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Old 04-28-2008, 08:45 AM
Francis Earl
 
Default Fedora Desktop future- RedHat moves

You're not getting it, so this will be my last reply to you...

On Sun, 2008-04-27 at 23:23 -0500, Les Mikesell wrote:
> Francis Earl wrote:
>
> >> It is the same as if Microsoft claimed that everything that linked to
> >> any of their libraries belonged to them or could only be distributed on
> >> their terms, even if the recipient already had their own copy of the
> >> library itself.
> >
> > Microsoft doesn't give you access to their code, and doesn't expect full
> > access to yours.
>
> Everyone can get their own access to the MS code, and they make no
> claims on yours.

NO ONE gets access to Microsoft code, unless you happen to be a
government agency, and sign an NDA...

> > Thing is, GPL explicitly states that you retain copyrights, so you
> > dictate what you do with your code, so this is hardly an accurate
> > example.
>
> The FSF claims you can't distribute code you've written yourself under
> your own terms if it links to a GPL'd library at runtime. My example
> was exactly that scenario. I think that would get MS a lawsuit for
> anticompetitive behavior, although Apple will probably get away with it
> for a while with their iphone development kit.

Yes, and people that release code under that license with it to used
under those terms.

> >> I agree with the benefits which is why it is a shame that the code can't
> >> be used at all in many situations which require features under different
> >> restrictions.
> >
> > The authors don't intend for it to be used that way. That is no
> > different for any other distro,
>
> The *bsd's do not place such restrictions on their code, so don't claim
> that everyone does.

I was referring to the authors of GPL'd code.

> > OS X includes such code also. Microsoft
> > is the only IT company that doesn't utilize a single piece of GPL'd
> > code.
>
> There are some programs that can be feature-complete without including
> patented technology or code under other restrictions. And some can't be.

I'm not sure why you took the time to state this...

> >>> If I stole your credit cards, transferred the money to my account, and
> >>> gave the card back, you wouldn't feel too good about that, would you?
> >>> How about if I justified it saying "you can still use the card", would
> >>> that make it ok?
> >>>
> >>> No, code is money.
> >> But using another copy of it does not take anything away that was there
> >> before. Try another scenario that doesn't take anything away to see if
> >> you can understand the real situation.
> >
> > How is it any different?
>
> How is software different than money? Making a copy can be legal and
> takes away nothing from the original.

It takes away plenty, the author of GPL software didn't intend for you
to use their code to benefit only yourself... you are stealing from them
their hard work.

> > What does that money represent? It represents
> > the time you spent at work. It represents your time and effort.
>
> All of which you still have, regardless of what others do with other copies.

So if you give me $300 to buy you a plane ticket in trust, and I spend
it at the strip club, I did nothing wrong?

Same thing, I'm not using the money how you intended it to be used, but
it was spent...

> > The authors of code written under the GPL want it used under the terms
> > of the GPL, they don't want some corporation stealing it and them never
> > getting any sort of notoriety or even a mention. In the Free Software
> > world, corporations CAN'T take your code, it is illegal.
>
> Which is a bizarre thing to be concerned about because the only thing
> they could possibly do to diminish the value of the original copy would
> be to improve it so much that no one would want the original. As a
> potential user of that improved version, I think that restriction is a
> bad thing. And most bizarre of all is the notion that I can't obtain my
> own copy of a GPL'd library, and someone else's code under their own
> terms separately.

Yes, it's bizarre to want to control your code and only have it benefit
people of like mind.

If the resulting work is so different, replace everything, and release
it under your own terms. There are plenty of corporations dual licensing
too, you just have to be smart about how you design the work.

> > If you find a
> > loophole, it is their right to ensure they cover it in the next
> > incarnation.
>
> By a loophole, do you mean something that would allow improved versions?

Yes, under terms the author of that code didn't want.

Maybe you think writing an application is a simple undertaking? It's
not... I challenge you to even learn Python, and write a useful
application in PyGTK... see how long it takes you.

