Misunderstanding GPL's terms and conditions as restrictions

Les Mikesell lesmikesell at gmail.com
Wed Jul 30 17:12:39 UTC 2008

Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> On Jul 29, 2008, Les Mikesell <lesmikesell at gmail.com> wrote:
>> No, RSAREF couldn't have been modified.  It had restricted
>> distribution and everyone had to get their own copy.
> http://groups.google.com/group/gnu.misc.discuss/browse_thread/thread/ecc4d4ff360019e/b3dbb6f89144b706?lnk=st&q=gnu.misc.discuss+ripem#b3dbb6f89144b706
> http://www.nic.funet.fi/index/crypt/cryptography/rpem/ripem/
> http://www.nic.funet.fi/index/crypt/cryptography/rpem/ripem/README
> http://www.nic.funet.fi/index/crypt/cryptography/rpem/ripem/rsaref/
> There is indeed a lot of conflicting information out there, and the
> files above are older than the discussion, but the point stands that
> some piece of software could only be distributed under the GPL, and by
> people who had accepted a patent license that prevented them from
> doing just that, regardless of any copyright license
> incompatibilities.

The origin of fgmp should be when the discussion was resolved, probably 
1993'ish.  And the point was, and is, that the GPL makes really free 
software distribution difficult or impossible even when source is 
available for everything.  Note that it was Stallman himself leading the 
charge against this free distribution, and probably against the wishes 
of the gmp author(s) if that wasn't him.  Later the license on the gmp 
library  was changed to lgpl.  I assume someone learned about the 
harmful effect of the gpl from this experience and chose to reduce it, 
but even so, there are still reasons that force others to duplicate the 

   Les Mikesell
    lesmikesell at gmail.com

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