SL Baur writes:
??? Do you mean Darl McBride of SCO?
He lost it all.
My point is precisely that even that a**h*** could have won if he'd
had the right docs. Unfortunately for him, they didn't exist.
> > I would also argue that any bit of Emacs Lisp code is
> > a derived work and hence GPL
> Nope. You can attack that on two grounds. First, the FSF claims it
> *is* a derived work, but that depends on the legal theory that dynamic
> linking infects the source code which does not contain a copy of any
> GPLed work. Many lawyers disagree, and it has *never* been tested in
> court. Personally, I think if it were, the GPL would become
> redundant, because the court would decide that legally it means the
> same thing as the LGPL. But that's just an opinion.
Roses are red
Violets are blue
I am confused
and so are you
I'm not talking about linking. I'm talking about Emacs
Lisp designed to be loaded into the XEmacs editor.
So am I. If it's code written from scratch, then either
(1) it is just input to be processed by a GPL program at runtime, and
the GPL makes it very clear that in that case there are no
obligations on the distributor of the "input", or
(2) it is derivative of the functions in (X)Emacs that it calls.
Since those functions (ie, the implementing code) are not in the
code written from scratch, they must be invoked, not copied, at
runtime, and thus this claim depends on the dynamic linking
Do you think that someone could invent a web browser
implemented in Emacs Lisp, distribute it and get away
with only supplying .elcs and no source code?
No, because it would be very hard to write such a thing without
including byte-compiled expansions of macros, and those expansions do
contain copyrighted XEmacs code.
On the other hand, I think you could get away with distributing the
.els under a proprietary license, at least if the courts enforce the
law as written.
And continuing on the example above, in the SPECIFIC
case of dynamically linked .sos with XEmacs, I think they
are also derived works and must be considered GPL.
None of the non-FSF lawyers I've talked to (including Larry Lessig and
Larry Rosen) agree with you (at least not at the time I talked with
them last, which in Lessig's case was about 4 years ago; he'd also had
two glasses of wine by then). They are derived works only if they
contain XEmacs code *or* are distributed as part of XEmacs. Referring
to XEmacs code (eg, by referencing variables or invoking functions or
subrs) is not "containing XEmacs code".
Note that XEmacs, because it is free software, does not have the out
of saying "these interfaces are internal, and we do not license their
use". Thus all XEmacs interfaces are public. Calling a public
interface has never been considered "derivation", because calling an
interface is not copyrightable---if there's only one way to do it,
it's not a matter of expression.
I wouldn't be willing to try this in most cases, though, because
there's a way in which *lots* of "expressive" code is almost sure to
end up in your .so, and once again that's *macros*.
> Second, the GPL quite clearly disclaims any such thing as an
> GPLing of a work. If you distribute a GPL derivative without GPLing
> it, then you lose all your GPL rights to the original. But your work
> does not become GPL unless you say so, with the consequence that if
> you don't, both you and all your downstream must stop redistributing
> those parts of the work that are yours.
I disagree. But then, I am not a lawyer, nor have I paid a
lawyer to give me an opinion on this issue.
I don't see why you think you'd need to. The GPL itself states those
things explicitly (although not all in the same context).
If Ben had been "happy to relicense" anything that would
be useful, why was he so adamant with me when I was
trying to make peace with Stallman?
There's a big difference between relicensing under a very similar
license, and assigning your copyright. Are you sure Ben wasn't
resisting the latter?
As far as rewriting the docs goes, can't you just take a
snapshot of the time when the FSF docs were license
compatible and create a new document while relicensing
the XEmacs-specific bits?
Sure. But IIRC, the FSF released 20.1 with its docs under the GFDL in
1998 or so, and for sure 21.1 was released with docs under GFDL in
Oct. 2001. I hardly think that's useful.
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