Maybe then you'll have some appreciation for the work of others,
especially when you consider just how much more difficult C is compared
to Python.

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Old 04-28-2008, 08:49 AM
Alan Cox
 
Default Fedora Desktop future- RedHat moves

> Everyone can get their own access to the MS code, and they make no
> claims on yours.

You haven't read the small print on many microsoft supplied developer
libraries then.

> The FSF claims you can't distribute code you've written yourself under
> your own terms if it links to a GPL'd library at runtime. My example

Again be careful of the term "link" - it has all sorts of wrong meanings
to technical people. The law on derivative works for software is still
very unclear (lack of caselaw) but there is certainly no reason to
believe it is as simple as "linking" in the compiler sense as opposed to
the "independent works" sense.

But you see that library is the GPL authors code and they've exercised
their right as an author to decide what they do with their code. Your
right to control your code happens to be the same as their right to
control their code. Anyway you can always write an alternative library.

Alan

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Old 04-28-2008, 12:38 PM
Les Mikesell
 
Default Fedora Desktop future- RedHat moves

Alan Cox wrote:
Everyone can get their own access to the MS code, and they make no
claims on yours.


You haven't read the small print on many microsoft supplied developer
libraries then.

The FSF claims you can't distribute code you've written yourself under
your own terms if it links to a GPL'd library at runtime. My example


Again be careful of the term "link" - it has all sorts of wrong meanings
to technical people. The law on derivative works for software is still
very unclear (lack of caselaw) but there is certainly no reason to
believe it is as simple as "linking" in the compiler sense as opposed to
the "independent works" sense.


Agreed - it is a complicated issue.


But you see that library is the GPL authors code and they've exercised
their right as an author to decide what they do with their code.


No, they've gone well beyond that in claiming that your own code which
calls that library's interfaces is also under their control.


> Your

right to control your code happens to be the same as their right to
control their code.


You'd expect that to be the case, but it hasn't been.


Anyway you can always write an alternative library.


How can the existence of a different library make any difference to the
status of another piece of code that might use it? And why does anyone
think that's a productive thing to do?


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Old 04-28-2008, 12:55 PM
Alan Cox
 
Default Fedora Desktop future- RedHat moves

> > But you see that library is the GPL authors code and they've exercised
> > their right as an author to decide what they do with their code.
>
> No, they've gone well beyond that in claiming that your own code which
> calls that library's interfaces is also under their control.

I think you are still reading "linking" as code. Also remember that the
GPLv2 actually pretty much predates "normal" use of dynamic linking.

> > Anyway you can always write an alternative library.
>
> How can the existence of a different library make any difference to the
> status of another piece of code that might use it?

Bingo..

That is the heart of the question - are you just using some generic
interface (and US caselaw is mostly against API copyright) or are you
creating a new work which incorporates an existing work.

Just as with books - am I creating a book referencing another work or a
book that incorporates chunks of another book, and that depends on
context and isn't entirely clear - see the current Harry Potter lawsuit.

Alan

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Old 04-28-2008, 01:08 PM
Les Mikesell
 
Default Fedora Desktop future- RedHat moves

Francis Earl wrote:

Everyone can get their own access to the MS code, and they make no
claims on yours.


NO ONE gets access to Microsoft code, unless you happen to be a
government agency, and sign an NDA...


Their libraries are on the large majority of computers.

The FSF claims you can't distribute code you've written yourself under
your own terms if it links to a GPL'd library at runtime. My example
was exactly that scenario. I think that would get MS a lawsuit for
anticompetitive behavior, although Apple will probably get away with it
for a while with their iphone development kit.


Yes, and people that release code under that license with it to used
under those terms.


There are no use restrictions claimed in the GPL. Yet the FSF claims
they can restrict the distribution of other people's code.


There are some programs that can be feature-complete without including
patented technology or code under other restrictions. And some can't be.


I'm not sure why you took the time to state this...


Because that's what this whole thread is about. You seem not to have
understood a bit of it.



