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Re: Fedora philosophy (was ATI video comes out of the closet)



On Sun, 2007-09-09 at 09:56 -0700, Craig White wrote:
> On Sat, 2007-09-08 at 21:16 -0400, Matthew Saltzman wrote:
> > On Sat, 2007-09-08 at 16:09 -0700, Craig White wrote:
> > > On Sat, 2007-09-08 at 17:12 -0500, Les Mikesell wrote:
> > > > There is such a fundamental problem in general, in that the GPL 
> > > > restrictions prevent many useful combinations of things from being 
> > > > distributed even when all parties would like to give them away.  However 
> > > > in this case the specific problem is the lack of a stable and specified 
> > > > interface so a device driver can independently provide services for the 
> > > > kernel without either being considered a derivative or needing to 
> > > > revised every time the kernel is rebuilt.
> > > ----
> > > not really a problem for software where the source is available and much
> > > more of a problem for software that is distributed as binary only.
> > 
> > Oh, but it *is* a problem, even for open source.  I work on a project
> > licensed under the CPL.  That's open source too, but I can't distribute
> > prebuilt binaries of versions that link with GPL utility routines such
> > as getline().
> > 
> > You might suggest that I choose a different license, but it's not up to
> > me.
> > 
> > The really silly thing is, even the FSF doesn't think there's a major
> > philosophical difference.  The CPL has some restrictions regarding
> > patent licensing that the GPL doesn't.  The FSF description of the
> > incompatibility states that they don't think those restrictions are a
> > bad idea, but the do induce incompatibility.
> ----
> silly thing? surely not to those who have chosen this CPL license (and
> I'm not familiar with it).

The Common Public License is a certified Open-Source license
(http://www.opensource.org), an offshoot of the IBM Public License
devised by IBM so that non-IBM code could be released under the same
terms.  It's similar to the LGPL, but contains some requirements related
to patent licenses that the GPL/LGPL do not contain.  (As with anything
legal, that's an oversimplification, IANAL, etc., etc.)

This is the FSF's statement on compatibility
(http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/):


Common Public License Version 1.0
        
        This is a free software license but it is incompatible with the
        GPL.
        
        The Common Public License is incompatible with the GPL because
        it has various specific requirements that are not in the GPL.
        For example, it requires certain patent licenses be given that
        the GPL does not require. (We don't think those patent license
        requirements are inherently a bad idea, but nonetheless they are
        incompatible with the GNU GPL.)

So even though the FSF doesn't object in principle to the terms of the
CPL, we can't even link to GPL code.  I think that's unfortunate.  And
GPL code can't link with our code, which is too bad for some users who
would benefit from such a link.
        

> 
> there is obviously intent by the developers when they choose a
> particular license. Then of course, there are stories such as this which
> are clearly upsetting...
> http://ask.slashdot.org/firehose.pl?id=270361&op=view

That is upsetting, but has nothing to do with the present case.

> 
> I think that the objectives for the GPL license and well known and have
> been for quite some time.

And I don't want to have that discussion again.  But for developers who
use the GPL but aren't GPL fanatics, I would ask them to consider a
"FOSS exception" such as the one MySQL includes for the GPL version of
their software
(http://www.mysql.com/company/legal/licensing/foss-exception.html).


> 
> Craig
> 
> 
-- 
                Matthew Saltzman

Clemson University Math Sciences
mjs AT clemson DOT edu
http://www.math.clemson.edu/~mjs


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