commercial level.

But at least once you've got legal advice on the GPL once, you can freely follow that advice for any of the many software packages that are licensed under it.

This compares rather favourably to the situation in the closed-source world, where every single EULA is different, and they are all many, many times longer and more complex than the GPL. Yet for some reason nobody ever cites the legalese as a reason to avoid using Microsoft Windows commercially...

Re:Legalese not complexity is the issue. (1)

legirons (809082) | more than 5 years ago | (#24721181)

Complexity isn't the issue with the GPL: it's the legalese. And because of the legalese, I am not confident to use it or any software using that license for commercial use without legal advice; which increases the cost of using GPL software on a commercial level. This extra cost is factored in when evaluating and comparing against software under other licenses.

I dread to think how long it takes your organisation to install a typical proprietary program... the legalese in any EULA is at least two orders of magnitude worse than the GPL (and those are expected to be understood by children, teenagers, and people with no IT nor legal knoweledge...

e.g. take iTunes. Required to use an ipod. How many people know that you've signed a contract with someone other than Apple, and given that company permission to modify the contract at any time without them even having to notify you?

Re:Legalese not complexity is the issue. (1)

cfulmer (3166) | more than 5 years ago | (#24721997)

So, as a lawyer, I don't consider the GPL to be written in "legalese." It's just not written very well, especially v2.

When drafting a document, a lawyer tries to make sure that it can only be read one way--his. Often lawyers drop into the habit of "legalese" to do this. And, as a result, that document may be difficult for non-lawyers to understand. But, that "legalese" is rarely required.

So, here's an example of the GPLv2 poor drafting:

The "Program", below, refers to any such program or work, and a "work based on the Program" means either the Program or any derivative work under copyright law: that is to say, a work containing the Program or a portion of it, either verbatim or with modifications and/or translated into another language.

So, what does the part after the colon refer to? Does it mean that "any derivative work under copyright law" is the same thing as "a work containing the Program or a portion of it"? If so, then it's just plain wrong, because those are two different things.

So, if you look toward the end of Section 2, where the GPL uses the expression "work based on the Program," is it talking about "derivative works" or the broader category that includes "works containing the program"? The next-to-last sentence in Section 2 now talks about "collective works" for the first time -- where did that come from?

Preparing a good contract is a lot like writing code cold without having the chance to debug it. You spend a lot of time making sure (1) that it does exactly what you want and (2) that your audience will be able to read it. Considering that similarity, I'm surprised at how many "bugs" the GPL has.

Re:Legalese not complexity is the issue. (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 5 years ago | (#24722209)

Complying with the GPL is simple: when you ship binaries based on GPL code, provide the source you used to build them. It's only when people think they can get away with not providing the source because they're not technically linking to GPL'd code or otherwise violate the spirit of the agreement that it gets complex. Do you disagree, that shipping source is a sufficient action to comply with the GPL?

Re:From the document... (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#24719235)

Any commercial entity has to understand what it can and cannot do with it's licensed assets. IMHO, the issue with software that given for no or little cost, but with other limitations attached, is that there is no salesperson who job is to spell those limitations out in detail. This means that you have to either understand the strings yourself or pay someone to explain it to you. This is a necessary expense as violating the GLP license is as much theft as having an unlicensed copy of MS Windows 95 or your corporate network. I think that most would agree that folding a unlicensed product into a commercial product is not defensible. In many cases, commercial interests now have the option of gain that license through cash or through a number of innovative non-cash options. It is certainly not free, but even holding up a convenience store has costs.

Re:From the document... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24719375)

Dear Fermion:

If you trust a salesperson to spell out legal limitations, you are a fool.

More than likely, you aren't a fool, but are just working a little weekend overtime at Microsoft.

Am I right?

Re:From the document... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24720011)

"RMS has tended to say that the letter of the GPL is less important than its spirit"

Which is completely irrelevant when someone sues you... which the authors of this document have been doing lately. They seem to have had cause under the license, that isn't my point. My point is whatever RMS says, you need to be in compliance or there are consequences... so yes, the BSD license might turn out to be better since I'm beginning to get the feeling that the risk isn't worth it if it takes 15 pages and after reading them we come away with the advice "get some indemnity and only hire experts".

Re:From the document... (1, Troll)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 5 years ago | (#24719069)

Exactly. The result is that I have been advising my employer to remove dependencies on GPL and LGPL software from all of our products. Either take a commercial license, find an alternative that has a more permissive licence or roll your own.

 

Re:From the document... (4, Informative)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 5 years ago | (#24719211)

You don't mean a "commercial" license. The GPL is a commercial license. Commerce is done with software licensed under the GPL. You mean something else, perhaps "proprietary".

In any event you haven't explained what is so bad about the GPL or that you understand the licenses you deal with (any of them) to warrant such trust in these other more permissive licenses or licenses you erroneously referred to as "commercial".

Re:From the document... (1, Insightful)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 5 years ago | (#24719243)

Trolls don't have to explain their reasoning. All they have to do is take what (might) be a minor inconvenience in a license such as the GPL, and expand it into a FUD-storm, listing, and not explaining, dubious alternatives.

