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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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