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Re: dual licensing (was: Re: [no subject])

There's no policy requiring real names on Debian lists, but it should be
noted that you'll be taken less seriously by many people if you don't.
(My impression is "he doesn't trust what he says enough to even attach
his name to it?".)  Just FYI.

On Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 01:38:21PM -0800, Arc wrote:
> By licensing software under the GPL, the author has made a written offer to 
> provide the source code, and if they later refuse to provide the source code, 
> it's quite conceivable that a lawyer could force them to in court.

No, he hasn't.  He has said "you have permission to do A and B provided
you do C"; nothing in the GPL says "I, the author, will do the same",
or even "I promise to make it possible for you to do C".  For example, the
copyright holder of a GPL-licensed work can distribute binaries statically
linked against GPL-incompatible libraries, such as BSD-with-OAC, but nobody
else can.

What you claim might be more plausible if the licensee paid money for his
license.  It's reasonable that if I agree to let you use my pool for $50,
and then put a lock on my fence (you can use it, but you can't get in!
Sucker!), you could enforce that contract against me--but you've given me
nothing for your license under the GPL.

> After all, a license is a form of a contract, and the GPL grants rights to the 
> source code, so it's pretty clear to even a layman.

Whether the GPL is a contract is a widely debated topic (and I promise that
if you open that discussion, it'll subvert the thread entirely), but the GPL
makes no promises from the licensor to the licensee--except, perhaps, "I
won't sue you if you follow these rules".

> If you want a more definite answer, email Eben Moglen <moglen@columbia.edu>

You're free to invite whoever you wish to the discussion, but please don't
ask me to do it for you.  (As one of your premeses is that the GPL is a
contract, and Eben Moglen's public position, last I heard[1], was that the
GPL is not a contract, I doubt he'd agree with your conclusion.)

[1] http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/enforcing-gpl.html "Licenses are not contracts".

Glenn Maynard

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