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Re: Bug#227159: ocaml: license conflict in Emacs Lisp support?

On Tue, 13 Jan 2004, Sven Luther wrote:
> And, were is the problem ? The GPL is especifically against
> distributing the result of the linking of GPLed code with
> uncompatible code.

No. The GPL restricts the creation of derivative works. Linking is
considered by the FSF to be a case of derivation, but it is certainly
not the only way that a derived work can be generated.

> It doesn't say anything against distributing GPLed and GPL
> incompatible but free code in the same tarball or package, as long
> as it is not linked together.

From §2:

     But when you distribute the same sections as part of a whole
     which is a work based on the Program, the distribution of the
     whole must be on the terms of this License,

As you can see, linking is not the metric used. Only derivation is.

> If that was not the case, then all our GPLed packages would have
> been undistributable, since at least the GPL document itself is
> clearly non-free.

No. The license itself is _not_ a work based on a GPLed
program. Therefore its aggregation with the work in question isn't at
issue. Furthermore, it's likely that licenses may not actually be
copyrightable... and regardless, licenses generally exist in a gray
area anyway, so they're not a particularly useful example.

> I don't know, i have the impression that the response i am getting
> here are not based on legal theory and reading and interpreting the
> licence, but on some pre-decision made because of that RMS quote.

The question is: Is the code a derivative work of Emacs? RMS seems to
believe that it is. As the FSF is the group in a position to prosecute
such a case, we generally will acquiese to their viewpoint unless you
present sound and convincing theory as to why the work should
reasonably be considered a work not derived from Emacs. Preferably by
engaging in a conversation with the FSF themselves and convincing them
of their error (if they are indeed wrong.)

> And what do you give as reason for why the change is needed ?

The change might actually be forced, rather than merely "needed".

> Anyway, i have looked at the files in question again, and of the 10
> or so emacs files, two are under the GPL (well, one is even under
> the GPL v1 or later), while 7 have no licence text and 1 only is
> QPLed, i will thus ask the ocaml-team about this, 

The 7 files without a license text need to be changed to have a
license, presumably GPL (or something else that is generally
considered to be GPL compatible.) The text that is QPLed should
probably be dual licensed QPL/GPL or just removed from the upstream
distribution entirely when you package it for Debian.

Don Armstrong

"...Yet terrible as UNIX addiction is, there are worse fates. If UNIX
is the heroin of operating systems, then VMS is barbiturate addiction, the
Mac is MDMA, and MS-DOS is sniffing glue. (Windows is filling your sinuses
with lucite and letting it set.) You owe the Oracle a twelve-step program."
 --The Usenet Oracle


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