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License Cocktail With GPL In Doom 159

Rob wrote in to say: "There is an interesting news item on Doomworld about all the different licenses under which the sourceports of Doom are distributed -- at once! According to this article, some source ports use up to three different licenses, among them the GPL. So doesn't this make it GPL'd? But what about the other licenses? Do the authors have to stick to a single license and dispose of code which is covered by another license?"
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License Cocktail with GPL in Doom

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  • The copyright holders are under no obligation to enfoce the GPL. Seriously, which of the Doom software authors is going to sue?

    The GPL in this respect tends to be used the way that large corporations use patants. Basically, everyone treads on everyone else's feet, and if one calls in the lawyers, so do all the others. Think about the situation rather than just stating what the text says. Also bear in mind that the in-court strength of the GPL has yet to be properly tested.
    John
  • The way I see it, software licenses are like blood groups - different blood groups are incompatible and must be kept separate (or else all sorts of Bad Things happen), and the same is true for licences.

    your way of thinking about it will avoid conflicts between licenses, but it doesn't cover the whole space of possibilities. For example, BSD licensed code may be incorporated into a GPL'ed project and that formerly BSD'ed code may be released under a GPL license. This is not a problem to the proponents of the BSD license because they don't believe in restricting what licensees can do. The BSD way of thinking is, "it's allowed, that makes it OK."

  • Heres an interesting question.

    If linking a program to a library makes it a derivative work, then does linking a web page to another make it one?

    The most obvious answer is no, but then is linking making a derivative work, or isn't it?
  • And what defines 'integral system libraries'.

    Anything that is commonly available on the target platform would be considered 'integral'.

    ie: Sun libc... sun socket library...

    Or Mandrake QT (on mandrake)
    Or... get the picture? non-gpl librraries are fine as long as they are generally available on the author's desired target. So if he is wrigint software and saying 'this is for Mandrake 7.1' then the fact that non-gpl libraries are required to make it work under debian is moot.. that's not what he's distributing.
  • .. a lot of people arguing about what is best,
    the BSD or GPL -license.

    The truth, I feel, is that neither is better.
    You use it for different purposes.

    I resent all arguments that the GPL is viral,
    or like a "straightjacket".
    If you don't like the license, tough luck.

    You use the BSD license if:
    You want everyone to have an almost unlimited
    amount of freedom when using your code.
    This includes yourself.
    It might suit you if you want to release binary-only products, while still being able to
    use other peoples modifications.
    The drawback is that others can just grab your
    code, and release binary-only products as well.
    Think about Windows 2000 containing large amounts
    of BSD-code.

    You use the GPL license if:
    You want the software to be open, period!
    You don't want anyone to include it in their closed-source projects.
    If they modifiy it, they should damn well give
    something back.
    The drawback is that you yourself, won't be able
    to use the contributions from others in a closed-source project.

    Some people (like myself) want to make sure that
    noone modifies and releases something based on
    my code, without giving anything back.
    That is the whole POINT behind the GPL.
    If you feel it is like a straightjacket, don't use my code. It is very simple, actually.
  • and they can even go make a *billion* dollars off it without showing me a red cent, or even telling me.

    Versus the GPL which will show you a red cent and obligates people to inform you of anything?

    I've got news for you... RedHat, VA etc have already made a billion dollars, and had no obligation to show anyone else jack.

    The only difference between the GPL and BSD is that the BSD has more freedom to the recipient. There is no economic advantage to the creator either way.


    --

  • Uh.. no..
    we're talking, unless I'm mistaken, about 3 different releases of the doom source under 3 different licenses.... not half under one, and half under another..
  • Everyone here is saying "you can't do this or that with GPL'd software."
    As I understand it, the GPL does have a way for you to do any of these things: Ask the author.

    Under the GPL (IIRC), the author retains full rights to amend the licencing, or grant a specific licence to someone.

    If you want to include some GPL code in a non-GPL project, write a nice letter to the author, asking permission. If the author agrees with your reasons for your request, and approves of the licence you plan to use, there's every possibility he'll release it to you, say under the licence you want to use.

