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Old 06-19-2008, 04:57 PM
"Horst H. von Brand"
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

Matthew Saltzman <mjs@clemson.edu> wrote:
> On Wed, 2008-06-18 at 19:33 -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> > On Jun 18, 2008, Matthew Saltzman <mjs@clemson.edu> wrote:

[...]

> > > Wait--Alexandre, are you saying that I could take a GPL library and,
> > > say, a CPL[1] library, write a program that links to both libraries to
> > > create new functionality and legally distribute source code or a
> > > statically or dynamically linked executable version of my program
> > > licensed under either the GPL or the CPL?

> > No. I'm just saying that it's not the GPL that prevents you from
> > distributing it. It's copyright law. The GPL merely refrains from
> > granting permission for you to do something that, without such
> > permission from copyright holders, you can't do in the first place.
>
> OK I see.
>
> Then can we at least agree that there are sometimes unfortunate
> consequences to the GPL's failure to permit one to share a work
> combining two pieces of *free* software because of relatively minor[1]
> license incompatibilities?

Sure.

> In fact, I think it's arguable that there are sometimes unfortunate
> consequences to the GPL's failure to permit one to share a work that
> makes use of a GPL library and a proprietary library. I understand some
> authors' desire not to permit that kind of sharing of their work, even
> if I don't necessarily agree with it. But I also think that there's
> lots of software released under the GPL by authors who don't think
> deeply about license issues and don't really understand the limits of
> what is permitted by the GPL.

Right. But to grant (or not) such permission is the copyright holder's
decision. And it is not up to us to second guess their "real" intention.
--
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Old 06-19-2008, 05:24 PM
"Horst H. von Brand"
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

Les Mikesell <lesmikesell@gmail.com> wrote:
> Alexandre Oliva wrote:

[...]

> >> With any other license, I could at least have done a diff against
> >> the original copies and my work and given that away

Nope. The diff is very clearly a work derived from the original (you just
can't cook up a difference to the original without the original; it doesn't
really matter if it is a diff or a sequence of ed(1) commands, or
instructions for a human to fix up the files). Creating such in the first
place needs permission from the copyright holder, distributing it even more
so.

> > As long as your original work is not a derived work. If it is, you
> > still need permission from the copyright holders of the original work,
> > to both create your derived work and to distribute the
> > collective/derived work.

> No one but the FSF claims that a patch is a derived work - or a
> separate component that links 2 others together but doesn't contain a
> copy of the others.

It isn't the FSF who claims that, they are just spelling out the relevant
legal situation.

> >> This doesn't happen with any license but the GPL.

> > Sorry, I don't know how you came to this conclusion, but it's
> > incorrect.
> > Try to create a derived work based on say Microsoft Windows or
> > Microsoft Word, if you happen to have them around, and to distribute
> > it, and see what happens.

> I'm not sure what you are talking about. It's a pretty safe bet that
> there is more code that relies on Microsoft libraries than anything
> else

So? It /uses/ the libraries in the way the relevant license spells out, and
you can the distribute what you build on them as said license allows. It
isn't taking pieces of said libraries and distributing modified versions of
them at all. Besides, you can get into hot water if you just ship your
program with some libraries (AFAIR, MSFT C (or perhaps some other language,
memory is a bit fuzzy) came with libraries that you had to get separate
"runtime licenses" for each user of a program developed with them).

> and Microsoft does not try to stop people from distributing it.
> If anything, they encourage it by making a lot of tools and libraries
> available.

That they elect not to stop distribution is their own choice, they could
choose otherwise. And they are claiming that running stuff using said
libraries on a non-MSFT operating system is infringing...

> >>> This would be a prohibition of the GPL.

> >> Yes, in case it wasn't clear before, the specific prohibition that I
> >> consider unethical is that it takes away my choice to share my own
> >> work.

> > It doesn't. Your own original work can't possibly be a derived work.

> Difference of opinion, I guess.

You guess wrong. If it is an original work of yours, it has absolutely no
relation to whatever other pieces.

> The FSF says otherwise and that if the
> resulting 'work as a whole' would be be a derived work, then the
> components, including my own work, can't be distributed unless all are
> restricted by the GPL.

Your own work, if it depends intimately on the original, is clearly a
derived work. And you need the owner's permission to create it in the first
place. If said owner grants that permission only under the condition that
your modifications have to be distributed under GPL...

> > It does not grant you permission to distribute joint works you created
> > by deriving works from others' works in certain ways, so the
> > prohibition from copyright law remains in place. See, you didn't have
> > that choice in the first place for the GPL to take away. That's the
> > fundamental point that you're missing.

> I'm not missing anything.

Here we go again...

> I have my copy of a library,

... because you were granted the right of having a copy by the owner of the
relevant rights, which you got under certain conditions. And presumably the
owner of said rights allows you to create programs that use the library,
but they very well could prohibit doing so. Not unheard of, in any case.

