PERL modules and GPL license 
Author Message
 PERL modules and GPL license

hello there,

I am planning to use PERL modules  which are publised under
GPL license. I am not changing the code of these modules just
using them.

What is your opinion, how does these modules (under GPL)
affect to my code licensing and the availability
to my source code ?

Can I distribute the code without source codes ?

We are planning to distribute the code as binary
version only, but without license payments.

Thanks Sami



Mon, 23 Feb 2004 10:49:32 GMT  
 PERL modules and GPL license

Samppa> hello there,
Samppa> I am planning to use PERL modules  which are publised under
Samppa> GPL license. I am not changing the code of these modules just
Samppa> using them.

Samppa> What is your opinion, how does these modules (under GPL)
Samppa> affect to my code licensing and the availability
Samppa> to my source code ?

Samppa> Can I distribute the code without source codes ?

Samppa> We are planning to distribute the code as binary
Samppa> version only, but without license payments.

Almost everything in the CPAN says "distributed under the same
licensing terms as Perl itself".  If that's the case, it's under both
the GPL and the AL.  The GPL would (likely) not permit you to do what
you ask, but the AL certainly would, as long as you don't call the
result "Perl".

This is one of the coolest things about the Perl CPAN... we can indeed
do nearly everything we want to do. :)

Ethically, it behooves you to give proper credit to all the
contributors to your project somewhere in your documentation. So
please do so.

print "Just another Perl hacker,"

--
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Perl/Unix/security consulting, Technical writing, Comedy, etc. etc.
See PerlTraining.Stonehenge.com for onsite and open-enrollment Perl training!



Mon, 23 Feb 2004 14:32:11 GMT  
 PERL modules and GPL license

S> hello there,
S> I am planning to use PERL modules  which are publised under
S> GPL license. I am not changing the code of these modules just
S> using them.

S> What is your opinion, how does these modules (under GPL)
S> affect to my code licensing and the availability
S> to my source code ?

S> Can I distribute the code without source codes ?

S> We are planning to distribute the code as binary
S> version only, but without license payments.

If I understand GPL correctly than if you are using Perl modules
having GPL licence you have to use GPL for your own code too.

Check GPL FAQ:

    http://www.fsf.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html

Particulary this item of this FAQ talks about usage of GPL'ed modules.

    http://www.fsf.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#IfInterpreterIsGPL

S> Thanks Sami

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Mon, 23 Feb 2004 14:53:08 GMT  
 PERL modules and GPL license

Quote:

>I am planning to use PERL modules  which are publised under
>GPL license. I am not changing the code of these modules just
>using them.

>What is your opinion, how does these modules (under GPL)
>affect to my code licensing and the availability
>to my source code ?

The GPL requires that your entire program be released under the terms
of the GPL.  The would mean that you are required to make the source
code available.  

The modules may be available under an alterative license.  (Perl
modules are often available under the 'Artistic license'.)  

If a module is only available under the GPL, that means the author
does not want to let you use it in non-free software.  If you will not
make your source code available, and you will not release your
software under the GPL, then you may not use the module.

Quote:
>Can I distribute the code without source codes ?

Not if your program contains a module that you have licensed under the GPL.

Quote:
>We are planning to distribute the code as binary
>version only, but without license payments.

The license payments don't matter.  If your program contains a
GPL-licensed module, you must release the source code.

rd
($p{$_})&6];$p{$_}=/ ^$P/ix?$P:close$_}keys%p}p;p;p;p;p;map{$p{$_}=~/^[P.]/&&
close$_}%p;wait until$?;map{/^r/&&<$_>}%p;$_=$d[$q];sleep rand(2)if/\S/;print



Mon, 23 Feb 2004 17:41:50 GMT  
 PERL modules and GPL license

Quote:

>We are planning to distribute the code as binary
>version only, but without license payments.

        Sometimes companies whose activities cross the line of what
        the GNU GPL permits plead for permission, saying that they
        ``won't charge money for the GNU software'' or such like. They
        don't get anywhere this way. Free software is about freedom,
        and enforcing the GPL is defending freedom. When we defend
        users' freedom, we are not distracted by side issues such as
        how much of a distribution fee is charged. Freedom is the
        issue, the whole issue, and the only issue.

                http://www.fsf.org/philosophy/selling.html

rd
($p{$_})&6];$p{$_}=/ ^$P/ix?$P:close$_}keys%p}p;p;p;p;p;map{$p{$_}=~/^[P.]/&&
close$_}%p;wait until$?;map{/^r/&&<$_>}%p;$_=$d[$q];sleep rand(2)if/\S/;print



Mon, 23 Feb 2004 17:48:00 GMT  
 PERL modules and GPL license

Quote:



>>I am planning to use PERL modules  which are publised under
>>GPL license. I am not changing the code of these modules just
>>using them.