Re:From the document... (0, Troll)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 5 years ago | (#24723225)

You want to know what is so bad about the GPL? Anything that takes 15 pages to explain how to be compliant and contains recommendations that you change your software development process as part of it is a significant problem. And did you notice those terms that copyright owners might impose? They could cripple a small company (and most software development companies are small).

And that is just GPLv2. GPLv3 and the patent bar makes it even worse. Companies often have to defend themselves from patent infringement suits by using countersuits, or at least threatening countersuits, and the GPLv3 is booby-trapped to prevent that. You could potentially destroy a company through this.

And what do you do with a GPL library? You have to release all of the code you link to it? That is a very poor trade off. The FSF is encouraging authors to release libraries under GPL. That makes them worthless for many commercial applications. Even LGPL is not so good because static linking makes it viral.

As to those who question my use of the term 'commercial'? Sorry that you don't like it but it is the common vernacular. Please suggest a different term rather than name calling and insults.

Sorry you don't like my telling it the way it is. I didn't expect to get a cheering reception but the facts are the facts.

GPL is DANGEROUS if you are selling software. I am sure if you ask Richard Stallman he will tell you it was done that way intentionally. His agenda to change the way the software industry is well known.

Re:From the document... (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#24722241)

N00b.

Re:From the document... (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 5 years ago | (#24720893)

"GPL compliance need not be an onerous process."

"They say at the end of a 15 page document."

I seem to recall most of the books in the ... for Dummies series being more than 15 pages. Reading " See Spot Run " also requires you to wade through more than 15 pages IIRC ;-)

(I mean the original children's book, not this one [imdb.com] . That's not a book, and the screenplay is more than 15 pages also, unless I miss my guess.)

Guide to GPL compliance (2, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#24718801)

Share and share alike.

Re:Guide to GPL compliance (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#24720395)

except when you infect a more permissive license, like BSD or MIT.

Like when your BSD code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24721129)

was infected by MS closed source EULA? I mean you never got THAT version of the code back.

And if you're going to say "we still had the code" well, you still have the original code if it's added to GPL.

So either complain about both or neither.

Context people, context. (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#24718921)

By the standards of legal advice, that paper is both terse and clear. Perhaps in the wide world of training webcasts, 30 second commercials, and authoritative voiceovers, 15 pages qualifies as a ponderous tome; but you have to keep that sort of thing in perspective.

The broad concept of the GPL isn't hard; but a quick guide to a few of the unintuitive points is a useful thing. The details of the source distribution requirements are a matter of considerable confusion in some quarters, as are the terms under which one can regain the licence after violation.

Those minutiae aside, though, I am very surprised by how much apparent confusion the GPL and other copyleft type licences inspire. There seem to be two main camps of misinterpretation. The copyleft=no copyright group seems to believe that anybody who doesn't do copyright the exact same way they do doesn't do copyright at all. Hence this group's lack of respect for the terms of the GPL and similar. The other extreme has a fear amounting to mania of the GPL, believing that the GPL is unknowably complicated, and will inevitably lead to having all the code you've ever written forcibly expropriated by armed communist penguins.

I don't understand the confusion because the GPL is a perfectly ordinary licence, from the legal perspective. Its purpose, socially, is quite interesting, and rather unusual; but the form "Copyright law says that you can't copy this without our permission, which we grant if you do foo and bar." is absolutely standard. People seem to go in expecting the legal side to be horribly mysterious, just because the social purpose is unusual. It is rather weird, really.

Re:Context people, context. (2, Interesting)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | more than 5 years ago | (#24719119)

If the GPL was written in English instead of legalese, I think there would be less confusion.

The folks who should be concerned with the GPL are technical folks; not lawyers.

Re:Context people, context. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24719189)

I've not read the guide yet as I'm somewhat busy this afternoon.

Does it include any clarification of the requirement to provide source code? That one has always seemed ambiguous/fuzzy. Whenever it comes up in discussion here on /. there is always argument over who the source code must be provided to.

Having seen the arguing over this requirement so often I feel it is one that certainly could use some clarification.

Re:Context people, context. (2, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#24719223)

A substantial portion of their clarification is of exactly that point. I'm not going to garble it in the retelling, TFA is a quick read, and really quite lucid by legal standards.

Re:Context people, context. (3, Informative)

McDutchie (151611) | more than 5 years ago | (#24719239)

If the GPL was written in English instead of legalese, I think there would be less confusion.
The folks who should be concerned with the GPL are technical folks; not lawyers.

If software was written in English instead of programming languages, I think there would be less confusion.
The folks who should be concerned with software are ordinary folks; not programmers.

But of course, in reality, both of these matters are too complex to accurately express in standard English.

The GPL is a hack of the legal system with the goal of turning copyright upside down. That hack only works because it's written in legalese.

That rather relies on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24719963)

the other people doing what you meant them to do rather than what they WANT you to mean.

If the GPL 2 had been followed in spirit, why would MS have had to give Novell patent rights to put in the GPL rather than put them in there themselves? Because MS didn't want to obey the spirit of the patent gifting in GPL and finessed it.

So even though the GPL2 was simpler than GPL3, it was too simple to stand a malicious attacker.