How is it any different?
How is software different than money? Making a copy can be legal and
takes away nothing from the original.


It takes away plenty, the author of GPL software didn't intend for you
to use their code to benefit only yourself... you are stealing from them
their hard work.


It takes away nothing, and would be copyright violation instead of
stealing anyway. Except that the license gives you the right to get
your own copy.



> What does that money represent? It represents

the time you spent at work. It represents your time and effort.

All of which you still have, regardless of what others do with other copies.


So if you give me $300 to buy you a plane ticket in trust, and I spend
it at the strip club, I did nothing wrong?


You are ignoring the fact that with software you can copy, you'd still
have the original regardless of what else you did, so you'd still be
able to get that ticket.



Same thing, I'm not using the money how you intended it to be used, but
it was spent...


Why would I have a problem with you doing something extra?

And most bizarre of all is the notion that I can't obtain my
own copy of a GPL'd library, and someone else's code under their own
terms separately.


Yes, it's bizarre to want to control your code and only have it benefit
people of like mind.


That is bizarre, but not what I meant. The GPL already gives anyone the
right to get their own copy of the covered work. The FSF claim is that
others are prohibited from distributed their own works that happen to
call those libraries even if they don't include them.



If the resulting work is so different, replace everything, and release
it under your own terms. There are plenty of corporations dual licensing
too, you just have to be smart about how you design the work.


Maybe you are starting to understand why GPL'd code isn't usable in many
situations and thus forces everyone to deal with the monopoly. It still
doesn't make sense that you like it.




Maybe you think writing an application is a simple undertaking? It's
not... I challenge you to even learn Python, and write a useful
application in PyGTK... see how long it takes you.

Maybe then you'll have some appreciation for the work of others,
especially when you consider just how much more difficult C is compared
to Python.


My application writing days go back to DOS when I combined gnutar
(non-trivial because the code wasn't prototyped back then) with an aspi
scsi library and a network library so you could back up DOS and win 3.x
machines to local tape drives or over the network with the archive in a
standard format. I tried to give it away but was stopped because even
though the scsi/network code was freely available in source the license
was incompatible with the GPL.


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Old 04-28-2008, 01:12 PM
Tim
 
Default Fedora Desktop future- RedHat moves

On Mon, 2008-04-28 at 13:55 +0100, Alan Cox wrote:
> Just as with books - am I creating a book referencing another work or
> a book that incorporates chunks of another book, and that depends on
> context and isn't entirely clear - see the current Harry Potter
> lawsuit.

I think some people are playing with their magic wands, just a little
bit too much, in this thread...

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Old 04-28-2008, 01:20 PM
Les Mikesell
 
Default Fedora Desktop future- RedHat moves

Alan Cox wrote:

But you see that library is the GPL authors code and they've exercised
their right as an author to decide what they do with their code.
No, they've gone well beyond that in claiming that your own code which
calls that library's interfaces is also under their control.


I think you are still reading "linking" as code. Also remember that the
GPLv2 actually pretty much predates "normal" use of dynamic linking.


Yes, we need a much clearer definition. I am still thinking of the
RIPEM case where the action was against a free source distribution that
expected the user to link with his own copy of a certain library at
compile time.




Anyway you can always write an alternative library.
How can the existence of a different library make any difference to the
status of another piece of code that might use it?


Bingo..

That is the heart of the question - are you just using some generic
interface (and US caselaw is mostly against API copyright) or are you
creating a new work which incorporates an existing work.


The strange part is that this concept can change after the fact or by
the existence of code you didn't know about. I think the legal system
will have a problem with it.



Just as with books - am I creating a book referencing another work or a
book that incorporates chunks of another book, and that depends on
context and isn't entirely clear - see the current Harry Potter lawsuit.


Book examples aren't very similar. For example, you don't get a Harry
Potter book with a license that permits unrestricted use and
redistribution under certain terms. And the copyright wouldn't permit a
similar book to be written which would change the status of the one in
question.


