Re: Bug#189164: libdbd-mysql-perl uses GPL lib, may be used by GPL-incompatible apps
On Friday, May 23, 2003, at 03:30 PM, Brian T. Sniffen wrote:
their authors licensed them in ways that forbid linking with
non-GPL-compatible software, such as OpenSSL, that sounds reasonable
Well, at least you're consistent ;-)
Wait. Isn't dpkg under the GPL? Now everything on the entire system
has to be under the GPL, because you can't even get it installed
the use of dpkg.
I don't see how a program which merely happened to be installed using
dpkg can be said to be a derivative work of dpkg,
Well, he is going a little far. But certainly the postinst, preinst,
postrm, etc. files would have to be, as Debian distributes them in such
a way to force dpkg to link them (by executing them). That would mean
that everything used in those scripts has to be GPL-compatible.
All of those --
TCP, HTTP, and DEB -- are generic formats.
.deb isn't. There is, AFAIK, only one implementation.
BTW: If the documentation in the policy manual makes it a standard, why
doesn't the documentation in the GNU grep manpage, info page, etc. make
it a standard, too?
in his creation, is intentionally deriving creative ideas from the
author of a previous work, his work is derivative.
The only thing I'm deriving from in, e.g., grep is, if anything:
1) its command line interface
2) its functionality
In Lotus Development Corp. v. Borland International, Inc., the court
held that a menu structure is method of operation. Methods of operation
are, by statute, not copyrightable. To quote the decision:
We think that "method of operation," as that term is used
in 102(b), refers to the means by which a person operates
something, whether it be a car, a food processor, or a
We hold that the Lotus menu command hierarchy is an
uncopyrightable "method of operation." The Lotus menu
command hierarchy provides the means by which users control
and operate Lotus 1-2-3. .... Users must use the command
terms to tell the computer what to do. Without the menu
command hierarchy, users would not be able to access and
control, or indeed make use of, Lotus 1-2-3's functional
The Lotus menu command hierarchy does not merely explain
and present Lotus 1-2-3's functional capabilities to the
user; it also serves as the method by which the program
is operated and controlled.
I think its clear that the logic applies at least as much to a command
line interface. Indeed, the court even says "If specific words are
essential to operating something, then they are part of a 'method of
operation' and, as such, are unprotectable. This is so whether they
must be highlighted, typed in, or even spoken, as computer programs no
doubt will soon be controlled by spoken words." Note that the court
did not say that it was copyright infringement but fair use. Instead,
it said that menu command hierarchies are not copyrightable. So no use
--- programatic or otherwise --- can infringe the copyright, as there
is no copyright. Thus, it can't be (1) above.
As for (2), Title 17 USC Sec. 102(b) seems to fairly clearly say that
can't be protected by copyright, either:
In no case does copyright protection for an original work of
authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system,
method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery,
regardless of the form in which it is described, explained,
illustrated, or embodied in such work
In other words, what grep does can't be protected by copyright. Only
the expression can be. So I can't be creating a derivative work of what
 IMO, this is a potential reason for that anti-spam haiku to fail if
seriously challenged in court if mass adoption occurs.