Re:Context people, context. (5, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#24719423)

Unfortunately, writing legal documents in English isn't really an option. The law, like math, natural science, or computer programming, has an evolved set of vocabulary, logical rules, stylistic conventions, etc. Some of this is definitely unnecessary cruft, or even deliberately hostile and obscure; but not all of it is. Some legalese is much closer to English than other legalese, just as some programming languages are pretty close to pseudocode; but the two aren't identical.

I agree that licences(and law in general) ought always to strive for clarity; but(as I'm sure you know from explaining tech stuff to non techies) real clarity often demands a certain amount of jargon. Concepts, whether they be "JIT Compiler", "Special Relativity", or "Derivative Work", can be glossed in English; but they cannot be fully described without reference to the technical terminology of their fields.

The GPL does pretty well, comparatively speaking, in being precise without being incomprehensible. Unfortunately, it has been forced to become more complex(the difference between version 2 and version 3 is striking) by factors outside of its control, mostly related to software patents, DRM/Tivoization, and technological advances that make the aggregation/derivative work boundary fuzzier.

Re:Context people, context. (1)

hankwang (413283) | more than 5 years ago | (#24721387)

Unfortunately, writing legal documents in English isn't really an option. The law, like math, natural science, or computer programming, has an evolved set of vocabulary, logical rules, stylistic conventions, etc.

Maybe you can explain what the purpose is of the UPPERCASE PARAGRAPHS IN EULAS? Uppercase text is harder to read than lowercase text, so if the purpose is to emphasize the important bits, it doesn't do it very well. And why emphasize paragraphs? Is lowercase text less legally binding than uppercase text?

Re:Context people, context. (1)

sed quid in infernos (1167989) | more than 5 years ago | (#24722637)

There are certain provisions in contracts that are disfavored at law. This usually includes limitations on liability, disclaimers of implied warranties, and the like - essentially, items that take away rights that the purchaser (usually) would have absent the contractual language. Such provisions are usually construed strictly against the beneficiary. One of the legal arguments available to someone trying, for example, to sue in the face of a liability waiver is that it fails to give "clear notice" of the nature of the waiver. That the waiver is buried in a long document is sometimes a successful argument that the contract failed to give clear notice.

It's less important to this argument that the text be easier to read than that it is called out as being important by being different and "bigger." In general, a capitalized section of an otherwise mixed case agreement is a signal that you are about to waive a legal right.

Re:Context people, context. (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 5 years ago | (#24719817)

Will this do? [creativecommons.org]

Confusion? (3, Insightful)

hax0r_this (1073148) | more than 5 years ago | (#24719947)

I have to wonder if people who complain about the GPL (or, for that matter, most software licenses I've dealt with) being confusing have ever actually read it. I read and understood the GPL when I was in 9th grade. Sure it took me a few reads, but any legal document, or for that matter most any book is like that.

Can you give a specific example of language you find confusing in the GPL?

I think, perhaps, people simply are daunted by the idea of "so much" language that all has meaning to be understood, not the actual quality of that language.

Re:Confusion? (1)

perlchild (582235) | more than 5 years ago | (#24720593)

I think you got something there. "Natural language" is far less dense than specialised languages. Legalese, or technical language above a certain level, you cannot skip a single word, or sometimes, even a single comma. Most people I know read about 50% of the words on a page, then make up an opinion of what is meant. That's why legalese is scary. It's not that it's hard to understand, it's that the natural process these people use makes it 95% likely to get the meaning wrong. When they say complicated, they mean "newbie-friendly" or at least, "user-friendly". And the whole point of a jargon is to be "specialist-friendly" it's not easy to combine the two.

Re:Confusion? (1)

david_thornley (598059) | more than 5 years ago | (#24722769)

If somebody can't understand the GPL, either version, I don't want them working on any software I have to deal with in any way. The licenses are a lot more readable than the sort of code I work with daily.

Re:Context people, context. (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#24721527)

If the GPL was written in English instead of legalese, I think there would be less confusion.

The folks who should be concerned with the GPL are technical folks; not lawyers.

Compared to most EULAs I've read (and yes I do read them, part of my job is to ensure my employer complies with licensing requirements), the GPL is a shining beacon of clarity. Version 3 is rather less clear than 2, but nevertheless both are quite readable.

I suspect the confusion comes from two places:

1. People who don't know anything about software development and think it all sounds terribly awkward to follow.

2. People who have never read any sort of EULA in their lives, GPL included, and go purely on the basis of hearsay.

Re:Context people, context. (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 5 years ago | (#24722153)

#2 seems more likely, but I'd phrase it: "People who've used Linux, but never actually read the GPL or informed their clients of their obligations, figuring they could just wing it."

Re:Context people, context. (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 5 years ago | (#24720157)

The copyleft=no copyright group seems to believe that anybody who doesn't do copyright the exact same way they do doesn't do copyright at all. Hence this group's lack of respect for the terms of the GPL and similar.

