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Re: License with the following characteristics?



On Sun, Mar 30, 2003 at 10:46:02PM -0500, Nathanael Nerode wrote:
> I want my program (and any derivative works) to be allowed to use 
> *accurately documented and published* interfaces to proprietary 
> (or any other) libraries or programs.  Dynamic linking should be allowed
> in this situation, as should RPC, pipes, etc. etc.  (The interface 
> should allow for free implementations of it, although they don't need 
> to actually exist at the time.  Its documentation doesn't need to be 
> written by anyone in particular; it could have been reverse-engineered,
> even.)
> 
> I *don't* want to allow a derivative of my program to be linked with a 
> proprietary program through secret, undocumented, or unpublished 
> interfaces.
> 
> Is there a good licence to put on my program which will clearly allow 
> exactly this?  Can it be done with GPL-plus-exceptions?

I wouldn't bet on it. I think that a good lawyer could concoct a case
with a chance of winning, based on feeding invalid arguments to
exported functions, and thusly mucking around inside the
library. Since you probably can't affort to fight it, they win by
default.

And that's not even beginning to consider the cases involving dynamic
modification of the code, weak symbols, and similar methods for
fudging in changes and accessing data.

There are reasons why the GPL considers dynamic linking like it
does. This is a can of worms.

-- 
  .''`.  ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
 : :' :  http://www.debian.org/ | Dept. of Computing,
 `. `'                          | Imperial College,
   `-             -><-          | London, UK

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