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Advogato post for 2000-09-07 16:45:29

Uraeus, my friend, I will only tell you two things:

a) Nau­tilus ain't Ga­le­on. And you missed the part about GNOME ac­tu­al­ly steal­ing (for a while on­ly) KDE code. And that code is still used, and no for­give­ness has been asked, that I know of. Should GNOME be now "il­le­gal"? Again, I say no. If you agree, don't ar­gue with me.

b) The apol­o­gize and for­give I do is hon­est. Re­al­ly. I have said nasty things about De­bian. I will apol­o­gize , for what­ev­er that's worth, and I will for­give De­bian for call­ing me a crim­i­nal, when I be­lieve that was to­tal­ly un­war­rant­ed. Again, for what­ev­er that's worth.

If you feel strong­ly about that, well, see if I care.

sh It's nowhere as sim­ple as "it links" or "it does­n't link", ac­tu­al­ly. You see, the GPL, in its fuzzi­ness, does­n't say any­thing about link­ing. It just speaks about "the larg­er work" that com­bines the two work­s, the GPL'd and the not GPL'd. The mech­a­nisms for com­bin­ing are not in the li­cense, and are de­bat­able.

For ex­am­ple, I have al­ways said that dy­nam­ic link­ing is not com­bin­ing in the sense the GPL deals with.

Think about it: what dif­fer­ence is, from a prac­ti­cal point of view, be­tween a bonobo com­po­nent and a shared li­brary? On­ly that there is a dif­fer­ent way to call the func­tion­s, and that (not sure here) both pieces of code re­side on dif­fer­ent ad­dress spa­ces.

Just chang­ing the con­ven­tion for func­tion call­ing, I have nev­er seen de­scribed as a way to work around the GPL, and I doubt you want it to be.

As for be­ing in sep­a­rate ad­dress spaces, I re­mem­ber RMS once say­ing that as long as things were like that, it was not "com­bin­ing". Ok, but sure­ly you don't want to say the op­po­site, that by be­ing in the same ad­dress space it IS com­bin­ing, be­cause in that case, you get in a hell of a mess with any en­vi­ron­ment that does­n't sup­port mem­o­ry pro­tec­tion!

If you do, all GPL soft­ware would be il­le­gal on, say, win­dows 3.11, and I know for a fact that the FSF does­n't be­lieve that to be true.

So, the fine point is: what is "com­bin­ing in the sense used in the GPL", and none of us has a straight an­swer, not me, not you, and prob­a­bly not RM­S, ei­ther.

This is yet an­oth­er rea­son why the GPL is a mess.


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