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Old 08-02-2008, 12:58 AM
Alexandre Oliva
 
Default Misunderstanding GPL's terms and conditions as restrictions (and an apology)

First of all, I'd like to apologize to the subscribers of this list
for my recent excesses.

I'm known to have a hard time resisting the impulse to participate in
mailing list debates about software freedom and related issues, but
most of the time I manage to keep it under control.

Furthermore, I tend to dismiss demands for silence from people who
hold an opposing opinion in a debate, for obvious reasons.

A couple of weeks ago, a very stressful personal situation came up,
and these discussions here about 100% Free distros, Linux-libre, GNU
GPL, GNU Operating System, Copyleft, Free Software, its movement and
its philosophy, appear to have served as an escape, to keep my mind
away from the stressful situation that I could do nothing about.

In my state of mind, I was unable to realize I was posting *so* *many*
messages, and to tell the legitimate complaints about the volume from
the complaints I'm used to dismissing when performing my Free Software
advocacy and education work, often at environments not anywhere as
friendly as Fedora lists.

I apologize to all Fedora users and contributors for my excess and for
the harm I caused, and I thank my colleagues who approached me with a
friendly tone and helped me see my error.



On Jul 30, 2008, Les Mikesell <lesmikesell@gmail.com> wrote:

> Alexandre Oliva wrote:
>> On Jul 29, 2008, Les Mikesell <lesmikesell@gmail.com> wrote:

>>> No, RSAREF couldn't have been modified. It had restricted
>>> distribution and everyone had to get their own copy.

>> http://www.nic.funet.fi/index/crypt/cryptography/rpem/ripem/rsaref/

> And the point was, and is, that the GPL makes really free software
> distribution difficult or impossible even when source is available
> for everything.

Having source available is not enough for Software to be Free. It
might come as a surprise to some, but it's not even enough for it to
be Open Source.

> Note that it was Stallman himself leading the charge against this
> free distribution,

/me stares at 'free distribution', then at the sentence containing
'restricted distribution' above, and pauses, wondering if it makes
sense to even try to understand this stance, compared with the stance
directed at the GPL.

> Later the license on the gmp library was changed to lgpl.

AFAIK the reasoning is that, once there is a functionally-equivalent
library under a more permissive license, the requirements of the GPL
that are relaxed by the LGPL no longer work as an incentive for more
software to be released in terms that both respect and defend users'
freedoms, because anyone who'd rather not respect or defend them would
just use the equivalent library. So we might as well use the LGPL
which, should someone want to further improve the library or the
software that uses it, ensures one or the other can be offered under
the GPL.

> http://hackage.haskell.org/trac/ghc/wiki/ReplacingGMPNotes#ReasonsforReplacingGMPastheBignu mlibrary

"Interesting" arguments there. #1. is the result of misreading LGPL
v2.1, missing its section 6. I know because at some point I'd misread
it that way myself, and asked authoritative sources about it :-)

#2. and #3. amount to "we'd rather rewrite from scratch than adapt GMP
[under its current license] so that it does what we want", which
probably only makes sense under the influence of mistake #1. Or a
fair aomunt of alcohol :-)

Best,

--
Alexandre Oliva http://www.lsd.ic.unicamp.br/~oliva/
Free Software Evangelist oliva@{lsd.ic.unicamp.br, gnu.org}
FSFLA Board Member °Sť Libre! => http://www.fsfla.org/
Red Hat Compiler Engineer aoliva@{redhat.com, gcc.gnu.org}

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Old 08-03-2008, 05:52 PM
Alan Cox
 
Default Misunderstanding GPL's terms and conditions as restrictions (and an apology)

Les - if you want to restart the whole thing, please do it somewhere else.

Alan

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Old 08-03-2008, 05:54 PM
Les Mikesell
 
Default Misunderstanding GPL's terms and conditions as restrictions (and an apology)

Alexandre Oliva wrote:


I apologize to all Fedora users and contributors for my excess and for
the harm I caused, and I thank my colleagues who approached me with a
friendly tone and helped me see my error.


On the bright side, you've made the news:
http://www.linux.com/feature/142772



No, RSAREF couldn't have been modified. It had restricted
distribution and everyone had to get their own copy.



http://www.nic.funet.fi/index/crypt/cryptography/rpem/ripem/rsaref/



And the point was, and is, that the GPL makes really free software
distribution difficult or impossible even when source is available
for everything.


Having source available is not enough for Software to be Free. It
might come as a surprise to some, but it's not even enough for it to
be Open Source.


Perhaps you don't even realize that the word 'free' had a meaning before
the FSF distorted it to mean restricted. It still has this meaning for
everyone who does not drink this cult kool-aid.



Note that it was Stallman himself leading the charge against this
free distribution,


/me stares at 'free distribution', then at the sentence containing
'restricted distribution' above, and pauses, wondering if it makes
sense to even try to understand this stance, compared with the stance
directed at the GPL.


You have to understand 'free' in the original sense of not adding
unnecessary restrictions for it to make sense. Perhaps you are
brainwashed to the point that you aren't capable of understanding it.



Later the license on the gmp library was changed to lgpl.


AFAIK the reasoning is that, once there is a functionally-equivalent
library under a more permissive license, the requirements of the GPL
that are relaxed by the LGPL no longer work as an incentive for more
software to be released in terms that both respect and defend users'
freedoms, because anyone who'd rather not respect or defend them would
just use the equivalent library.


It didn't, and doesn't work as such an incentive anyway. It just
prevents the work from being used at all in many situations and forces a
duplication of effort to create and maintain the usable alternative.
And even in the situations where it can be used, why not take the moral
high ground and let the people contributing their own portions choose
their own license terms instead of taking away that choice from them?



So we might as well use the LGPL
which, should someone want to further improve the library or the
software that uses it, ensures one or the other can be offered under
the GPL.


http://hackage.haskell.org/trac/ghc/wiki/ReplacingGMPNotes#ReasonsforReplacingGMPastheBignu mlibrary


"Interesting" arguments there. #1. is the result of misreading LGPL
v2.1, missing its section 6. I know because at some point I'd misread
it that way myself, and asked authoritative sources about it :-)


The exceptions to the exceptions are all pretty confusing. My reading
says you can't distribute static-linked binaries for systems that don't
include compilers and all the other needed libraries as part of the
stock OS. That excludes the vast majority of target users.



#2. and #3. amount to "we'd rather rewrite from scratch than adapt GMP
[under its current license] so that it does what we want", which
probably only makes sense under the influence of mistake #1. Or a
fair aomunt of alcohol :-)


No, it means they want something they are permitted to distribute to
users without restrictions whether it happens to suit RMS's whims or not.


--
Les Mikesell
lesmikesell@gmail.com


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