Yeah. I was just talking to a colleague at the school where I teach who is the author of a textbook. We were discussing ways of keeping costs down for students, and he said it ought to be easy these days to get figures from Wikipedia, so the publisher wouldn't have to pay per-copy royalties to photographers, or pay so much to illustrators. I told him that Wikipedia was under a license, and that most of the illustrations were also under that license (or a similar one), so he probably couldn't do that unless his book was under a compatible license (which it isn't). He kept insisting for quite a while that everything on WP was free, until I bombarded him with enough information. Copyleft is a completely foreign concept to most people, so they try to shoehorn it into concepts they know, like "copyrighted" or "public domain." It's like the story about the hillbilly who came to the big city and visited the zoo, saw a giraffe, turned away, and said, to no one in particular, "There ain't no such animal."

Re:Context people, context. (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 5 years ago | (#24722325)

hose minutiae aside, though, I am very surprised by how much apparent confusion the GPL and other copyleft type licences inspire.

I'm not. That's because I don't think most of those entities are confused at all. Having heard a lot of them, I'm of the opinion that they understand the GPL and how to comply with it perfectly well, but they've got their own agendas which would be harmed by having to comply with the GPL so they feign ignorance and confusion to try to get out of doing what they know full well they're obligated to do. You can see a perfect example of the same behavior in many young children. Tell them something like "You can't watch television until you've cleaned your room.", or "No, you can't have any more cookies, you've had too many already.", and watch them try and twist and finagle to get what they want. Even to the point of standing there with a handful of cookies and a full mouth mumbling "But I didn't think you meant these cookies...".

Request: (2, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 5 years ago | (#24718947)

Dude - send a copy to the Utah State Attorney General's Office.

No, they did nothing wrong, but in 1999 when I was trying to explain that I wanted to put the GPL to use in my former classroom (all non public-domain copyrights are jointly held by a teacher and the State of Utah), most of the Dept'y Att'y General's responses consisted of "...I don't understand". I even pointed him to the GNU website), but he called back later and was still lost. Nice guy, sounded like a good lawyer, but he just couldn't wrap his brain around the concept.

Now that was nine years ago (!? Cripes I'm old),, and things may have changed, but pushing a copy of this new guide to all 50 US State Att'y General offices would, IMHO, not be a bad idea at all.

/P

Build Gurus (3, Informative)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#24718957)

The GPL requires you to include the scripts used to control compilation and installation of the executable. It does not require you to provide the knowledge needed to use those scripts, if it's all in someone's head. So having "build gurus" doesn't necessarily put you out of compliance, though it might make it hard to demonstrate you are in compliance.

Re:Build Gurus (1)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 5 years ago | (#24719723)

Too many software projects rely on only one or a very few team members who know how to build and assemble the final released product. Such knowledge centralization not only creates engineering redundancy issues, but it also endangers GPL compliance, which requires you to provide build scripts.

Re:Build Gurus (1)

piojo (995934) | more than 5 years ago | (#24720585)

Too many software projects rely on only one or a very few team members who know how to build and assemble the final released product. Such knowledge centralization not only creates engineering redundancy issues, but it also endangers GPL compliance, which requires you to provide build scripts.

On a literal, hair-splitting note, I'm sure build scripts do not have to be provided if the build guru in question has not actually scripted the build. After all, if no build scripts exist, there is simply no grounds to claim that they must be distributed. Copyright/the GPL do not cover things that do not exist, as far as I can tell.

Re:Build Gurus (1)

legirons (809082) | more than 5 years ago | (#24721535)

On a literal, hair-splitting note, I'm sure build scripts do not have to be provided if the build guru in question has not actually scripted the build.

I guess you'll just have to supply your guru to anyone who obtains the binary code then ;)

(just kidding, I know GPL explicitly lists the types of files which are considered 'corresponding source')

Sounds awefully *AA-ish... (0, Troll)

mi (197448) | more than 5 years ago | (#24719003)

So... Is violating intellectual property laws a bad thing? Or is it only bad, if the property is that of an open-source programmer, but Ok, if it was created by a musician or an actor?

Re:Sounds awefully *AA-ish... (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 5 years ago | (#24719113)

Wow, your score is still positive. I'm surprised you haven't been modded down for that post, comparing RMS/GPL to the **AAs!

I joke, of course, but your point is very insightful, IMHO.

Re:Sounds awefully *AA-ish... (2, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#24719141)

That "insight" is only insightful if you take the ludicrous step of lumping Software Freedom Law Center attorneys together with random pirate kiddies on slashdot, and pretending that they all consciously share a single position.

Copyleft licences are quite explicit about using copyright to achieve their aims, just as ordinary copyright licences are. Now, it is true that people who use and advocate copyleft licences are frequently, though not universally, likely to advocate significant copyright reform of one sort or another; but they cannot be usefully lumped in with pirates or copyright abolitionists.

Re:Sounds awefully *AA-ish... (1)

gnuman99 (746007) | more than 5 years ago | (#24719569)

Actually no. Copyright reform is NOT needed. Copyright laws were just fine until some twats messed it it up by extending the copyright.

Patent reform is needed, not copyright reform.

