[svlug] SW Licensing was:(RANT: Ubuntu is Evil)

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Jan 19 01:39:52 PST 2010

Quoting Chris Miller (lordsauronthegreat at gmail.com):

> Even then you're still required to provide a copy of the [L]GPL with
> the application, and means of obtaining the library.

...for which you may charge to recoup the cost.   For three years.
Correct.  Are you back to complaining about not liking the terms under
which other people allow you to use their property without charge?
Remember, you are welcome to offer them money for an instance under
terms you prefer.  Or do you think they're somehow obliged to work for
you for free?

> As in the case of the LGPL, if you use an LGPL library, you cannot
> make it such that your application will fail if an
> interface-compatible version of the library is substituted by the
> user.

Ah, fsck.  Now, you've persuaded me to actually wasting my time reading
LGPL version 3 and LGPL version 2 text -- and I really hate reading that
damned thing.  

I'm _guessing_ -- since you didn't bother to cite what specifically
you're talking about -- that you are (very inaccurately) attempting to
rephrase LGPLv3's clause 4(d)(1);

   4. Combined Works.
   You may convey a Combined Work under terms of your choice that, taken
   together, effectively do not restrict modification of the portions of
   the Library contained in the Combined Work and reverse engineering for
   debugging such modifications, if you also do each of the following:
   (d) Do one of the following:
   (0) Convey the Minimal Corresponding Source under the terms of this
       License, and the Corresponding Application Code in a form suitable for,
      and under terms that permit, the user to recombine or relink the
      Application with a modified version of the Linked Version to produce a
      modified Combined Work, in the manner specified by section 6 of the GNU
      GPL for conveying Corresponding Source.
    1) Use a suitable shared library mechanism for linking with the Library.
      A suitable mechanism is one that (a) uses at run time a copy of the
      Library already present on the user's computer system, and (b) will
      operate properly with a modified version of the Library that is
      interface-compatible with the Linked Version.

So, no.  You got it wrong.  Again.

> The FAQ appears to be wrong.

Notoriously so.

[CAI v. Altai and Gates Rubber decisions, plus a plain-English

> I fail to see where it addresses library compatibility....

Completely without significance.  

What it addresses is what actually matters, which is the key legal
question of what does, and what does not, constitute a derivative work
within the meaning of that term in copyright law.  You'll learn a lot
more that _actually matters_, from reading that material, than you would
from reading FSF's "GPL FAQ" all day long.

> though it is very interesting to see that "look and feel" copying is
> generally permissible 

That is not quite right.  What _is_ right is the question hinges on
whether an impermissibly large and extensive set of "expressive elements" 
were copied from the original work, including both literal and
non-literal copying.  That issue, and  the "filtration, abstraction, 
comparison" judicial test for non-literal copying, was the crux of CAI
v. Altai, you may realise.  (Expressive elements within a work, as
opposed to functional ones, are the only components eligible for
copyright coverage in the first place.)

> > Then, he's _really_ going to hate -=proprietary software=-.
> Kind of ironic, seeing as how he writes it.

Speaking of irony, you would seem to have somehow utterly ignored my
point:  The qualities you claim he would find so painful and troublesome
in reciprocally licensed code _pale_ in comparison to the degree to
which those and worse problems exist in proprietary code.

> Best idea I could come up with is using some kind of client-server
> model to lock people in to some kind of fee while letting the software
> remain free.

You really haven't done hardly any homework on open source business
models.  You might look over at OSI, for starters.  Sorry, no, I'm not
going to lead you by the nose.  Not my problem -- and I don't like your

> Funny how you put that, I was imagining a more Socratic approach: "Why
> did you pick the [L]GPL?"

Spoken like someone just out of college:  You want to assign strangers
_homework_ because (in essence) you want something from them.

Yeah, let us know how that works for you.

> Are you being facetious?

I'd say mildly sadistic would be a more accurate term.

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