> you have your
> copy.

Ditto.

> Without the GPL, I can give you a copy of my original work that
> links to that library without imposing the GPL restrictions on it and
> any other related components.

OK, as long as you both respect the conditions under which you got the
library. I.e., if the conditions did include allowing you to create such
programs, and then distributing them.

> With the GPL, I can't.

Wrong, you can just as before.

> And the same
> applies even if we both have source and I have made a patch.

Using a library is one thing, taking its code and modifying it something
quite different; and distributing a copy of the original or a modified
version are yet again completely different. For each of those activities
you need separate permissions.
--
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Old 06-19-2008, 05:27 PM
Les Mikesell
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

Andrew Haley wrote:



It's not free the way the GPL redefines the word to mean restricted,
but it doesn't interfere with your freedom to distribute your
changes as patches, leaving it clear that it is something different
from the original author's work that he supports.


I think my meaning was clear. It's not free because you can't
distribute modified versions.


It means you've defined free to mean what GPL advocates pretend it means.


And no matter how much you try to
define it away, this basic fact will not change. Yes, you can supply
it with a bunch of patches, but you can't do the obvious thing and
check it in to a public source code control system and work on it
there, since that would mean sharing a modified version.


You can't generalize and say that can't be done, because the copyright
owner may grant such permission - or do the generally better thing and
coordinate the modifications himself. But note that you _can_
generalize and say that this is always impossible with any GPL covered
material when the modification you want to make involves adding
something that isn't GPL'd.



You can't
distribute a modified version as part of, for example, a Linux distro.


And you can't modify a Linux disto, for example, by adding zfs to the
kernel and distribute it.



It's not free in any sense, except free-as-in-beer.


And GPL-encumbered material isn't free in any sense except for the rare
dual-licensed things that cleverly avoid its entrapment. You are just
ignoring the restrictions.



but it is only in odd circumstances that it even matters or that
there is any effective difference. Even in GPL circles I think most
people agree that the best process is to coordinate modifications
into a single revision tree instead of forking wildly.


Sure, but that's a matter of free choice. That's what freedom means:
you can either fork the software yourself, or you can contribute to
the trunk. The choice is up to *you*. And anyone to whom you give
the software has that same choice, and you can't take that freedom
away from them.


Sorry, but freedom does _not_ mean being restricted from using
components together and forcing everyone else to follow that same
restriction.



There is the argument that if the author/maintainer stops
updating, the package can die.

Quite. And, indeed, that's the inevitable consequence.

It's not at all inevitable since the copyright holder can transfer
control at any time or might already be a foundation that will outlast
any possible use for the product.


Sure, or they might not choose to do so.


So don't claim it is inevitable one way or another. Those choices are
what freedom is about.



But, in technology everyone is better
off when an old package does die and is replaced by something new and
improved, and the harm of the GPL is that it's 'work as a whole'
requirement makes it difficult or impossible for these replacements to
happen at the component level when the currently best component isn't
encumbered by the GPL.


Eh? This makes no sense. It's certainly not justified by this
example, anyway.


If it takes a current concrete example to make sense, swapping out
reiserfs with zfs in the Linux kernel seems like a good idea. But we
can't do that because the kernel is too free.


--
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Old 06-19-2008, 05:50 PM
jeff
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

Anders Karlsson wrote:

* jeff <moe@blagblagblag.org> [20080618 17:50]:
[snip]

... more pages of hex


I personally downloaded this file believing that I was getting a free GPL
driver. Broadcom says so in the patch itself, in the included LICENSE
file, and their website when you click to download it. Red Hat is
shipping it as GPLv2. So either they have to provide the source (if they
have it), stop shipping it, or *at least* stop saying they are shipping a
GPLv2 kernel if they are unwilling/unable to provide the source.


You missed the discussion where it was pointed out that some firmware
is written in hex directly, as there is no compiler. Good luck with
demanding the source to that dude...





----> "Derived from proprietary unpublished source code" <----



linux-2.6.25/drivers/net/tg3.c:

/*
* tg3.c: Broadcom Tigon3 ethernet driver.
*
* Copyright (C) 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 David S. Miller (davem@redhat.com)
* Copyright (C) 2001, 2002, 2003 Jeff Garzik (jgarzik@pobox.com)
* Copyright (C) 2004 Sun Microsystems Inc.
* Copyright (C) 2005-2007 Broadcom Corporation.
*
* Firmware is:
* Derived from proprietary unpublished source code,
* Copyright (C) 2000-2003 Broadcom Corporation.
*
* Permission is hereby granted for the distribution of this firmware
* data in hexadecimal or equivalent format, provided this copyright
* notice is accompanying it.
*/



tg3.c is the example I have been using all along.