I use GPL, LGPL, BSD and similar software and abide by the terms of these licenses. And I do not pirate anything. Days where you've had an excuse that you needed something but can't afford it are *gone*. Can't afford Windows and Office? Use Linux/BSD/Solaris and OpenOffice. Want to hack code but can't afford a compiler - there is gcc so no excuse.

People that abide by terms of GPL will also abide by terms of non-free licenses. People that don't abide by GPL will ignore terms of non-free licenses as well.

Re:Sounds awefully *AA-ish... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24720433)

Copyright reform is NOT needed. Copyright laws were just fine until some twats messed it it up by extending the copyright.

So, to paraphrase, you think that (a) copyright is working well and there's no need to change it, and (b) copyright has been messed up?

Had you not noticed that those two claims directly contradict one another? If some twats have messed up copyright law, then we need to reform it. Simply winding the clock back to a time when the law was reasonable would be one feasible approach to such a reform.

Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24719035)

Imagine I was a musician, and I wrote some software that helped me create music. If that software I wrote relied on a GPL operating system and some GPL software (but only by calling existing functions and using existing utilities, without modifying any of its source code), and then released my music to the world from time to time, would I be under any obligation to release the source code to the software I wrote?

Re:Question (3, Informative)

Nibbler999 (1101055) | more than 5 years ago | (#24719173)

No, since you are not distributing the software.

Re:Question (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#24719183)

No. No obligation. First off, you said you are releasing music, not software. Just as images made with the GIMP, or documents made with OpenOffice, are not GPLed, the music you produce would be yours to release, or not, under any terms you wish. The GPL places no requirements on users, only on distributors.

Secondly, if you were releasing your software, it would have to be GPL only if it is part of a derivative work made from GPLed software. Merely being distributed with, or running on, or interacting with at arms length, isn't enough to qualify. I don't know exactly where the line is drawn in any particular case; but direct modifications of, or static linking with, GPL code definitely counts, and mere aggregation definitely doesn't count.

Re:Question (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#24719399)

No.

No more than you'd be required to release the source code of a program you'd compiled with GCC.

Re:Question (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 5 years ago | (#24719481)

IANAL, etc., but as I understand, you would only need to release the source code of the software if you release the software. The product you create with the software is incidental. For that matter, I don't believe it makes any difference whether or not you modify any of the GPL'd code that you used -- the modified code was for your use only, and therefore it doesn't have to be re-released (whether or not you *should* at least offer the modifications back to the FOSS community is another story, but the GPL doesn't require it, as I understand).

For that matter, I have pretty much done exactly what you describe: I have a sequencer that lacks an arpeggiator function, so I wrote a perl script (perl being FOSS) on my Linux (also FOSS, being released under the GPL) desktop that would generate a random sequence of notes based upon a pentatonic scale. It's posted on-line at http://soundclick.com/share?songid=5822327 [soundclick.com] if you are interested in hearing what it sounds like (and it's released under the creative commons non-commercial, share-and-share-alike license, as well).

No -- the GPL is not a usage license (Moglen) (3, Informative)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 5 years ago | (#24719701)

> [as a user] would I be under any obligation to release the source code to the software I wrote?

No, as a user of GPL software, as opposed to a (re)developer or distributor, you do not engage any of the relevant conditions of the GPL with respect to provision of the source code.

As the ex-FSF's Eben Moglen has said on many occasions (paraphrased but close), "The GPL is not a usage license, but a distribution license". That's a very clearcut distinction, and Eben has written the book in this area.

There is a small corner case to watch out for, however, and that's static linking with GPL libraries --- a few people call this "derivation" despite the fact that you're only an end user and are only aggregating the GPL library functions statically with your code, so the issue is slightly grey. However, most linkage with GPL libraries is dynamic, and even Richard Stallman has conceded that legally, dynamic linking cannot ever be derivation but only mere usage. No doubt Eben put him straight on that. "Aggregation is not derivation" appears in the FSF's own explanatory materials.

On the whole then, the answer is "No, you're safe", unless you go out of your way to use static linking, which would open you up to the possibility of occasional arguments within the community, although probably not legal ones.

Source, please? (2, Insightful)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 5 years ago | (#24719823)

[...] even Richard Stallman has conceded that legally, dynamic linking cannot ever be derivation but only mere usage. No doubt Eben put him straight on that.

Where would I find Richard Stallman saying this? Where would I find Eben Moglen talking about this? In other words, what's your source?

Re:Source, please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24720141)

Where would I find Richard Stallman saying this? Where would I find Eben Moglen talking about this? In other words, what's your source?

For both your questions, the links to these statements appeared (more than once) off the numerous articles about the GPL that we've had here on Slashdot over the years. I tend to follow these topics closely.

From visual memory, RMS made the comment about dynamic linking in an email-like textual response, or maybe it was a FAQ (it was plain text anyway). I also vividly remember the same paragraph saying something like "despite our wanting dynamic linking to be considered derivation ...". This is why I think he received advice from Eben to the contrary, although that's speculation on my part.

Also from visual memory, Eben's statements about "GPL is not a usage license" appeared in nicely written full articles. These should be quite easy to find with the help of Google, because he's said that so often.