>>What is your opinion, how does these modules (under GPL)
>>affect to my code licensing and the availability
>>to my source code ?

> The GPL requires that your entire program be released under the terms
> of the GPL.  The would mean that you are required to make the source
> code available.  

> The modules may be available under an alterative license.  (Perl
> modules are often available under the 'Artistic license'.)  

> If a module is only available under the GPL, that means the author
> does not want to let you use it in non-free software.  If you will not
> make your source code available, and you will not release your
> software under the GPL, then you may not use the module.

However, it may also mean that the author has {*filter*}-stamped the GPL on
the software. I do this as a matter of course, but would be likely to
change the license to AL if asked. Don't give up on using a module
without asking the author about this first.

David



Tue, 24 Feb 2004 14:26:43 GMT  
 PERL modules and GPL license



Quote:
>However, it may also mean that the author has {*filter*}-stamped the GPL on
>the software. I do this as a matter of course, but would be likely to
>change the license to AL if asked. Don't give up on using a module
>without asking the author about this first.

Yes, because even if the author doesn't want to think about changing
the license that everyone else gets, the might be willing to give you
a one-time exemption.  Especially if you offer to pay them.

All things are possible.

rd
($p{$_})&6];$p{$_}=/ ^$P/ix?$P:close$_}keys%p}p;p;p;p;p;map{$p{$_}=~/^[P.]/&&
close$_}%p;wait until$?;map{/^r/&&<$_>}%p;$_=$d[$q];sleep rand(2)if/\S/;print



Tue, 24 Feb 2004 15:43:19 GMT  
 PERL modules and GPL license



: >
: >>I am planning to use PERL modules  which are publised under
: >>GPL license. I am not changing the code of these modules just
: >>using them.
: >>
: >>What is your opinion, how does these modules (under GPL)
: >>affect to my code licensing and the availability
: >>to my source code ?
: >
: > The GPL requires that your entire program be released under the terms
: > of the GPL.  The would mean that you are required to make the source
: > code available.  
: >

Not exactly.  If you derive code from GPL code or link your code to GPL
code then that is true.  (GPL-lib license allows dynamic linking, but I'll
ignore that for now as the module is probably not that GPL license, though
it would be a relevant issue if it were)

On the other hand, if you call a GPL program which is an independant unit
such as doing system("sort file") then the GPL on sort does not impact
your program.

But what if "sort" was actually a perl script and system() was part of a
perl program?  It seems clear that the GPL still does not apply to your
code.

What if you had a shell script which ran a GPL shell script.  Does
the GPL extend to the calling script (no (?)).  What if the shell
script source'd the GPL'd script?  (not so clear)

Since all perl modules are actually scripts which run when you use them,
at what point does running a perl script become "linking" in the code.
Note that loading a module is actually requesting perl to "run" it, and
the output of that run is a bunch of data structures that your program
uses, how is that different than running a program that creates a bunch of
data for your program to use?

Let's suppose the distributed program doesn't include the GPL module, and
could in theory use any module with the corrct interface.  If it's the end
user that chooses to make a certain GPL module available to perl when they
run the program then does that mean the program is suddenly GPL'd as well?

...questions, not answers...

: > The modules may be available under an alterative license.  (Perl
: > modules are often available under the 'Artistic license'.)  
: >
: > If a module is only available under the GPL, that means the author
: > does not want to let you use it in non-free software.  If you will not
: > make your source code available, and you will not release your
: > software under the GPL, then you may not use the module.

: However, it may also mean that the author has {*filter*}-stamped the GPL on
: the software. I do this as a matter of course, but would be likely to
: change the license to AL if asked. Don't give up on using a module
: without asking the author about this first.

: David

--
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What you need is "ispy.cgi" - visit http://www.*-*-*.com/



Tue, 24 Feb 2004 17:11:48 GMT  
 PERL modules and GPL license

Quote:





>: >
>: >>I am planning to use PERL modules  which are publised under
>: >>GPL license. I am not changing the code of these modules just
>: >>using them.
>: >>
>: >>What is your opinion, how does these modules (under GPL)
>: >>affect to my code licensing and the availability
>: >>to my source code ?
>: >
>: > The GPL requires that your entire program be released under the terms
>: > of the GPL.  The would mean that you are required to make the source
>: > code available.  
>: >

>Not exactly.

Yes, exactly.

