GPL really free was Re: [Fsfe-ie] 1-page letter, faxes at the ready (IFSO, irish org)

Ciaran O'Riordan ciaran at
Fri Sep 26 16:43:48 CEST 2003

On Fri, Sep 26, 2003 at 09:54:59AM +0100, Aidan Delaney wrote:
> I personally don't like things like Open Source or the LGPL.

LGPL is a clever tactical move by FSF, remember that they advise
people to use it only in very special circumstances:

If glibc was GPL'd, proprietary companies would have two choices,
either GPL their software or write their own libc.

Oracle is not going to GPL their database, and it's not going to
stay away from GNU/Linux.  They would make their own libc, and
they'd sell it to other proprietary companies.  The end result
being that the proprietary apps are available for GNU/Linux, and
glibc loses relevence.

With LGPL, proprietary apps are available for GNU/Linux, but glibc
remains the standard, and any changes made to glibc by proprietary
companies still have to be contributed back.

To application developers, libc, not the kernel, is the core of an
OS.  We don't need a split at the core.

> Ian correctly pointed out that goverment legislation that _forces_
> the use of Free Software negates the whole idea of freedom.

I would have no problem if the govt required software companies to
give users the permissions that Free Software ensures.  It would
simply be a consumer protection law.  But I don't see this
happening in the next decade, so a discussion would be moot.

> It's leagal  
> status is debatable (and not wholly of interest to me).

I'm a legaly-interested fellow, there's currently no valid claim
that GPL is not enforceable.

A question of it's legality came from an M$-funded german legal
group.  Their claims were brain dead.  They said it wasn't
inforceable because it disclaimed warranty but it actually
diclaims warranty "to the maximum extent permitted by law".

Another group brought up the european issue of "Moral Rights" with
similar brain dead content.  It's just part of the larger FUD

anyway, must dash, I've just received a mail that says I've won an
award, and it's in all caps so it must be important...

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