Re: [R] How can you buy R?

From: Berwin A Turlach <berwin_at_maths.uwa.edu.au>
Date: Tue 23 May 2006 - 19:31:07 EST

G'day Deepayan,

>>>>> "DS" == Deepayan Sarkar <deepayan.sarkar@gmail.com> writes:

    DS> On 5/22/06, Berwin A Turlach <berwin@maths.uwa.edu.au> wrote:     DS> [...]

>> [...] Should perhaps better be formulated as:
>>
>> My understanding was that in that moment a product was created
>> that would have to be wholly under the GPL, so the person who
>> did the linking was violating the GPL and it is not clear
>> whether anyone is allowed to use the linked product.

    DS> I think you are still missing the point. [...] Quite possible, as I said early on IANAL. And these discussion really starts to remind me too much of those that I read in gnu.misc.discuss. Since I never participated in them, I don't see why I should here. And that group is probably a better forum to discuss all these issues. If some of the guys who always tried to argue that they found a way to circumvent the GPL are still hanging around, I am sure they are happy if you come along and confirm that according to your understanding of the GPL eveything they are doing is o.k.. :)

    DS> The act of creating a derivative work is NOT governed by the     DS> GPL,
Yes, as a part of the GPL that I quoted earlier states. it is the (local?) copyright law which defines when a derivative work is created. The GPL just stipulates under which licence this derivative work has to be.

    DS> so it cannot possibly by itself violate the GPL. Fair enough. There are probably several people in gnu.misc.discuss who would be happy to hear this. :)

    DS> The question of violation only applies when the creator of
    DS> this derivative work wishes to _distribute_ it. This is like
    DS> me writing a book that no one else ever reads; it doesn't
    DS> matter if I have plagiarized huge parts of it. This point is
    DS> not as academic as you might think.
Hey, I work in an academic environment, so it is hard to imagine that I would view any point as being too academic. :)
    DS> It is well known that Google uses a customized version of
    DS> Linux for their servers; however, they do not distribute this
    DS> customized version, and hence are under no obligation to
    DS> provide the changes (and they do not, in fact). This is NOT a
    DS> violation of the GPL.

I agree and would have never claimed anything different. You are stating the obvious here.

>> [...] If one scenario is not on, I don't see how the other one
>> could be acceptable either. Except that in the first scenario
>> there is a clear intend of circumventing the GPL. [...]
    DS> That's your choice, but the situations are not symmetric, and     DS> quite deliberately so.
That's why I studied mathematics and not law. I readily accept that there is some logic in law, it is just that I never "got" it. For me, if I make someone else link a GPL product P with a non-GPL product Q, then this is the same, whether I was the provider of P or Q.

    DS> The FSF's plan was not to produce a completely independent and
    DS> fully functional 'GNU system' at once (which would be
    DS> unrealistic), but rather produce replacements of UNIX tools
    DS> one by one. It was entirely necessary to allow these new
    DS> versions to operate within the older, proprietary system.
Wasn't your argument above, in response to the scenario that I was describing, that it is not necessary to explicitly allow this because "a user can never violate the GPL"? As long as you operate on a proprietary system and not distributing anything, why would there all of a sudden be a problem?

    DS> In fact, GCC was not the first piece of software released     DS> under the GPL,
My guess is that the first piece of software released under the GPL was Emacs, but it is quite likely that I will be corrected on this point.

    DS> and until then the only way to use GPL software was to compile     DS> them using a non-free compiler.
I know, I have compiled a lot of GPL software with non GCC compilers; and I have been using GCC when it was still standing for GNU C Compiler. But thanks for the history lesson anyhow. :)

Cheers,

        Berwin



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