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Re: Free Software Clarification

Greg Vence <gvence@bsat.com> writes:

> I believe that GPL prevents _any_ derived work from being commercial. 
> LGPL does the same except that commercial applications may link to them.
> (ie compile using its header).  I'm fairly certain that GPL applies to
> the author as well as others.  Does someone else know more?  
> I haven't read anything in the GPL about this exception.  The reason is
> that anyone can modify the GPL source and redistribute it.  GPL seems to
> be a "once saved always saved" program. :)  

This isn't an exception to the GPL, it's part of the nature of how the 
author gets the original.

The author did not receive the software under the GPL.  The author has
the right to do _anything_ with the software (well, for fifty years
after his death (in the US), seventy years after his death in most of
Europe - after that, he can't restrict what people do with it in any
way.  But he's been long dead by that time, so I doubt he cares.)

The "once saved always saved" bit means that the GPLed copy of the
software will always be free.  However, the author can re-license his
copy in any other way he wants.  He can even sell the commercial
rights to Microsoft, if he wants.  What he can't do, after releasing
under the GPL, is forbid people from re-distributing the GPLed
version.  That is, he can't try to squash the freely available version 
and stop other people's ftp sites from distributing it once he decides 
to sell the commercial version.  He can make many improvements to the
commercial version, and publicly point out to people that the
commercial version is better and they might want to decide to pay for
it, so long as he doesn't do that as part of the license of the free
version.  Aladdin does this with ghostscript - old versions are GPLed,
but if you want the most up-to-date version you need to get the
non-free version.

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