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Re: BSD license, core libraries, and NetBSD

On Tue, Oct 15, 2002 at 07:05:27PM +0100, Matthew Garrett wrote:

> >The system-library exception expressly only applies "unless that
> >component accompanies the executable". Traditionally we hold it to
> >count as "accompanying" when the library as well as the GPL'ed stuff
> >appears in Debian's main archive. I've argued that this is the
> >interpretation that is most likely to fit RMS's intentions with the
> >GPL.

> This interpretation does seem to have the side effect of rendering
> NetBSD's distribution of gcc (for instance), uhm, interesting. Has
> anyone actually asked RMS what his intention here was?

> (And does it suddenly become legal if we distribute a bootstrap install
> which contains no GPLed software from somewhere else and then provide
> the rest of userland from debian.org? This seems a little, uhm, bizarre)

Would you agree that it's more inconvenient to have to distribute the
NetBSD port from two different networks, and burn two different CDs to
get even a minimal install set?  In this sense, it doesn't seem bizarre
at all to me: that sort of inconvenience is just what RMS hopes to impose
on vendors of proprietary software who try to leverage GPL works.  The
fact that vendors of incompatibly-licensed BSD code are caught in the
crossfire is unfortunate, but I think it's quite unavoidable given the
GPL's premise.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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