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Re: Eclipse 3.0 Running ILLEGALY on Kaffe

Dalibor Topic <robilad@kaffe.org> writes:

> How Kaffe, the GPld interpreter, goes about loading GPLd parts of
> *itself* into memory, whether it uses JNI, KNI, dlopen, FFI, libtool,
> or other "bindings", or whether it asks the user to tilt switches on
> an array of light bulbs is irrelevant to the copyright law. The GPld
> interpreter still can't impose restrictions on its input or use. Just
> like a GPLd garbage collector going off in the background of my text
> editor when I'm composing a reply doesn't suddendly make this reply
> message GPLd.
> Now, before you go off ranting about Kaffe's native libraries, please
> take a moment to let the fact sink in that while these native
> libraries are the result of Kaffe developers being a somewhat clever
> bunch at developing software and having heard about benefits of
> seperating one's program into sepearte modules, those modules are
> nevertheless *a part of the interpreter*, and as the copyright law
> says, the GPLd interpreter can't impose restrictions on its
> input. They even get compiled in statically on Debian for debian's
> kaffe package.

Very nicely said.  This is exactly why it's legal to make and
distribute Eclipse and other free Java programs in the first place.

On the other hand, it's also exactly why it's problematic for Debian
to distribute an Eclipse which incorporates a copy of the GPL'd Kaffe.


Brian Sniffen                                       bts@alum.mit.edu

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