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Re: GPL vs. LGPL

I'll only address a few points.  Sorry about that.  I'll let others more
knowledgeable handle the rest.

Bill Moseley <moseley@hank.org> wrote:

> I'm an upstream developer for swish-e.  I'm trying to get some help in
> understanding GPL vs.  LGPL, and in plain language.
> Swish-e is currently under GPL.  I've been asking around and there seems
> to be debate about if using swish-e (a GPL program) in a proprietary
> product would force the proprietary code into GPL, or if not force into
> GPL, at least force their code into Open Source.
> I think it's hard to define when something is a "a work based on the
> Program" vs. "mere aggregation", which seems like an important, yet hard
> to define point.

Absolutely, this is really where the questions lies.  The LGPL lets
redistributors link proprietary code to a library, but the library
itself remains free,  e.g. consider it as a separate entity.

> Here's where I'm coming from:
> Swish-e is a search engine.  A common use would be for someone to use
> swish-e to index and search their documentation.  Most people write a
> CGI front-end script to use with Swish-e, or use the provided example
> Perl CGI script that's included in the Swish-e package.
> Therefore, in such a use I do not see it as a separate entity so that
> use would be fine for me even if the main program was proprietary.
> In a nutshell, I don't mind anyone using swish-e as long as they:
> a) say they are using it (and where they got it) and include the license
> b) don't claim it as their own work
> c) make any bug fixes and feature additions available back to the
> swish-e project an users

Your wants remind me a bit of the so-called GPL V3.  :-(

First, the GPL imposes limitations (and provides rights) on
distribution, but it does not concern use.  You can't really limit how
people use it.  I'm not use you can force people to say they are using
it.  Maybe the swish output could include a copyright string, but I
don't think the user's frontend can be prohibited from removing it.
Imagine if LaTeX printed an unremovable copyright statetement on every
output page.

The same about your point (c).  If a user makes improvements, uses them
himself but does not redistribute them, I don't think you can force the
distribution of these modifications back to you or other users.

The problem is that the license deals with the code itself and its
redistribuation.  It doesn't deal with the _output_ from the code.

Hope this helps, but I'm sure it's not what you want to hear.


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