[erlang-questions] [ANN] Erlang UUID

james james@REDACTED
Sun Mar 11 05:07:56 CET 2012

 >I guess we will just agree to disagree on this.

What is there to 'agree to disagree' about?

It is entirely clear that you can sell GPL code.  You just have to give 
the sources to your customers, and you can't stop any of your customers 
from giving away (or selling) either modified or unmodified forms.

In practice you are arguably right - you need to add value through 
services.  But what you said is simply incorrect.

I suspect I agree with you in terms of how practical GPL code is and I 
hardly ever use a GPL library (and hence would never contribute to one). 
  But your statement is, nevertheless, plainy wrong as it stands.

I suspect that in practice there ARE ways around it.  It does appear to 
me (and no I'm not a lwayer), for example, that you can combine GPL and 
non-GPL code and run it for your own use.  The 'problem' occurs when you 
give someone else a compiled binary that includes both - then you are 
obligated to give them your sources under GPL.  Remember that GPL is a 
copyright licence.  It applies when there is copying.

But if you sell them your sources under non-GPL, and they combine with 
GPL components for their own use (and do not distribute the resut: doing 
so would be in violation of GPL or your terms) then it is certainly 
unclear whether there is any problem at all.

Certainly, my reading is that the GPL gives rights to a person (or 
entity) that you copy the code to in some form.  But I don't think it 
gives rights to someone else that you didn't copy the code to 
(including, for example, the author of the GPL code or some interested 
third party).

Has to be said, I have argued with GPL code authors about local 
combination and running.  One claimed that the act of linking and then 
running the code in the computer was a form of copying, and that my code 
would become GPL'd.  But I think the licence says that I have to give a 
copy of my code to the recipient of the copy of the GPL'd code; and not 
anyone else.  Also, I can relicence back to non-GPL at will (on code I 
own).  So its not at all clear that the fact that there was a version of 
my code that the computer ran under GPL is actually an issue, because 
the computer isn't an entity that can receive the right to further 
distribute the code that it ran.  And no-one else has received a right 
to demand a copy of the code I copied to the coputer - *it* didn't copy 
it to *them* after all.

I think the GPL is rather poor.  Too many terms are woolly, and I'm not 
sure that the apparent objectives are met by mere copyright (ie by 
copying, rather than by usage).  Certainly some people using it seem to 
want to impact on usage, and that alone suggests a problem.

Its also not clear who I can demand the sources from for GPL code on the 
DVD coverdisk on a Linux fan-mag that I buy in a newsagent.  The 
newsagent - a corner store maybe, or a general chain?  The distribution 
chain? The DVD duplication company? The magazine publisher?

None of these businesses is generally capable of fulfilling an 
obligation to provide the sources in the mandated 'preferred form' 
unless its all on the disk already; and yet it is arguably in no-one's 
interest that they actually be accountable (well, certainly not Mr Singh 
the cornershop newsagent that stocks a magazine I want to buy - I like 
being able to pick these things up on spec).


More information about the erlang-questions mailing list