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Re: [PHP4BETA] License concerns

On Tue, 20 Jul 1999, Zeev Suraski wrote:

> At 07:38 PM 7/20/99 +0200, Gergely Madarasz wrote:
> >On Tue, 20 Jul 1999, Zeev Suraski wrote:
> >
> > > At 05:37 PM 7/20/99 +0200, Sascha Schumann wrote:
> > > >There are some concerns expressed in the slashdot discussion
> > > >forum about the new license scheme.
> > > >
> > > >One AC writes
> > > >
> > > >---------------------------------------------------------------
> > > >I'm using PHP3 (and liking it very much), and some of the new
> > > >PHP4 OO features sound very nice and really useful. But unless
> > > >PHP4 may also be used under the terms of the traditional GNU GPL,
> > > >I can no longer use GDBM with PHP (which I also do a lot).
> > > >---------------------------------------------------------------
> > > >
> > > >GDBM is licensed under GPL, so it might be the case that linking
> > > >with non-GPL code (such as PHP4) is prohibited (that's what the
> > > >LGPL license is for).
> > > >
> > > >Which other extensions libraries are licensed under GPL?
> > >
> > > Hmm, I think that's completely baseless.  Cygnus's GNU stuff doesn't link
> > > at runtime with KERNEL32.DLL?  KERNEL32.DLL isn't opensource and 
> > definitely
> > > isn't GPL'd.
> >
> >GPL makes exception for system libraries.
> That's not the issue at all.

You gave an example of GPL stuff linked against proprietary libraries,
saying GPL allows linking against proprietary code. I said, no, this
is an exception in GPL since it is a system library. Anyway, as you said,
this is not the issue at all :)

> We're not, and never have distributed GDBM.  We have distributed other GNU 
> software with PHP 3.0, and we no longer do it with PHP 4.0, but instead 
> point people at separate packages.

I've never said that anything you distribute with PHP4 is problematic due
to copyrights and licenses. I'm just saying that this license of PHP4
unfortunatelly prevents wider full-featured software distribution, like
Debian :(  
And note, I'm not arguing that you've chosen a bad licence, I'm just
explaining that it has some issues regarding wider distribution.

> What you're saying is that you may not use GPL'd software in conjunction 
> with non GPL software, from a user's standpoint.  That's completely absurd 
> in my opinion.  The user may not link GPL'd software with non GPL'd 
> software at his own discretion?

No, I'm saying that you may not distribute GPL'd software in conjuction
with software with license which conflicts with the GPL. This is not a
problem from the users standpoint, this is a problem from a distributors
standpoint. It means that for example Debian can't distribute php linked
against a GPL library. 

> I can think of many examples that prove you're wrong here.  For example, 
> MySQL, that isn't GPL'd, makes use of the readline library which is 
> GPL'd.  It's not a system library either.  I'm sure you can find plenty of 

I don't want to dig into this in this thread, because I smell copyright
violation here. Do I see it correctly that TCX distributes mysql WITH
libreadline in the source? Please don't CC the php4beta list if you answer
to this question, it really doesn't belong there.

> other examples;  The key issue with GPLd software is that you may not embed 
> it within non GPL'd software you're distributing;  It doesn't mean your 
> software can't be compatible with it and optionally support it.

Once more: this is not a problem from the authors or users point of view,
it is a problem from the distributors point of view. 

Btw in case of PHP it is not that much of a problem, it just needs some
other db backend, so gdbm support it can really be left out, it'll just
make the transition a bit problematic for users of the dbm module in php,
involving the conversion of their databases (again, think of Debian).

> > > That post made no sense at all to me.  I'm not blaming that guy, since
> > > understanding OS licenses is really difficult, but all the same, I'm 
> > pretty
> > > sure he's wrong.
> > >
> > > He can link GDBM with PHP just as he can link the BC math library and any
> > > other GPL'd software just fine;  The only thing *we* can't do is 
> > distribute
> > > PHP with those packages bundled.  That has nothing to do with Zend's 
> > QPL by
> > > the way, it's like that because PHP itself is no longer GPL'd.
> >
> >That means that it won't be possible to include PHP4 in linux
> >distributions, like Debian. Or at least, not linked against gdbm. Actually
> >that isn't that bad, I wanted to get rid of this gdbm dependency in the
> >.debs for quite a while since it is deprecated :) But this doesn't make it
> >a non-issue.
> The QPL is Debian and opensource.org compliant.  The PHP license is roughly 
> as non-restrictive as you can get, thus, I see no reason for any of the 
> Linux vendors to raise any concerns about it.~~

A license which is opensource compliant does not make it GPL compatible,
so it may be still illegal to distribute linked against GPL libraries
(this is what LGPL is for).

> The clause that allows the PHP Group to change the license as long as it 
> stays open source is necessary, and no, it's not retroactive (it can't be, 
> really).  It's necessary because otherwise, it would mean that we would 
> have to go and ask every single person who've contributed a single line of 
> code to the PHP repository every time we want to make even the slightest 
> modification.  Essentially, what this clause means is that the power to 
> control license changes is centralized at the PHP Group, instead of being 
> spread across dozens of developers.

That is no longer a problem since you, Rasmus and Jim explained it (and
after a bit of rewording (which is allowed by the licence itself :)) it
won't be abiguous).


Ps. uh, I'm not used to writing so much in English ... anyway, I don't
want to fight you, I just want to provide a different point of view :)

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