Of course actually getting Red Hat or Broadcom to turn it over wouldn't be
easy. Broadcom has some legal issues of their own right now, heh.


-Jeff

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Old 06-19-2008, 06:29 PM
Les Mikesell
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

Horst H. von Brand wrote:



With any other license, I could at least have done a diff against
the original copies and my work and given that away


Nope. The diff is very clearly a work derived from the original (you just
can't cook up a difference to the original without the original;


Perhaps, but it is not at all clear whether copyright restricts you from
distributing such changes because there is an obvious conflict with your
rights to use your copy in the ways you want. How would you relate what
you are saying to the recent ruling in the UK that selling modified ROMS
to someone who already has the original does not violate copyright law?
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080612/0055131385.shtml That's not
entirely universal and in the US the DMCA would make it illegal to break
encryption for the purpose of circumventing copy protection whether or
not the actual copying was legal - but it seems like the right approach
to me.



I'm not sure what you are talking about. It's a pretty safe bet that
there is more code that relies on Microsoft libraries than anything
else


So? It /uses/ the libraries in the way the relevant license spells out, and
you can the distribute what you build on them as said license allows. It
isn't taking pieces of said libraries and distributing modified versions of
them at all.


Again, this is not at all clear.


The FSF says otherwise and that if the
resulting 'work as a whole' would be be a derived work, then the
components, including my own work, can't be distributed unless all are
restricted by the GPL.


Your own work, if it depends intimately on the original, is clearly a
derived work. And you need the owner's permission to create it in the first
place.


No, I need the owner's permission to have my copy in the first place. I
don't need his permission to use it or add my own changes to it.



If said owner grants that permission only under the condition that
your modifications have to be distributed under GPL...


Once I have my copy, said owner has no more to say about what I can do
with it. Copyright prevents subsequent redistribution without
permission but it is not anyone else's business if I redistribute the
work that I've added to my copy to someone else who also has a copy of
the original work.



... because you were granted the right of having a copy by the owner of the
relevant rights, which you got under certain conditions.


There are no conditions to receiving a copy a copy under the GPL. And
if there were, they would have to comply with the rights you have to use
the copy you've gotten.



Using a library is one thing, taking its code and modifying it something
quite different; and distributing a copy of the original or a modified
version are yet again completely different. For each of those activities
you need separate permissions.


Sometimes. Some of those things are basic rights, recognized
differently in different places.


--
Les Mikesell
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Old 06-19-2008, 06:35 PM
Les Mikesell
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

Alexandre Oliva wrote:



Then can we at least agree that there are sometimes unfortunate
consequences to the GPL's failure to permit one to share a work
combining two pieces of *free* software because of relatively minor[1]
license incompatibilities?


Yeah, it's unfortunate when this happens. In general, authors who use
the GPL for its intended purpose (ensuring the 4 freedoms are
respected for all users) won't object to the combination of their
works with other works that respect users' freedoms, and will grant
additional permissions for the combinations in spite of the license
conflicts.


I don't believe that is generally true except for perl and the few other
dual-licensed packages where the authors understood the issue from the
start. And worse, there is no accounting for copyright ownership since
anyone could have added code and most packages have no one who could
grant such permission on current packages encumbered by the GPL.



So, yeah, it's unfortunate, but I don't think it's really such a big
deal. Nearly all Free Software *is* available under the GPL and
compatible licenses anyway.


And there's where we differ. I think it is a big deal, has put free
software decades behind where it might otherwise be, and has kept
affordable alternatives to monopoly-ware out of the picture almost
completely.



Sparing a user from becoming dependent on a piece of proprietary
software might even be a sacrifice for the user, but it's actually an
advantage for the user and for society in the long run.


You can't be 'dependent' on software as long as there are alternate
choices. The thing that is bad for society is unnecessary restrictions
on how those choices can be produced and combined.


--
Les Mikesell
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Old 06-19-2008, 06:41 PM
Les Mikesell
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

jeff wrote:




I personally downloaded this file believing that I was getting a free
GPL driver. Broadcom says so in the patch itself, in the included
LICENSE file, and their website when you click to download it. Red
Hat is shipping it as GPLv2. So either they have to provide the
source (if they have it), stop shipping it, or *at least* stop saying
they are shipping a GPLv2 kernel if they are unwilling/unable to
provide the source.


You missed the discussion where it was pointed out that some firmware
is written in hex directly, as there is no compiler. Good luck with
demanding the source to that dude...





