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Re: Recently released QPL

Jonathan P Tomer <phouchg@cif.rochester.edu> wrote:
> in a pathetic attempt to reign this flamewar in a bit, i'm going to offer
> a few (ok, realliy just one, but it's big ;p) simple, factual objections to
> the gpl, which knightbrd and i have both made at least twice, although the
> arguments have occasionally been lost in the midst of a sea of aspersions
> cast against rms/esr/whoever.

Keeping to the exact truth is a very good thing.

> the simple fact of the matter is, by some trick of wording,
> intentional or not, the "copyleft" or "viral" (depending on the
> author of the mail ;p) sections of the gpl offer as a reasonable
> interpretation (by reasonable i mean that it would have a decent
> chance of being upheld in a court of law over the less objectionable
> interpretation) that no non-gpl works may be used in conjunction with
> gpl code (for example by linking with a gpl'ed library, readline being
> the famous example). that covers even software that's dfsg-free,

As I'm sure you know, it's perfectly legal to combine GPL and X and BSD 
code into the same program.

However, what I believe you're pointing out is that: because the DFSG
doesn't provide exactly the same guidelines as the GPL, it's possible to
have DFSG code which can't be combined in the same program as the GPL.
[Then again, the same goes for other combinations of DFSG licenses.]

It's probably worth pointing out that DFSG was never intended to make
sure that all debian programs could be combined arbitrarily to create
new programs.  Otherwise there are some significant programs we'd have
to kick out of main.


> so i've spouted for over two pages on why the gnu general public
> license has a problem. if i saw someone else do that and not provide
> any kind of better solution, i would feel cheated. so here we go. a
> better copyleft license than the gpl would not prevent the code from
> being used by free software. 

Basically, I think you want to derive something with the transitive
["viral"] qualities of the GPL which still allows any DFSG code to
be combined with it.  But this can never work because, for example,
the DFSG does not prohibit a license from having a clause of the form:
No other licenses may be applied to this program.

So you'd have to derive a new DFSG as well, to make this work.

> ok, my fingers are very tired now, so i will leave you without a
> conclusion. if you've gotten this far, you are very patient, and i
> thank you. sensible comments that expose flaws in my reasoning will
> make me happy. flames and zealotry will result in additions to my
> killfile, and especially if they are thoughtlessly cc'd to the list.
> so don't do that, because i like my killfile short.

I hope that my comments make sense to you.



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