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Advogato post for 2000-07-12 19:03:06

I'm getting involved in a large thread in gnu.misc.discuss.

It is, in a way, fun­ny. The usu­al clue­less key­word drop­pers are there (jedi, for ex­am­ple), but al­so some smart guys (Dyson).

The short ver­sion is that ap­par­ent­ly Dyson and a cou­ple of oth­ers made a rather thought pro­vok­ing state­men­t: "The GPL is not free", and are de­fend­ing it.

The usu­al wis­dom about it is that such a po­si­tion is in­de­fen­si­ble, yet IMHO they are do­ing just fine.

I just snip from the side­lines point­ing out the in­ter­nal in­con­sis­ten­cies be­tween peo­ple who sus­tain the op­pos­ing po­si­tion (that the GPL is ac­tu­al­ly free).

I got sev­er­al in­ter­est­ing re­spons­es, like "of course the GPL does­n't pre­vent link­ing GPL and non-G­PL soft­ware".

Strange­ly, as soon as I point out that the FSF says it does, a cou­ple of posters fall off the sub­thread, and get re­placed by a cou­ple of new posters say­ing that it does.

Then I point ways in which that po­si­tion makes the GPL non-free, and the re­verse hap­pens :-)

So, my per­son­al guess is that it's im­pos­si­ble for a sin­gle per­son to main­tain both halves of that po­si­tion at the same time with­out in­ter­nal con­flic­t.

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