For example:

        Can I use the GPL for a plug-in for a non-free program?

             If the program uses fork and exec to invoke plug-ins,
             then the plug-ins are separate programs, so the license
             for the main program makes no requirements for them. So
             you can use the GPL for a plug-in, and there are no
             special requirements.

             If the program dynamically links plug-ins, and they make
             function calls to each other and share data structures,
             we believe they form a single program, so plug-ins must
             be treated as extensions to the main program. This means
             that linking the GPL-covered plug-in with the main
             program would violate the GPL.

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html

Quote:
>  If you derive code from GPL code or link your code to GPL
>code then that is true.

The situation here is that the guy has someone else's Perl module,
which he wants to use in his program.  This is exactly the situation
discussed above.

If it were a separate program running in a separate process, it would
be exempt, but it isn't, so it isn't.

As you point out, the LGPL was designed to allow such things as
dynamic linking of free libraries with non-free programs. This should
have suggested to you that such uses are *not* allowed under the GPL,
or there would have been no need for the LGPL in the first place.

Quote:
>...questions, not answers...

Except you began with "not exactly", which makes it sound like you
have some idea what you're talking about.

If you're really interested in the answers, you may want to consult
the FSF's GPL FAQ, which addresses your questions in some detail.

rd
($p{$_})&6];$p{$_}=/ ^$P/ix?$P:close$_}keys%p}p;p;p;p;p;map{$p{$_}=~/^[P.]/&&
close$_}%p;wait until$?;map{/^r/&&<$_>}%p;$_=$d[$q];sleep rand(2)if/\S/;print



Wed, 25 Feb 2004 03:04:45 GMT  
 PERL modules and GPL license

Quote:


> >We are planning to distribute the code as binary
> >version only, but without license payments.

>         Sometimes companies whose activities cross the line of what
>         the GNU GPL permits plead for permission, saying that they
>         ``won't charge money for the GNU software'' or such like. They
>         don't get anywhere this way. Free software is about freedom,
>         and enforcing the GPL is defending freedom. When we defend
>         users' freedom, we are not distracted by side issues such as
>         how much of a distribution fee is charged. Freedom is the
>         issue, the whole issue, and the only issue.

>                 http://www.fsf.org/philosophy/selling.html

Feelings ....

I try to understand all this discussion.

feeling #1:

  I feel, that basicly every time when using Perl module
  under GPL license the code must be released under GPL too.

feeling #2:

If I am running the GPL code as separate program (= own process)
then I can make my own license rules.

feeling #3

The GPL philosofy says :
'Free software is about freedom, and enforcing the GPL is defending freedom.'

I wonder that. If you decide to use modules under GPL you
do not have the freedom to choose if you want or not
release the source code.

I think that there is alot of programmers who must
do the whole work again, because they do not want or
can not release their source code some reason or other.
This is very sad :(

regards, Sami



Sat, 28 Feb 2004 15:12:02 GMT  
 PERL modules and GPL license





: >


: >: >
: >: >>I am planning to use PERL modules  which are publised under
: >: >>GPL license. I am not changing the code of these modules just
: >: >>using them.
: >: >>
: >: >>What is your opinion, how does these modules (under GPL)
: >: >>affect to my code licensing and the availability
: >: >>to my source code ?
: >: >
: >: > The GPL requires that your entire program be released under the terms
: >: > of the GPL.  The would mean that you are required to make the source
: >: > code available.  
: >: >
: >
: >Not exactly.

: Yes, exactly.

: For example:

:         Can I use the GPL for a plug-in for a non-free program?

:              If the program uses fork and exec to invoke plug-ins,
:              then the plug-ins are separate programs, so the license
:              for the main program makes no requirements for them. So
:              you can use the GPL for a plug-in, and there are no
:              special requirements.

:              If the program dynamically links plug-ins, and they make
                                          ^^^^^

"Link" is a technical term, which has quite specific meanings.  The above
paragraph can only apply if a court of law decides that perl "links"  when
a module is loaded.

Now notice that the perl documentation which discusses use, do, and
require, does not claim that this is in any way the equivalent of
"linking" as it is used in languages which have an explicit need to
"link".  Also notice that the representations of the data read and created
by perl when a module is loaded have many conceptual differences compared
to the data read and written by a traditional linker.  Finally, note that
the algorithms that perl must use when it loads a module are substantially
more complex, and encompass many steps for which a linker has nothing
comparible.

So why do you think that a judge would agree with your opinion that
loading a module fullfils the requirements of "linking" as layed out in
the licence?

