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Re: GPL v LGPL for libraries

On Wed, Dec 16, 1998 at 06:02:44PM -0800, Chris Waters wrote:
> Hamish Moffatt wrote:
> > Let's say a commercial application runs on proprietary Unix platform Y,
> > and uses library Z, supplied with Y. On a system like Debian, if our
> > equivalent to Z is LGPLed, then the commercial app will be fine.
> If a free library is designed to be a drop-in replacement for an
> existing, proprietary library then I think a good case can be made for
> using LGPL for that library.  But that is a small percentage of
> libraries.  Other libraries offering new features have no reason not to
> be GPL'd.  In fact, at the last SVLUG meeting, RMS argued eloquently
> that such libraries SHOULD be GPL'd rather than LGPL'd.
> > If Z' is GPL, then the commercial app can't be ported to Linux.
> Unless the commercial app is GPL'd.  Are you avoiding the term
> "proprietary app" for a reason?  Like, you think people won't respond as
> favorably if you admit that you're talking about proprietary apps?

It's not just proprietary apps that are disadvantaged (there you go,
I used thed the term). You can't write a BSD or Artistic license app
and link it to a GPL library either. And our DFSG says that those licenses
are just as free as GPL.

> Well, yes, that's true.  OTOH, if it's a proprietary app, it's really
> not of much concern to Debian, is it?  Debian is about free software,
> last I checked.

I thought we tried to support our users in whatever they want to do?

> Second of all, it assumes that the availability of proprietary
> applications is an advantage to the user.  I think this is a highly
> debatable point.  I agree that there are cases where it happens to be
> true at present, but I consider this a bug ( :-) )  and work is underway

Fine, but I prefer to be a bit more realistic. There's a bunch of
software around which isn't going to become DFSG-free any time soon
(or GPL, in this particular case); until then ... ?

> to fix the problem in most cases.  *I'm* not losing out by not having
> proprietary apps, because, for the most part, I wouldn't run them even
> if they *were* available.

I use software on a daily basis in my work that doesn't have free replicas.
There's certainly work afoot to create them, but they're nowhere near
being there yet (and nobody thinks otherwise).

Hamish Moffatt VK3TYD              hamish@debian.org, hamish@rising.com.au
Latest Debian packages at ftp://ftp.rising.com.au/pub/hamish. PGP#EFA6B9D5
CCs of replies from mailing lists are welcome.   http://hamish.home.ml.org

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