OOC Library - A legal loophole! 
Author Message
 OOC Library - A legal loophole!

Something just occured to me...

The GPL says that any GPL'ed program can be run by other
programs without requiring them to be GPL'ed if they can
be considered seperate works. This allows you to write a
non-GPL IDE for a GPL compiler as long as the compiler is
called by the IDE as a program.

On Windows systems, programs and (dynamic-link) libraries
use the same file format. In fact, all executable files
except for drivers use that same format. You may say that
all executable files are programs, except it would be more
accurate to say that all Windows executable files are DLLs
with different extensions. The process that Windows goes
through to run an EXE file involves dynamic linking, much
the same as using a DLL file does, but the entity that
links to EXE files is Windows itself. Windows doesn't come
with source code, let alone under the GPL. Win32 can even
run DLL files using the same mechanism.

This means that if a GPL'ed Windows EXE is considered to
be a program, then a GPL'ed DLL would need to be as well.
If it is legal to run a GPL'ed Windows program, a process
that involves dynamic linking, then it is legal for other
programs to run GPL'ed Windows executable files, including
DLL files.

Since the GPL doesn't make distinction between programs
and dynamicly linked libraries (only the LGPL does), the
OOC and VO libraries must be considered GPL'ed programs
if compiled into a separate executable file. This is even
the case if the resulting file has a DLL extension.

Therefore, at least under Windows, all you would have to
do to use the OOC and VO libraries is to compile them into
a DLL file(s) and package them as a seperate product, such
as LIBOOC.DLL and LIBOOCVO.DLL, under the GPL. As long as
you don't statically link this code to your program, you
shouldn't have any legal problems using it.

This probably won't work under Unix since dynamic libraries
are not the same as programs, and are certainly not called
the same way. This argument does allow the OOC and VO libs
to be ported to the Oberon Systems legally though, because
of the similar lack of distinction between program and lib.

I should probably have a lawyer look at this, but it looks
like the GPL and LGPL are functionally equivalent for DLLs
under Windows.

This means that I can use OOC now! Yay!

Michael, you have one more developer.



Sun, 13 Jan 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 OOC Library - A legal loophole!
Hallo!

A few statements about VO and (L)GPL:

* As long as the OOC library is not under LGPL it does not make sense to
  publish VO under LGPL since VO extensivly uses the OOC library.

* If Michael (and the other Copyright owners!) decide to switch to
  LGPL I'll switch to LGPL imediately, too (I'm currently the
  copyright owner of nearly all of the code and I'm able to remove the
  rest of the code and exchange it with different one). I know I now
  put the burden to decide on Michael, but OOC and VO and tighly bound
  and so they should have the same copyright.

* I personally (and perhaps Michael, too) have not switch to LGPL
  because nobody was able to exactly tell me the difference between
  GPL and LGPL. I wanted some examples I could understand that allowed
  me to understand the changes (what is possible under LGPL that is
  not possible under GPL). If someone makes the differences clear for
  me, it would be ok, to have a few examples about the positive and
  negative sideeffects), a switch is more likely.

--
Gru?...
       Tim.



Sun, 13 Jan 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 OOC Library - A legal loophole!

Quote:
> * I personally (and perhaps Michael, too) have not switch to LGPL
>   because nobody was able to exactly tell me the difference between
>   GPL and LGPL. I wanted some examples I could understand that allowed
>   me to understand the changes (what is possible under LGPL that is
>   not possible under GPL). If someone makes the differences clear for
>   me, it would be ok, to have a few examples about the positive and
>   negative sideeffects), a switch is more likely.

If your (or OOCs) library is under GPL, every program linked with it also
falls under the GPL, which means that its source must be made available. For
example: early versions of Bison generated GPLed parsers, which effectively
limited its use to programs which were to be GPLed anyway. Later versions of
Bison lifted this restriction, allowing 'closed' programs to be constructed
with Bison as well.

If your library is under LGPL, programs linked with it need not be made
available as source and do not fall under the LGPL, but it must be possible
for the enduser to re-link the program with other versions of the library. For
example: Be Inc used LGPLed GNU code for the R3 release of its OS, and thus
had to distribute the linkable object files of its OS as well as the fully
linked executables in order to comply with the LGPL requirements.

I think OOC and VO should take a similar approach gcc takes with its runtime
libraries: the packages themselves are (L)GPLed, but programs generated with
these tools are explicitely excepted from the license.

(It is unclear if the GPL applies to dynamically linked programs as well:
 I heard arguments for both sides.)
--



Sun, 13 Jan 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 OOC Library - A legal loophole!
Hallo!

Quote:
>If your (or OOCs) library is under GPL, every program linked with it also
>falls under the GPL, which means that its source must be made available. For

[...]

Quote:
>If your library is under LGPL, programs linked with it need not be made

[...]