:              function calls to each other and share data structures,
:              we believe they form a single program, so plug-ins must
:              be treated as extensions to the main program. This means
:              that linking the GPL-covered plug-in with the main
:              program would violate the GPL.

Please note that the GPL does not have any section that allows the various
"clarifications" from the FSF to be considered a part of the GPL.  In
other words, the FAQs from the FSF are merely their opinions on how the
GPL should be interpretted.  Those opinions do not bind any one in any way
because they are not in the contract!

: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html

Actually I have read it, and the various versions on numerous times.  

: >  If you derive code from GPL code or link your code to GPL
: >code then that is true.

: The situation here is that the guy has someone else's Perl module,
: which he wants to use in his program.  This is exactly the situation
: discussed above.

No,

<quote> If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the
Program, and can be reasonably considered independent and separate works
in themselves, then this License, and its terms, do **not apply** to those
sections when you distribute them as separate works. </quote>
         ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Its easy to distribute a perl program in pieces so the only question is
whether loading a module later falls under the definition of "linking".

In your opinion it does, but your opinion is not definitive.  As pointed
out above, the various documents from the FSF are not part of the GPL.
and therefore they too are merely opinions.

: If it were a separate program running in a separate process, it would
: be exempt, but it isn't, so it isn't.

: As you point out, the LGPL was designed to allow such things as
: dynamic linking of free libraries with non-free programs. This should
: have suggested to you that such uses are *not* allowed under the GPL,
: or there would have been no need for the LGPL in the first place.

On the contrary - it proves that even minor differcnes in technologies
make large pratical differences.  Therefore, the vast differences between
the perl loading and traditional linking means these should perhaps be
considered entirely different operations.

: >...questions, not answers...

: Except you began with "not exactly", which makes it sound like you
: have some idea what you're talking about.

It is logically impossible for any text except the GPL to assuredly mean
exactly what the GPL says.  Anything else is interpretation.  Until a
court decides the interpretation is valid then you should not assume it is
correct.

Have the ever heard of a politian who passes a law, and then a judge who
make an "unexpected" interpretation of the law when it is used?  It
happens all the time.  The FSF have an opinion on how the words of the GPL
should be interpreted, but that doesn't mean that that's the way it is.

: If you're really interested in the answers, you may want to consult
: the FSF's GPL FAQ, which addresses your questions in some detail.

As I noted, the FSF's answers are not answers, they are opinions which are
not part of the GPL contract.

You should not think that the GPL protects you the way you think it does.



Sat, 28 Feb 2004 19:55:45 GMT  
 PERL modules and GPL license

Quote:

>The GPL philosofy says :
>'Free software is about freedom, and enforcing the GPL is defending freedom.'

>I wonder that. If you decide to use modules under GPL you
>do not have the freedom to choose if you want or not
>release the source code.

You have the freedom to not include the module at all.
Then you can release your program any way you want.

The author of the module has decided that he does not want to help you
(by giving you the source) unless you are willing to help the free
software community (by giving back the source of your own project.)

If you don't want to be part of the free software community, that is
your free choice.  But then you shouldn't whine about how the
community won't help you.

Quote:
>This is very sad :(

rd
($p{$_})&6];$p{$_}=/ ^$P/ix?$P:close$_}keys%p}p;p;p;p;p;map{$p{$_}=~/^[P.]/&&
close$_}%p;wait until$?;map{/^r/&&<$_>}%p;$_=$d[$q];sleep rand(2)if/\S/;print


Sun, 29 Feb 2004 09:01:40 GMT  
 PERL modules and GPL license

Quote:

>"Link" is a technical term, which has quite specific meanings.  

I find it difficult to respond to this article, because you seem make
several logically inconsistent arguments at several different places.

For example, you spend a lot of time nitpicking about the meaning of
the word 'link', but you later say that the exact meaning of the word
'link' is irrelevant, because it doesn't appear in the license.

You also seem to say that the license has no meaning at all unless
there is a body of case law showing how it has held up in court.  If
you really believe that, there's not much point in continuing this
discussion until there is some case law.  But I'll just point out that
people write contracts all the time and have a pretty good idea of
what they mean *before* they go to court; most documents *do* have
agreed-upon meanings.

Finally, in a probably vain attempt to bring this discussion back from
the mystery universe where nothing means what it appears to: You spend
a lot of time arguing that maybe the 'separate works' clause applies
to a Perl module.  But it's the opinion of the FSF's lawyer that it
doesn't apply, and this argument will *not* hold up in court.

Says Stallman, in a similar context:

        It seemed to me at the time that it was [lawful], following
        reasoning like what you are using; but since the result was
        very undesirable for free software, I said I would have to ask
        the lawyer.