The "aggregation is not derivation" advice appears in GPL explanatory literature on the FSF site. To assume that static linking is mere aggregation is not safe though (yes, it's only *usage* and there is no modification of the statically linked code, but on the other hand *distribution* of the GPL binary is clearly happening, so there is ample room for disagreement here). Best avoid static linking altogether.

Re:Source, please? (1)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 5 years ago | (#24720747)

For both your questions, the links to these statements appeared (more than once) off the numerous articles about the GPL that we've had here on Slashdot over the years. I tend to follow these topics closely.

It would help us to better understand the claims in this thread if we had specific quotes for both Stallman and Moglen's alleged statements rather than vague recollections and broad generalizations. We don't know what you have read.

Re:Source, please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24721243)

Yes, I have no doubt that direct links would help people find the text with zero effort on their part. ;-)

However, I haven't even looked through my bookmarks for them, because, like everyone else, I'm too lazy. Especially on a weekend. :-)

That said, my own recollections aren't at all vague for me (personally), because I have mental images of how they looked in presentation as well as remembering their content. Not photographic memory, unfortunately, but Richard's statement in particular was so interesting that there is no confusing it. Eben's are in one of his major web publications, and can probably be found just by scanning the titles.

I'll probably find the links one day and stick them on a web page, as this topic is of interest to many.

If you are keen to get immediate data points in this area, drop Eben a line. He's very approachable and a nice guy all 'round, and probably less overworked now that the GPLv3 effort is behind him.

Static linking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24720109)

If you don't like that, get your copyright laws changed. It is that which defines what constitutes a "derivative".

Since copyright was written for books, movies and music, static linking is taken the exact same as taking a chapter from a book and putting it in your own. Or taking a five minute segment of a movie or the entire riff from a song and using it in your song or movie.

These are considered the same because, as far as copyright (because it is being applied not on SOURCE as it is with music/movies/books but on the binary object file) is concerned, they are doing the same thing.

So fix copyright:

a) source only is copyright

this may be too much, but linking object code is not copyright controlled then

b) static linking is not covered by copyright

this would allow me to get a new copyright on MS Office 2007 however, if I can add a new executable to replace the Microsoft one. Heck, maybe wrapping it in a new caller (a' la Wine) would be enough.

c) put up with it

because you break the bits of copyright you want to keep as your own very personal privilege.

But it is NOT, repeat NOT, a problem with GPL. It's a problem with copyright on computer programs. Period.

Re:Static linking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24720609)

But it is NOT, repeat NOT, a problem with GPL.

Nobody ever said there was a problem with the GPL, nor indeed with anything else, in this thread at least.

Your advice to reform copyright has some merit, but that's pretty distant from the topic.

I refer you to Morgaine's posting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24721221)

"On the whole then, the answer is "No, you're safe", unless you go out of your way to use static linking, which would open you up to the possibility of occasional arguments within the community, although probably not legal ones."

And if you're in a legal jurisdiction that doesn't consider static linking a copyright controlled process, you're OK. AFAIK, this includes a grand total of Nil jurisdictions.

So you will be in legal problems.

But that's not GPL giving you gyp, it's copyright.

Re:No -- the GPL is not a usage license (Moglen) (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#24720505)

even Richard Stallman has conceded that legally, dynamic linking cannot ever be derivation but only mere usage

Wow. It was hard to take him seriously when he was making extreme statements like that. If this trend keeps up, he may be reasonable in a few hundred years :)

Re:No -- the GPL is not a usage license (Moglen) (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#24722161)

The FSF believes that dynamic linking does amount to creating a derived work under the GPL. It is precisely the reason why they also have LGPL, which explicitly allows dynamic (but not static) linking. Stallman has argued that even using a GPLed Java class library - which does not involve any kind of linking at all - is still derivation.

Re:No -- the GPL is not a usage license (Moglen) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24722839)

The FSF believes that dynamic linking does amount to creating a derived work under the GPL

Wrong tense. "Believed" or "Wanted to believe" is closer, until their legal counsel explained what a copyrightable work of authorship actually means in the eyes of the law.

death to GPL (-1, Troll)

chicago greg (264786) | more than 5 years ago | (#24719253)

its called copyleft for a reason. It represents a typical left-wing approach to control thought and expression. Resist GPL -- support Berkeley, Apache, and the many other more libertarian licenses.

GNU: Free as in Freedom?

Nah, not unless you believe in Democratic as in Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Re:death to GPL (2, Interesting)

ricegf (1059658) | more than 5 years ago | (#24719999)

The original phrase was "Copyleft: All rights reversed" [gnu.org] . The "reversed" means that the rights of the end user are protected more so than the rights of the developer (the more natural beneficiary of copyright) - to wit, the end user is preserved the rights to run the program for any reason, share the program, examine and learn from the source code, and build and distribute derivatives.

Berkeley et. al. focus on protecting the rights of the developer more than the end user - to wit, the developer can create proprietary products from such code and deny the above freedoms to their end users.

Since libertarian principles focus on individual liberty over corporate or state interests, I firmly believe that copyleft is clearly the more libertarian license, and choose it over the alternatives for my own modest endeavors. Its popularity [freedomdefined.org] indicates that I am not alone.

