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SubjectRe: Linus Speaks About KDE-Bashing

Here's the counterexample:

A group of free software hardcores writes 'FreeWord'. We release this very
nice word processor under the GPL. It's so good that M$ wants to use it.
But the GPL prevents them from propritaryising it, or so we thought:

Microsoft makes a copy of FreeWord called M$freeword. Then they port it
to windows. Then they start adding functions like read_M$_worddoc(),
decrypt_propritary_M$_fileformats(), play_well_with_other_M$apps(),
descease_random_crash_freq(), enhance_FW_GUI() to their standard windows
libs. These functions are designed to 'enhance' FreeWord, they are closed
source and propritary. They are only distributed with the $199 Win '99
upgrade. They may not be copied or modified.

Then they sell copies of FreeWord for $100, and on the CD they include
their modified sources. Their modifications mostly consist of calls to
those above functions. Although it is under the GPL, it is useless without
the '99 upgrade. All of their enhancements are propritary, and the only
advantage that the GPL had here over a BSD licence is that it made it a
bit tougher. The GPL is supposted to prevent embrace and extend. If we
allow 'system libs' then this can be circumvented.

Furthermore, the wording of the current GPL could doublely affect the
Linux Kernel: One could argue that *ANYTHING* linked into the kernel is a
system libary. And any bozo w/ a cd burner could call himself a
distribution maker.

On Sun, 12 Jul 1998, Tim Smith wrote:

> At 04:47 PM 7/12/98 +0100, Alan Cox wrote:
> >They are using it to prevent a free software project becoming dependant
> >on a non free product that they can't modify and isnt free. Their
> >argument is precisely identical to the case where I produce a binary
> >only module the kernel depends on for functionality - say the networking
> >and say "its ok, its not being charged for - look at KDE you said that
> >was ok".
> [NOTE: many of the messages in this thread are sent to several individuals
> and three mailing lists. I've been deleting the individuals, except
> sometimes for the person I'm directly responding to, and leaving all the
> lists. Is this the appropriate thing to do, or should I be sending to
> everyone the original was sent to?]
> 1. So what happens if I try to GPL a program I write for Windows NT? I end
> up with a free software project dependent on a non-free product that you
> can't modify and is not free. The GPL allows this, under the "major
> components of the OS" exception, so there is no doubt that I can *legally*
> do this. Are you saying it is *morally* wrong for me to do so, and the free
> software community should reject my program and get upset if I use other
> people's free software in my free project for NT? If not, how is KDE
> different? My project is free GPL'ed software that runs on any system that
> has the proprietary non-free Windows NT installed, and KDE is free GPL'ed
> software that runs on any system that has the proprietary non-free Qt
> library installed. (Remember, I'm asking about a moral difference, not a
> legal difference, so let's not get into the issue of shared linking vs.
> static linking, and things like that).
> 2. As far as I've been able to tell, I can legally make binary-only kernel
> modules and distribute them. It would annoy Linus, and so if I end up using
> Linux in the embedded system I might be working on someday at work, I'll
> make sure all my proprietary changes are in an application, not a kernel
> module, but as far as I can tell from reading the licenses and taking
> copyright and contract law classes in law school, and talking to lawyers
> and law school professors, I'm doing it this way because I am a nice guy
> who doesn't want to piss off Linus. :-)
> --Tim Smith
> -
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