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What is confusing? (was Re: DRAFT: Email to RMS (take 2))

On Tue, Oct 15, 2002 at 05:19:50PM -0700, Jeremy C. Reed wrote:
> This is quite confusing, since FSF code itself is provided for using with
> non-GPL'd libraries.

Please read the GPL.

Especially the paragraph following paragraph c of section 3.

In essence: you're allowed to distribute GPLed code if it's linked
against proprietary code.  However, you've not allowed to distribute
that GPLed code with that proprietary code.  This doesn't affect people
who are only interested in distributing GPLed code.  It does create a
problem for people interested in distributing proprietary code who also
want to take advantage of the GPLed code.

Except there's no universally agreed on definition of "proprietary code",
so the GPL uses the concept of "imposes restrictions not imposed by
the GPL" instead.  Unfortunately, the old BSD advertising clause (in
jurisdictions where it's enforceable at all) is a restriction which is
not present in the GPL.

Since that advertising clause is almost never enforceable, it's usually
not too hard to get people holding bsd copyright on a piece of software
to agree that it's not a necessary part of the license.


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