    Of course, if the author doesn't agree, it's a fair bet that you're wanting to do something that that the author was specifically trying to stop you doing anyway when he put it into GPL....
  • According to this article, some source ports use up to three different licenses, among them the GPL. So doesn't this make it GPL'd? But what about the other licenses? Do the authors have to stick to a single license and dispose of code which is covered by another license?

    Congratulations Rob, you've managed to figure out RMS's most nagging anti-(insert commercial linux dist here) arguments.

    Nicely put, too -- maybe the "post first, read laters" around here will start to get it too.
    --
  • Using the same word doesn't make them equivalent.

    A hyperlink is just an address, the current document is still there whether the linked one exists or not. A statically linked program contains everything it's linked to. In the case of dynamic linking, the linked material must be present or the program won't run at all.
  • This already exists in

    Open Sources
    Voices from the Open Source Revolution
    Edited by Chris DiBona, Sam Ockman & Mark Stone
    1st Edition January 1999
    1-56592-582-3, Order Number: 5823
    280 pages, $24.95
    http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/opensources/

    In either the chapter

    The Open Source Definition
    Bruce Perens

    or in

    Freeing the Source: The Story of Mozilla
    Jim Hamerly and Tom Paquin with Susan Walton

  • I have tried to find the answer to this question before, but to no avail. What happens if you have a program that is made up of 5 libraries. In order to fully run the program, you need all 5. They use each other's header files and binaries. I GPL 2/5. Is this legal? What happens when I use a library, such as GnuPG, in a commercial non-GPL app?
  • by The Dodger ( 10689 ) on Friday June 16, 2000 @03:32AM (#998319) Homepage

    [..]some source ports use up to 3 different licenses, among them the GPL. So doesn't this make it GPL'd?

    This doesn't sound right to me. If someone takes two pieces of code, one GPL and one which isn't GPL (but is open source), and sticks them together into one program, the GPL can't infect the other code, no matter what the GPL itself says.

    What's happening in that situation, is the the person who used both sets of code in the one program would be guilty of violating at least the GPL, and possibly both licences.

    In my opinion, actually, this "feature" of the GPL (i.e. it's incompatibility with other licences, due to it's viral nature) goes against the spirit of the free software/open source movement. It's supposed to liberate us from having to worry about software licensing and so on, rather than restricting what we can do with it.

    It seems to me sometimes that people regard the GPL as being something holy and untouchable, but I believe that given the way in which the economy is changing and so on, such things should be critically reviewed on a regular basis.


    D.

  • > The only way around this (that I can see) would be to convince the author of the GPL'ed ...

    Or _be_ the author ;-)

    > I would prefer to see more people releasing their code under the BSD license.

    Me too. Although for newcomers to "free" licenses, I would reccomend the GPL at first if they are unsure, since if you later decide i'ts not right for you, you can re-release as BSD. You cannot however do it the other way around.
  • by FascDot Killed My Pr ( 24021 ) on Friday June 16, 2000 @03:32AM (#998321)
    ...human speech is no good as input to a computer.

    There are a lot of confused people out there. Let's draw some distinctions.

    1) The Perl Example: Perl is distributed under two licenses, the GPL and the "Artistic License". The ENTIRETY of Perl is under BOTH of these licenses.

    2) The Ghostscript) Example: Ghostscript is distributed under two licenses, the GPL (IIRC) and a commercial one. However, any given copy of ghostscript is only covered under ONE license. The newest version is commercial, all previous versions are GPL'd. So say the newest version is 10.3. If I get 10.3 from them, I have a commercial license. But if I get 10.2 from them, it is GPL'd.

    3) The I Can't Think Of One Example: There are packages out there (and unfortunately I can't think of one right now) where it is released under different licenses depending on, for instance, the platform you are going to run on. So the Linux version is GPL'd but the Windows version is commercial. This is similar to the Ghostscript Example--only one license applies to each copy of the software.

