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Subject: Re: [OMPI devel] Fwd: RFC: proposed GPLv3 license exception draft
From: Ralf Wildenhues (Ralf.Wildenhues_at_[hidden])
Date: 2009-04-25 14:48:36


Hello Ralph,

* Ralph Castain wrote on Sat, Apr 25, 2009 at 05:09:01PM CEST:
> Just to be clear, Ralf - I'm not advocating that we change build
> systems. I agree it has been a good relationship, and your participation
> has been welcome and extremely helpful.

Understood; and thanks!

> My point was only that the GPL continues to evolve and seems to be
> growing more aggressive in its "viral" clauses, which makes it harder to
> work with those packages without getting "assimilated", as the Borg
> would say.

(The following is of course my sole opinion only.)

Well, of course I cannot tell you how to view or judge the evolution of
the GPL either; and I understand that the anti-tivoization clause in
GPLv3 is one of the developments you seem to be hinting at. I don't
claim that to be different from how you see it. Of course, the FSF
would formulate that differently: they saw a "subversion" of the GPLv2
in intent if not in the letter of the license. So they closed that
loophole.

However, with respect to the exception clauses that have been written
for GCC, and are being written for Autoconf, at least the *intent* has
not been to become any more "viral" than before at all. For example,
the GCC Exception, as far as I understand it, has opened up the way to
write plugins for GCC; something, which the FSF did not want to allow
to happen at all with the GPLv2 Exception.

With the current Autoconf draft Exception, there are two goals: one, to
merely reformulate the current GPLv2 Exception in terms of GPLv3 Section
"7. Additional Terms", which has formalized the whole exception business
a bit. Second, to address in some way the apparent loophole that one
could take the whole of Autoconf and clone it by the construction that
I have mentioned before. Note that this "loophole" is something the
lawyers considered possible from reading the text of the old GPLv2
Exception, but it would pretty clearly already have been against the
intent of that old Exception (i.e., the loophole would be considered
a hack by any means).

To be honest, I don't see the tendency to get "more viral", rather, the
desire to clarify things where intention and letter of licenses differ.
I must admit though, that the newer license texts are longer, more
complicated, and may be intimidating on that basis along, which should
be taken into account, too.

Cheers,
Ralf