Oddly enough, I've been called "right-wing" on several occasions, but never "left-wing" (though it truth I'm neither). Go figure.

Your opinion may (and almost certainly will ;-) differ.

Re:death to GPL (2, Insightful)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 5 years ago | (#24720867)

The problem is that copyright itself is contrary to libertarian principles.

BSDL and similar licenses take minimal advantage of copyright themselves, but allow downstream developers to apply as strict a copyright policy as they wish to any derivative works.

The GPL relies more on copyright for enforcement, but is designed to limit the ways in which downstream developers can apply more restrictive copyright and patent policies to GPL-derived works.

Whether you prefer the BSDL or GPL mostly comes down to whether you believe the ends justify the means. The GPL comes much closer to achieving the ultimate goal of undermining copyright restrictions, but at the expense of relying on a means (copyright itself) that the more "public domain"-style advocates find unjustifiable.

Re:death to GPL (1)

ricegf (1059658) | more than 5 years ago | (#24721123)

I'd mod you +1 interesting if I could. :-) Thanks for the insight into libertarian principles. However...

[BSDL] ... allow downstream developers to apply as strict a copyright policy as they wish to any derivative works.

I don't follow this. The late, great wireless driver controversy [opensourcehypocrisy.org] was specifically about a BSD-licensed driver being changed to GPL, and the consensus seems (I believe) to be that this is not permitted - only the copyright holder can change the license once under BSD.

Or am I missing your point?

Re:death to GPL (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 5 years ago | (#24722033)

I don't follow this. The late, great wireless driver controversy was specifically about a BSD-licensed driver being changed to GPL, and the consensus seems (I believe) to be that this is not permitted - only the copyright holder can change the license once under BSD.

I'm not sure I agree with that consensus entirely, and I'm not a lawyer of any sort (which should be assumed -- this is the Internet after all), but there is at least one important distinction to be made: the driver wasn't significantly altered in any way, but rather just re-labeled as GPL. In other words, the license and authorship of the original work were being misrepresented. This isn't the same as if BSDL code had been incorporated into a GPL project (retaining all the relevant attribution and license notices), where the result is a mix of BSDL and GPL code, and following both licenses reduces to just following the GPL.

One can't simply relicense BSDL code under more restrictive terms, but the BSDL places no restrictions on distributors beyond retaining the copyright notices and license of the original code; ergo, BSDL code can be incorporated into a larger codebase with an arbitrarily restrictive overall license. GPL code, by contrast, can only be incorporated into a codebase with a license no more restrictive than the GPL itself.

Re:death to GPL (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 5 years ago | (#24722345)

I believe his point is that you can modify BSD licensed works, and license your changes under the more restrictive GPL. The BSD disclaimer still holds, and the additional one does as well. What you cannot generally do is remove the BSD disclaimer or copyright notice. The original author still holds copyright over the parts you didn't change!

The wireless controversy was a great deal trickier than a mere Slashdot summary can contain: some places in the source code suggested it was available under BSD or GPL, rather than both, and that led to a Linux kernel hacker picking GPL and dropping the dual offer, much to the outrage of the BSD developers who felt unable to accept those changes into their projects.

Re:death to GPL (1)

tietokone-olmi (26595) | more than 5 years ago | (#24720051)

Jawohl! Sieg!

New method of GPL "compliance" that companies use (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24719869)

The GPL v3 requires divulging all trade secrets with a product. Because of this, a number of businesses especially those in embedded systems, are just completely ditching GPL libraries and operating systems altogether. Instead, they are moving to Windows CE, Windows XP embedded, QNX, or another completely closed source OS.

For example, one company I am acquainted with has a catalyst for a factory chemical reaction, the machine is sold to other businesses for some product manufacturing. Any GPL v3 software that is included in their embedded systems would force this business to give up the exact details of its catalyst making, something that has been researched and refined for a number of years now and is one of their core trade secrets. They were using Linux, but their counsel told them to recode using Windows CE because all it would take would be one GPL v3 licensed app to pollute a distribution, and they would be forced to give up their crown jewels to anyone (including their competition and foreign rivals) just for the asking.

Another hazy area is using Linux for embedded hardware storage modules for encryption keys. GPL v3 licensed apps require divulging of all secrets (keys included), so it is fundamentally impossible under the GPL v3's terms to use any software licensed under this license for any security sensitive tasks without risking massive legal consequences.

Fine. They *are* allowed to leave (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24720189)

It's not like we're making any money off their work, nor are they giving back the changes so people can learn from them.

If they'd rather pay someone a potload of cash than play nice, fair play to them and fuck off.

PS you'd better read that developer license REAL good. Remember: MS put in their IM system and the Passport login acceptance that they owned equal rights to ANYTHING you discussed over IM or other MS protocol that went through their servers.

They DID change this but only because people yelled and screamed. AFTER READING EACH CHANGE.

So make sure you aren't giving up any rights you need.

E.g. If they audit you, will they get access that will allow them to see what you're doing and take the idea?

Think carefully.

Re:New method of GPL "compliance" that companies u (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24720513)

Nice FUD, Mr Troll. Total bullshit, of course.