Yes. that was understandable. Howver it would be intersting, which
groups of people would benefit from this? You know, programmers have
problem with freeing their source, if other people can make money with
it. I know, that you can make money with GPLed software as long as you
release the source. How is it with LGPLed sofeware with regards to
people making profit with it. Which sources must they release? Must
they state, that they used your software? Must they publish changes to
your library if they publish their software? There are more questions
like this... I have no problem with other people making money with it,
as long as non-profit people (free software community) would have some
gain (stability patches, enhancements...) also. Can you tell someone me
about such differences between GPL and LGPL?

What about a different copyright, which would be better than GPL but also
fixes problems with LGPL? Could you mix such software with GPL
software?

--
Gru?...
       Tim.



Mon, 14 Jan 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 OOC Library - A legal loophole!

Quote:

>[...]

>...How is it with LGPLed sofeware with regards to
>people making profit with it. Which sources must they release? Must
>they state, that they used your software? Must they publish changes to
>your library if they publish their software? There are more questions
>like this... I have no problem with other people making money with it,
>as long as non-profit people (free software community) would have some
>gain (stability patches, enhancements...) also. Can you tell someone me
>about such differences between GPL and LGPL?

Yes, people must state that they use your LGPL'ed library. They can not make
any changes to your software without making the changes available as source
(not without breaking the license).

But people are allowed to link their own propriatary software to your
LGPL'ed library, as long as it is linked dynamically, or the closed source
software must be supplied as object files to allow relinking.

I feel confident that the increased user base made possible through LGPL
will give benefits in terms of bugfixes and additions to the library itself.
If a company is using an open source library (under LGPL) together with
their own proprietary software, they will of course have the same interest
as non profit entities in seeing the library improve.

Quote:
>What about a different copyright, which would be better than GPL but also
>fixes problems with LGPL? Could you mix such software with GPL
>software?

I think that LGPL is really that attempt at producing a better license. A
license that prevents anybody from taking your work and claiming it their
own, or hiding it in their own work, and at the same time allow your work to
be used together with software that is not open source (for commercial
reasons or other reasons. perhaps a different type of license).

regards
Soren



Tue, 15 Jan 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 OOC Library - A legal loophole!

Quote:
> Hallo!

> >If your (or OOCs) library is under GPL, every program linked with it also
> >falls under the GPL, which means that its source must be made available. For
> [...]

> >If your library is under LGPL, programs linked with it need not be made
> [...]

> Yes. that was understandable. Howver it would be intersting, which
> groups of people would benefit from this? You know, programmers have
> problem with freeing their source, if other people can make money with
> it. I know, that you can make money with GPLed software as long as you
> release the source. How is it with LGPLed sofeware with regards to
> people making profit with it. Which sources must they release?

Just the sources of the LGPLed parts, and any modifications they made to them.
They don't have to release the source of those parts they wrote themselves
from scratch.

Quote:
>Must they state, that they used your software?

That too.

Quote:
> I have no problem with other people making money with it,
> as long as non-profit people (free software community) would have some
> gain (stability patches, enhancements...) also. Can you tell someone me
> about such differences between GPL and LGPL?

GPL and LGPL are equal in that they both protect the availability of the
software, or as you put it: the gain of the non-profit folks. The difference
is that the GPL always extents to the whole program, making commercial use
somewhat difficult, where the LGPL restricts itself to the packages it
was applied to.

And then there is the Artistic license (from perl) which only requires the
standard version of a package to stay public; writing your own version
and keeping it proprietary is allowed if you give pointers to the public
standard version and give your version a clearly different name. The Artistic
license does not extent to programs produced with the software.

Quote:
> What about a different copyright, which would be better than GPL but also
> fixes problems with LGPL? Could you mix such software with GPL
> software?

Mixing more permissively licensed software with GPLed is tricky at least,
and mixing with less permissively licensed software is not possible. The rule
is that if one part of a program is GPLed, the rest must follow. There are
exceptions, but you'd need a lawyer-type to find them.

There are other licenses out there (the Artistic, Apache and BSD/X license
being the better known ones), but if none of them really fit your intentions,
you better write your own (which could just be 'the GPL applies except ...').
Or you can dual-license your software (perl does that), leaving some choice to
the user.

A few questions you have to answer yourself. Do you just want the possibility
of an open version of your software, or do you want it guaranteed? Would you
mind if people create their own, proprietary versions of your software? Do you
want to force people to contribute their modifications back, or just encourage
them? For commercial use in proprietary programs, is it enough if you get
credit, or do you want your software included in source?
--



Tue, 15 Jan 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 OOC Library - A legal loophole!
As an addendum:

<URL:http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/opensources/book/perens.html>

gives an overview over the various licenses.
--



Wed, 16 Jan 2002 03:00:00 GMT  
 
 [ 9 post ] 

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