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Re: license opinion sought

On Sat, Jul 06, 2002 at 10:19:05AM +0100, David Matthews wrote:
> That's basically it.  The intention is to balance two, potentially 
> conflicting, requirements.
> 1.  To enable commercial organisations to develop applications using 
> Poly/ML and to distribute them subject to their own licence terms and 
> charge for them.  It's often the case that these applications come in 
> the form of libraries and include access to the Poly/ML compiler.
> 2.  To ensure that enhancements to Poly/ML itself, such as ports to new 
> hardware/operating systems, improved garbage collection or access to new 
> operating system features are made available to everyone and not 
> regarded as one company's intellectual property.

The LGPL or the GPL with a linking exception does both of these, without
the problems associated with a custom license.

The only difference is that people are only required to distribute
changes to people they distribute binaries to--which, in practice, is
all that's practical.

For example, I might want to download the source, make a small fix for
someone else, send them the fixed source and delete it.  I can't do
that here, because I have to keep the source around; forever, as far as
I can tell.  Even if there's a time frame defined, which there doesn't
seem to be, I don't want to keep source around for years.  The GPL only
makes me keep source around as an option (3b).

> To do this the licence distinguishes modifications which require access
> to the existing source code from code written in ML.  Doing this in a

Code compiled with your compiler isn't under your copyright.


> I'm happy to see Poly/ML widely distributed and used so if that can be 
> done subject to the existing licence then that would be fine.  I'm not 
> in a position to change the existing licence but if I can help in any 
> other way then please let me know.

Well, if the license is set in stone, there's not much that can be done.

It might help to know why you can't change the license, however.  If the
problem is a matter of companies using the license for their own applications
not wanting to change, you could dual license the code with the GPL with
a linking exception, which wouldn't affect them.  You'd only need to get
it cleared with contributors to the compiler and libraries that are
packaged with it.

Glenn Maynard

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