Gives me a funny feeling. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24719943)

They imply that people should be more careful because compliance is pursued in the courts these days more often. They don't say that they are the ones pursuing it.

Look, as an author of software released under the GPL, I appreciate that efforts in the community as a whole are being made to bring people into compliance. What I don't appreciate is uncertainty and FUD. This document is 15 pages that will lead to people not using GPL code or finding it necessary to find "experts" and/or to "indemnify" themselves as the document suggests. So much for Anyone can stand on the shoulders of Giants.

What ever happened to "give the code back if someone asks"? How did we get to this point of implying that it's so hard, you better not unless you have indemnity? I have to give you physical media if I'm distributing GPL2 software, Internet distribution isn't enough???? All of my build scripts better be perfect or else! My "whole firmware image"? What is going on here?

- If we have to give physical media, then that's a minimum requirement someone must have. Little guys need not apply
- Build scripts perfect means forget it if your just learning. Come back when you have mastered the art to the degree we arbitrarily say is enough.
- Firmware Image is a specific term, and incorrectly used here. A Firmware Image is an aggregation, I don't need to give you scripts and code for all of it. And if you say I do, your just wrong and you'll scare the crap out of 80% of Taiwan.

Then I look at the enforcement actions of the group writing the document and I wonder if the way this is being done is -actually- in the best interest of the community. I have great respect for the people involved, Eben Moglen is an Icon in Free Software, but his goals cannot be achieved if the requirements are seen by people we intend to include as simply an arbitrary stick the unlucky get hit with. And that's what it looks like now. Really.

The irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24720019)

Proponents of 'Copyleft' often criticise the patent system with reference to the responsibility the say it has to 'promote the arts and crafts'.

In what way does the prevention of selling code with free code built in as part of it 'promote the arts and crafts'? The availability of products on the market is undeniably smaller as a result.

Unless they argue that everyone who would otherwise be employed in a company is now instead producing the same products for free, which is a stretch.

For geeks by geeks (1)

ehack (115197) | more than 5 years ago | (#24720143)

GPL'ed software is notoriously by geeks for geeks. The original GPL was clear enough, as this document indicates things are getting confusing.

Re:For geeks by geeks (1)

ricegf (1059658) | more than 5 years ago | (#24722293)

The eeePC is "for geeks by geeks"? Firefox? OpenOffice.org? Android? TiVo? How exactly do you define "geek"?

WWOT... fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24720749)

4.1.2 Option (b) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24721163)

our source is available on request in the form of microfilm. we regret that our reasonable fee for providing this service costs more than the product itself. our code is copyrighted and you may not transfer our source to different media.

Some common things I see with GPL violations (2, Interesting)

jonwil (467024) | more than 5 years ago | (#24722729)

1.Companies who release software (usually embedded into a hardware device) and then claim "we are working on releasing the source code but its going to take time"

2.Build systems where one "master makefile" builds the entire project (usually with a "master config file" that selects which model you are building for, what features are turned off and on etc)

3.Companies who use a version of GCC and/or binutils that isn't publicly available and then dont release source code or binaries for that version, thus making it harder to recreate the binaries they are shipping (I wonder if creating a CPU with a new or altered instruction set, porting Linux to this CPU and then releasing kernel source but not GCC or binutils would be a GPL violation or not...)

4.Companies who release source code for one firmware revision and then dont release source code for other firmware revisions (*cough*Motorola Z6*cough*)

and 5.Companies who claim a need to "sanitize" GPL code before its released (this most likely includes removing any comments that reference internal intranet email addresses, web URLs, machine names, internal processes etc but may also include removal of pieces that are used only by or removal of comments/changing of code of pieces related to proprietary hardware so as not to release any more hardware details than they have to. Will likely also include removing anything embarrassing such as swear words)

MORE Useless ORDERS from The GNU CULT HQ (-1, Flamebait)

itsybitsy (149808) | more than 5 years ago | (#24722773)

More useless rules from the silly gnu cultists.

GNU does not equal FREEDOM as the license rules and the pdf document in the article testify.

From the article's PDF: "Political discussion about the GPL often centers around the "copyleft" requirements of the license. Indeed, the license was designed primarily to embody this licensing feature."

Finally acknowledgment from the horses mouth that GPL is a COMMUNIST leftist style CULT!

If you love freedom vote with your fingers, use BSD based software and other really free licenses (ISC, Apache, MIT, etc...) that provide real freedom from interference by the busy bodies in the GPL CULT and at Richard Stallman's cult headquarters, The Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC).

If you want to connect at the hip and submit to the COLLECTIVE of the GPL BORG COMMUNITY then fine, do that, but you may come to regret it especially if you put a lot of effort into your software development and value your livelihood.

7.1 covers an often-overlooked part of LGPL (2, Interesting)

fizzup (788545) | more than 5 years ago | (#24722871)

Section 7.1 of the article covers an often-overlooked part of the LGPL. If you include LGPL libraries as part of your application, the EULA must permit reverse engineering to debug the application if the end user modifies the library and uses the modified version, instead of the version that came with the software.

I suspect that there is a lot of software out there that includes LGPL libraries, but has a blanket "no reverse engineering" clause in the license agreement.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...