    Notice that none of these examples are like hypothetical software S: S is a package containing 100 source files. 50 of the source files are GPL'd, 25 of them are BSD'd and 25 of them are commercially licensed. AFAIK, the GPL doesn't allow this. My interpretation of this situation is that the 50 files would be considered a "work" and the full 100 would be a "derivative"--so the sets of 25 would have to be GPL'd as well.

    All that said, what does it mean exactly, that "Doom is released under multiple licenses"?
    --
    Compaq dropping MAILWorks?
  • by TheDullBlade ( 28998 ) on Friday June 16, 2000 @03:32AM (#998322)
    You can't mix GPL'd code with non-GPL'd code in the same compile and/or link. You can't even dynamically link non-GPL'd code to GPL'd code (though you can to LGPL'd). Of course, there's this whole fuzzy area about what is "mere aggregation" and what is linking, like plug-ins, pipes, and running one program in another. While there are common interpretations (pipes, running = okay, plug-ins = controversial, but probably okay), I think it's very open to argument in a court of law.

    Example: a proprietary program, the binary of which contains a compressed archive of a GPL'd program binary. When run, it extracts the GPL'd binary to a temporary directory, runs it, uses the results, and then gets rid of the extracted binary.

    GPL violation? I'm stumped.
  • John Carmack changed the license that Doom is under on Oct 3, 1999 from the original Doom license to the GPL. IMO, that makes Doom GPL and the old license null and void. All of this is coming out, though, due to csDoom which is using the Doom source but is not releasing their sources. http://csdoom.sourceforge.com.
  • Spot on. Also, this is more of an issue here in the UK because so few of us have high speed access. The cover CD's on magazine's (such as Linux Format) are a far more valuable resource than in the US.

  • Actually, ZDoom (and hence CSDoom, Skulltag etc) contains code from
    • The original Doom release, under the original license.
    • Heretic and Hexen, under the Activision license.
    That's two, which is enough to cause havoc. Incidentally, ZDoom has a checkered history regarding the inclusion of other code - in one particularly nasty incident, Lee Killough (primarily responsible for Boom [teamtnt.com], the foundation of most ports including ZDoom) saw code from his MBF port (which he later did, independantly of TeamTNT although based upon Boom) that was not credited.

    I think the vast majority concerned (and I'm talking about the Doom community here) agree that the code in ZDoom is a real mess when it comes to licensing and attributing sources.

  • Actually, wouldn't it depend on whether Stephen had the GPL virus when Lucy was concieved? If his DNA was Proprietary at her conception, then her DNA should be Propriatry too, regardless of Stephen's current License state. What about Catherine's DNA? Does Lucy automatically inherit Cross-Licensing Rights from both parents? What if Catherine's DNA is under the BSD license? And does Lucy have to sign an NDA when she reaches legal age, or does she automatically receive her own License? Which license? Does she get to choose her own? Since her DNA is unique (though a Derivate Work of both parents') does she retain an Exclusive License? Is it Transferrable? Is it Revokable? Inquiring minds want to know.

    --Jim
  • Not fraud at all. The GPL is just a "General Public License". In fact, the FSF encourages people to use the fully qualified term "GNU GPL" to avoid this exact problem.

    Now, if somebody released something under a modified GPL and called it the "GNU GPL", I'd be pretty wary.

    Of course, IANAL.


    ---
    Zardoz has spoken!
  • I could not, for instance, distribute binaries that are linked against non-GPL libraries... unless (and this is a big unless) those libraries are a common, standard part of the OS. And this *is* an important point.

    You can use GPL software on a Solaris box, where everything is linked against libc... even though libc is proprietary, closed-source Sun code.

    It has nothing to do with whether the code is part of the OS or not.

    As I understand it, there's nothing in the GPL that prevents the GPL'd program from linking against proprietary libraries. The libraries are not considered a derivative work. However, if a closed-source program links against GPL'd code, such as a GPL'd library (not LGPL'd), that is illegal. The restrictions are one-way.


    ---
    Zardoz has spoken!
  • Larry Wall tells an amusing story of how he "hacked the licesnse war" by distributing Perl under the GPL and the Artistic License at the same time. Now if only I could remember the URL...