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Old 04-28-2008, 02:16 PM
Paul Shaffer
 
Default Fedora Desktop future- RedHat moves

I didn't specify at the outset of this discussion, but I have only two complaints regarding this issue and neither of them have to do with software patents, GPL, multimedia and related issues. Those things are insignificant from my perspective. What I hate to see is Redhat going down. Whether any of you believe it or not, Goliath comments aside, they have given themselves a black eye in the minds of many loyal supporters over the past couple of years. For me personally, the #2 issue is system stability. In their quest to be bleeding edge or whatever you want call it, I think we have sacrificed way too much in reliability and stability. I understand the devlopment schedule, testing methodology etc, as justifiable reasons therein. Initially I thought it was a great thing and eagerly awaited every release looking forward to the things I would be able to see and test for the first time. However, lately that has degeneratde into a situation I cannot
accept as the seeming recklesss abandon with which thay've gone about it.

That's really all there is to it. I can easily deal with these issues and that's why you don't see me posting here asking for help. But it has reached the threshold for me that I am not really enjoying it any more. I don't use my PCs for anything unusual or complex, just ordinary home office servers and workstations, with pretty much last generation plain vanila hardware. Despite that, I have lost count of the number of times and hours I've spent in the last two years fixing really dumb stuff like having the network just stop working after an update. Sure it's easy enough to run the previous kernel for a few days or a week until the fix appears, but that gets tiring after awhile when it becomes a continuous ongoing fear of loading new kernels. Sorry, but to me, things like that (and there are MANY more), and the frequency whith which they are ocurring just don't cut it for something being offered to the public, I don't care what justification for
software philosophy you offer. Some of it just seems like sloppy work to me

So I'll cross my fingers and take another step into F9. If things don't improve, I suppose I'll just sigh and continue being a disgruntled Fedora user. But fewer of my machines are running it these days, and that trend seems likely to continue.


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Old 04-28-2008, 02:19 PM
Alan Cox
 
Default Fedora Desktop future- RedHat moves

> > That is the heart of the question - are you just using some generic
> > interface (and US caselaw is mostly against API copyright) or are you
> > creating a new work which incorporates an existing work.
>
> The strange part is that this concept can change after the fact or by
> the existence of code you didn't know about. I think the legal system
> will have a problem with it.

I never said that it would change. Whether one work is incorporating
another doens't change because two copies of the "other" exist. The
question is much more about whether it is generic.

Suppose you write a piece of software which is split into a collection of
modules. At what point do I need your permission to dynamically link
another program against them. Clearly I do if I just put all of your
modules together again. Fairly clearly I do if I put most of your program
back together and tweak a few bits (eg if you write a game and I link all
of your game back together with a single module change say to let me turn
the music on or off). At the other end if I use your library
implementation of something like printf (say you had written your own),
it would appear I do not, as it is a generic interface.

There is a point at which I am taking your creative work and modifying
it, and a point at which I am just using generic interfaces you provided.
The challenge is to work out which is which, and even more importantly to
evolve a set of meaningful tests to make that decision.

> > Just as with books - am I creating a book referencing another work or a
> > book that incorporates chunks of another book, and that depends on
> > context and isn't entirely clear - see the current Harry Potter lawsuit.
>
> Book examples aren't very similar.

It seems to be where many lawyers look to understand the equivalences in
copyright law where there is caselaw, along with things like record
compilations.

Alan

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Old 04-28-2008, 02:25 PM
Alan Cox
 
Default Fedora Desktop future- RedHat moves

> supporters over the past couple of years. For me personally, the #2 issue is system
> stability. In their quest to be bleeding edge or whatever you want call it, I think we
> have sacrificed way too much in reliability and stability.

That is a bit like joing the army and saying "I think we should be
pacifists". Even if you are right, the purpose and intent of the
organisation is to deliver something you apparently don't want.

If you want -boring- (and at times boring is indeed good) that is why Red
Hat have the RHEL products and why Centos exists.

There wouldn't really be a lot of point making Fedora another Centons
when there already is a Centos

Alan

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