[Mono-devel-list] ByteFX development

Michael L Torrie torriem at chem.byu.edu
Thu Sep 23 17:39:34 EDT 2004

On Thu, 2004-09-23 at 22:40 +0200, Rob.Tillie at Student.tUL.EDU wrote:
> Hey guyz,
> I'm trying to understand all of this, please correct me if I'm wrong.

In my opinion this thread is very off topic.  But this is still an
important issue.

> I understand the point that if I change GPL code, I have to give that back.
> But what use is it for someone to say: "Hey, my code is GPL, so if you use
> it, yours has got to be too!".

"Use it" is an incorrect phrase.  If you incorporate the GPL'd code into
your own program as a developer, then your code has to be GPL too.

Because from the point of view of copyright, there is no difference
between changing the code and using it in this context (which is the
context that the GPL applies).

You don't have to accept the GPL to use GPL software from an end user
point of view.  But to develop against GPL libraries or use GPL'd source
in anyway binds you to the GPL license just like any other source code
license on the planet.

> Obviously, for MySql, it's just a way to enforce commercial companies to buy
> their other license.
> But why would a normal programmer release something he made in his free time
> under the GPL unless he is some sort of control freak? 

Because the GPL gives the code a life of it's own.  It allows the code
to live on in a continued free state even after the creator has
abandoned it.  It also prevents the code from being usurped by
corporations (well, it does give you legal recourse anyway).  And if you
really want to use my code (not the binary here -- we're talking about
the source code) then you will use it under my terms and license.  This
is no different than any other company.  

It's not about control at all.  If I release a GPL'd program and people
enhance it, I do receive those enhancements back, but the copyright
isn't necessarily mine for those parts (the enhancements).  Thus to a
certain degree you lose control over the work when it's GPL, except that
it's on a level playing field.  Everyone who contributes has equal

> Because, in fact, he is saying: "Dude, I love this license so much that you
> HAVE to use it too if you use my code." Which would result in the GPL
> license totally not being some kind of open-source / free software license
> because it is forcing me to do something.

You are wrong.  You are misunderstanding the GPL.

The GPL is a license to use the source code.  It's like any other source
license.  you have to accept these terms to use the code.  Otherwise you
have no legal right under copyright law.

It's not about freedom to use for whatever purpose, nor is it about
freedom for a developer.  It's about the freedom of the code itself.

As a final comment, I must say that the only reason why IBM can
contribute so much to Linux (millions of dollars of development) is that
it is GPL.  There is a reason why IBM chose not to invest in any of the
BSDs.  The GPL protects IBM and prevents any competitor from using it's
own code against it.  The playing field is leveled.  IBM recognized this
fact early on.  (No apple's use of some BSD in OSX is not a counter

Those who recognize what the GPL is and how it works can benefit from it
and do amazing things (like mono).  Those who don't will always see it
as a stumbling block.

Personally, if my code is useful to others, I will release it under GPL.
If you don't like it, write your own code.


> Greetz,
> -- Rob.
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Massimiliano Mantione [mailto:massi at ximian.com]
> > Sent: Thursday, September 23, 2004 9:15 AM
> > To: Joshua Tauberer; Mono devel list
> > Subject: Re: [Mono-devel-list] ByteFX development
> > 
> > On Wed, 2004-09-22 at 17:05, Joshua Tauberer wrote:
> > > On the other hand, written protocol specifications are protected by
> > > copyright law.  Can you read a specification and then implement a
> > > program that follows it without creating a derivative work?  This I
> > > don't know.
> > 
> > I should be hacking, and not pretending to do a lawyer's job
> > (which I don't like, IANAL, standard disclaimer...).
> > 
> > Anyway, remember that writing a commentary to a copyrighted book is
> > not a copyright violation, even if the commentary is as long as the
> > whole book, and more of less indirectly exposes all the contents of
> > the book, provided that you do not *copy* the book in the commentary
> > (it is *copy*right we're talking about).
> > 
> > It is often said that copyright protects the "form", not the
> > "meaning".
> > 
> > In the same way, if you do not copy substantial portions of the
> > protocol specification text inside the code of your implementation
> > (one wonders why you'll ever do it) you cannot commit a copyright
> > infringement writing your code.
> > 
> > And yes, even if you use some specific words (like PDU names) from
> > the specification you should be safe.
> > 
> > Otherwise, I think no protocol could be implemented!
> > 
> > Ciao,
> >   Massi
> > 
> > 
> > _______________________________________________
> > Mono-devel-list mailing list
> > Mono-devel-list at lists.ximian.com
> > http://lists.ximian.com/mailman/listinfo/mono-devel-list
> _______________________________________________
> Mono-devel-list mailing list
> Mono-devel-list at lists.ximian.com
> http://lists.ximian.com/mailman/listinfo/mono-devel-list

More information about the Mono-devel-list mailing list