        What the lawyer said surprised me; he said that judges would
        consider such schemes to be "subterfuges" and would be very
        harsh toward them.  He said a judge would ask whether it is
        "really" one program, rather than how it is labeled.

I'm sure that you can make a wonderful argument about the slipperyness
of the concept of "one program", and whether it's "really one program"
or not, and how you can't be sure what that really means, wah wah wah,
just like a sophomore philosophy major, but if Sammi's program doesn't
work without the GPL module, the judge is not going to swallow your
sophistry.  Or so is my belief, and, apparently, the belief of the FSF
lawyer.

You may not agree, and of course the lawyer might be wrong.  But
whether you agree or not, there is not much point in continuing the
discussion.

I must say though, that if I were in Sammi's position, I would not
want to take the risk that I would be exposed to liability because I
had taken the advice of some random guy name Malcolm who said that
nobody knew what the license meant, when there was an available legal
opinion that said otherwise.

rd
($p{$_})&6];$p{$_}=/ ^$P/ix?$P:close$_}keys%p}p;p;p;p;p;map{$p{$_}=~/^[P.]/&&
close$_}%p;wait until$?;map{/^r/&&<$_>}%p;$_=$d[$q];sleep rand(2)if/\S/;print



Sun, 29 Feb 2004 09:34:25 GMT  
 PERL modules and GPL license
On 11 Sep 2001 07:12:02 -0700,

Quote:



>> >We are planning to distribute the code as binary
>> >version only, but without license payments.

>>                 http://www.fsf.org/philosophy/selling.html
> The GPL philosofy says :
> 'Free software is about freedom, and enforcing the GPL is defending freedom.'

> I wonder that. If you decide to use modules under GPL you
> do not have the freedom to choose if you want or not
> release the source code.

As mentioned elsewhere in this thread, you are free to contact the
author. It is not unheard of that special licenses have been drawn up
for particular projects, which are different from the license that the
project normally comes under.

Quote:
> I think that there is alot of programmers who must
> do the whole work again, because they do not want or
> can not release their source code some reason or other.
> This is very sad :(

If someone writes code, and decides that she wants to make this code
available, for free, then she also has the right to refuse to let you
use it in any other way than the one she intended it to be used.

Some people/companies elect to not provide source code, and most of the
people with this attitude also slap all kinds of other prohibitions on
the distribution and use of the binary code.

Others elect to provide source for free, and to enforce the provision of
this source code.

I, personally, find the first attitude much sadder than the second. For
obvious reasons. This is not a fsf advocacy group, there are other
groups for that, but you'll most likely find many people here who feel a
strong sympathy for the open source movements.

Martien
--
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Interactive Media Division      | Begin at the beginning and go on till
Commercial Dynamics Pty. Ltd.   | you come to the end; then stop.
NSW, Australia                  |



Sun, 29 Feb 2004 11:03:07 GMT  
 PERL modules and GPL license
[ Sorry, I could not get the correct message to reply to from my
  provider's news server; I found this on groups.google.com. This


Quote:
> Almost everything in the CPAN says "distributed under the same
> licensing terms as Perl itself".  If that's the case, it's under both
> the GPL and the AL.  The GPL would (likely) not permit you to do what
> you ask, but the AL certainly would, as long as you don't call the
> result "Perl".

> This is one of the coolest things about the Perl CPAN... we can indeed
> do nearly everything we want to do. :)

I've been wondering about this for some time: how can the GPL coexist
with any other license in a statement like "may be distributed under
the same terms as Perl itself"?

| Perl may be copied only under the terms of either the Artistic
| License or the GNU General Public License, which may be found in
| the Perl 5 source kit.

I thought that once a program has been distributed under the GPL once,
you would have to stick to the GPL. So who can choose which licence
such a module is distributed with? The author? The distributor? The user?

A hypothetical case:

Somebody ports perl to a new OS and decides to distribute this perl
version under the GPL (and no mention about the AL). Perl's licence
would allow him to do that, I think. If I was going to use a module
with this perl version that had a note about being "distributed under
the same terms as Perl itself", would I *have* to use it under the GPL,
or could I still take the AL?

In other words, could anybody get me in trouble because *they* chose
the GPL when they distributed such a module (or perl itself) to me,
but *I* was using it under the AL?

cheers,
stefan



Sun, 29 Feb 2004 11:57:58 GMT  
 
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10. Perl Licensing

11. What is the licensing impact of using Perl 5 extended regex in a standalone program

12. What is the licensing impact of using Perl 5 extended regex in a standalone program

 

 
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