----> "Derived from proprietary unpublished source code" <----



linux-2.6.25/drivers/net/tg3.c:

/*
* tg3.c: Broadcom Tigon3 ethernet driver.
*
* Copyright (C) 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 David S. Miller (davem@redhat.com)
* Copyright (C) 2001, 2002, 2003 Jeff Garzik (jgarzik@pobox.com)
* Copyright (C) 2004 Sun Microsystems Inc.
* Copyright (C) 2005-2007 Broadcom Corporation.
*
* Firmware is:
* Derived from proprietary unpublished source code,
* Copyright (C) 2000-2003 Broadcom Corporation.
*
* Permission is hereby granted for the distribution of this firmware
* data in hexadecimal or equivalent format, provided this copyright
* notice is accompanying it.
*/



tg3.c is the example I have been using all along.


And note the difference between this and the earlier one you previously
posted that (probably mistakenly) said it was GPL'd.


Of course actually getting Red Hat or Broadcom to turn it over wouldn't
be easy.


That's probably not one of the choices. Demanding that distribution be
stopped of everything containing the one claiming to be GPL might be, if
that's what you want, but only the copyright holder could enforce that
demand.


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Old 06-19-2008, 06:54 PM
jeff
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

Les Mikesell wrote:

jeff wrote:




I personally downloaded this file believing that I was getting a
free GPL driver. Broadcom says so in the patch itself, in the
included LICENSE file, and their website when you click to download
it. Red Hat is shipping it as GPLv2. So either they have to provide
the source (if they have it), stop shipping it, or *at least* stop
saying they are shipping a GPLv2 kernel if they are unwilling/unable
to provide the source.


You missed the discussion where it was pointed out that some firmware
is written in hex directly, as there is no compiler. Good luck with
demanding the source to that dude...





----> "Derived from proprietary unpublished source code" <----



linux-2.6.25/drivers/net/tg3.c:

/*
* tg3.c: Broadcom Tigon3 ethernet driver.
*
* Copyright (C) 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 David S. Miller
(davem@redhat.com)

* Copyright (C) 2001, 2002, 2003 Jeff Garzik (jgarzik@pobox.com)
* Copyright (C) 2004 Sun Microsystems Inc.
* Copyright (C) 2005-2007 Broadcom Corporation.
*
* Firmware is:
* Derived from proprietary unpublished source code,
* Copyright (C) 2000-2003 Broadcom Corporation.
*
* Permission is hereby granted for the distribution of this
firmware

* data in hexadecimal or equivalent format, provided this copyright
* notice is accompanying it.
*/



tg3.c is the example I have been using all along.


And note the difference between this and the earlier one you previously
posted that (probably mistakenly) said it was GPL'd.


That's what's on there now--to point out it wasn't written in hex--there is
source code *somewhere*. For years it was distributed without that line.


For example:

/************************************************** ****************************/
/* */
/* Broadcom BCM5700 Linux Network Driver, Copyright (c) 2000 - 2003 Broadcom */
/* Corporation. */
/* All rights reserved. */
/* */
/* This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify */
/* it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by */
/* the Free Software Foundation, located in the file LICENSE. */
/* */
/* (c) COPYRIGHT 2001-2004 Broadcom Corporation, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. */
/* */
/* Name: F W _ L S O 0 5. H */
/* Author : Kevin Tran */
/* Version: 1.2 */
/* */
/* Module Description: This file contains firmware binary code of TCP */
/* Segmentation firmware (BCM5705). */
/* */
/* History: */
/* 08/10/02 Kevin Tran Incarnation. */
/* 02/02/04 Kevin Tran Added Support for BCM5788. */
/************************************************** ****************************/

[lots of hex]

If that is written at the top of a file *with no other disclaimers* (which is
the case here), what license is the file under? Note, there is *no* other code
in this file, just the firmware. To me it looks like they GPL'd it, no? If you
say the license applies to just one section, which section is that, since there
are no other sections?


The file quoted above is fw_lso05.h as distributed by broadcom.com in
linux-7.3.5.zip.


-Jeff

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Old 06-19-2008, 06:57 PM
Rahul Sundaram
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

Les Mikesell wrote:

If it takes a current concrete example to make sense, swapping out
reiserfs with zfs in the Linux kernel seems like a good idea. But we

can't do that because the kernel is too free.


I haven't seen any contributors claim that it is a good idea. Quite the
opposite considering patent concerns and design differences. Assuming it
is, CDDL has additional requirements incompatible with GPLv2 and it was
designed that way and also because the kernel is very different between
Linux and Solaris. The only way to allow absolute flexibility in terms
of licensing is to put stuff in the public domain or very permissive
licenses.


Rahul

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Old 06-19-2008, 07:30 PM
Les Mikesell
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

jeff wrote:



tg3.c is the example I have been using all along.


And note the difference between this and the earlier one you
previously posted that (probably mistakenly) said it was GPL'd.


That's what's on there now--to point out it wasn't written in hex--there
is source code *somewhere*. For years it was distributed without that line.


Yes, the most likely explanation being that the GPL label was
accidentally applied and the correct/current license lets you
redistribute the binary/hex only.


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