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Re: a better copyleft licence

On Mon, 2 Oct 2000, Edmund GRIMLEY EVANS wrote:

> Jeffry Smith <smith@mclinux.com>:
> > If someone wants to distribute a proprietary module, let them
> > distribute it separately, and tell the user that it's there
> > responsibility to link it.  Yes, it's a pain on the users, but if you
> > don't like it, use the GPL.
> I sometimes think the GPL might be equivalent to the LGPL modulo
> inconvenience, but I'm not sure about it.
> For example, if you want to distribute a GPL library with a non-GPL
> program, or vice versa, just distribute the non-GPL part on CD with an
> installation script that downloads the GPL part from some publicly
> advertised web server.
> I think the FSF would strongly disapprove of you doing this, but I
> suspect that you could win in court. However, it's not clear, and I
> can see arguments on both sides.

tough call, as is the installation script doing "distribution" or not?
I can believe the FSF would disapprove, but again, since the GPL
covers distribution, not use, nothing prevents a user from doing the
linking.  And, at minimum, it's enough of a pain that the user (and
developer) would hopefully say "I want the full GPL, no hassles"

> What I was trying to do with my extra clause (in the message that
> started this thread) is allow this sort of linking of GPL and non-GPL
> components without giving up entirely the viral property of the GPL.

Since the "viral" property of the GPL is it's main reason (i.e. you
must release code containing GPL'd software under a license that at
least grants the same rights as GPL), I suspect you won't get a
change.  However, the LGPL was designed for situations that you're

Remember also that you can link non-GPL code with fewer restrictions
into GPL code, and release the collective work under GPL (i.e. X
license code can be incorporated into GPL programs).

> If the FSF would sue someone for doing what I describe above and lose
> the case, then I wouldn't need my extra clause; I could just use the
> GPL itself.
> (Of course, when 95% of the world's software is free, then we can
> switch to a licence even stronger than the GPL, one that bans anyone
> from using the Program if anyone connected with them has at any time
> had any contact with non-free software ... :-)
> Edmund

Jeffry Smith      Technical Sales Consultant     Mission Critical Linux
smith@missioncriticallinux.com   phone:603.930.9739   fax:978.446.9470
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