    Charles Miller
    --
  • It better not. If it was distributed under something else other than the GPL originally, I would hope that you couldn't just 'usurp' the original licence - and its intentions - by declaring something to be GPLed, and the retroactive contagious effect to the other ports.

    Or I might port a GPL product to a new platform and release it under a commercial licence. And decide that retroactively, all copies of, say, gcc, are covered by this. I realise this is a simplification, yes. But it's in effect what you're hinting at (being CmdrTaco). And that's A Bad Thing(TM), if it is the Sacred Object Known As The GPL. :)

    Freedom is fine. Proprietarisation is fine. I don't think any licence should be able to 'infect' anothers. Especially not retroactively.

  • As long as it's really GPL and not LGPL it should make the game free :*)
  • I'd have to say....... who cares? No one's making money off of the code any more, the game is still fun, people can use it. Make it all GPL, or partially GPL, or not GPL at all. People will still use it, have some fun, and perhaps laugh at the graphics a little. Aren't licenses the biggest pain?!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Remember the days when nobody cared about "licenses" and 'GPL' and other programming related politics? I miss those days.
  • Maybe. But the assumption in your statement is that the first modification was made was under the GPL. Not another licence, and the GPL following it...
  • But of course, as he who owns the code chooses the licence, Rob could distribute the code under GPL+CT 2.x, without that specific clause...

    Am I correct?

  • You'd think they'd check the licences before they decided to include the code... I suppose that is too much to ask for. If all three licences conflict, I think there are only a few options. The project could be torn apart and completely scrapped, or a court battle could emerge over the terms of the licenses. Who knows, this could turn into the court case that challenges the GPL.
  • Extremely open. GPL doesn't have a superiority over other licences, even if clauses inserted into it try to make code you link in 'become' GPL.
  • but the GPL is clear. If someone modified the GPL'd Doom and someone else took these change and put them in a non-GPL'd Doom thi is a violation of the GPL and the guy that write this code can sue. I am not talking of Carmack here, given that Doom itself was released under many licenses but of the hypothetical guy that would havemodified Doom under the GPL.
  • by XoXus ( 12014 ) on Friday June 16, 2000 @03:35AM (#998339)
    A license is something that declares the rights of whoever receives the release. Thus, if some code merely sits on my harddrive, there is no concept of it being "GPL'd".

    Likewise, I could release it separately under 3 different licenses. Of course, only 1 license applies to you when you download it... it's just a matter of determining which license you've selected (for example, different links, or different tarballs).

    Now technically speaking, since Carmack released the Doom source code into the public domain (forgive me if I'm wrong about that), then I can take the code, burn it onto a CD, and release it under whatever license I like -- and it's perfectly legal. There aren't any "conflicting licenses", since public domain releases are (by definition) unlicensed.

    I wish people would stop saying "I want you to GPL ThisSoftware", or "is that software GPL'd?". You should be saying things like "that software has been released under the GPL".
  • This is correct, and it is because the GPL is, by design, meant to be viral. Stallman wanted the GPL to be this way. That is why the LGPL was created-- so that there is a choice of non-viral license for entities that wanted to make a non-GPL'd product that lionks to the open source C library from the FSF.

    Thus, the blood group analogy is well-taken.
  • But how do you define "public domain"? The point of licences is to unambiguously tell people what they can and cannot do with the software. The phrase "public domain" may be interpreted in different ways by different people, therefore some form of licensing is necessary to clarify the situation. The pre-prepared BSD and GPL licenses provide a simple way for people to put a license with their code.
  • This is a point I've wondered about concerning the GPL... Where is the threshold? If I have a large commercial app and add 20 lines of GPL'd code (let's say not even an entire function) then there is no way that anyone can reasonably expect that I then just give away the whole app under GPL. If I start with, say, Doom under GPL and add 20 lines then I would expect that I am ethically obligated to give my work, my intellectual product, away. Now you can move those proportions closer together and argue either way. Is there a consensus on this issue.

  • What happens if you have a program that is made up of 5 libraries. In order to fully run the program, you need all 5. They use each other's header files and binaries. I GPL 2/5. Is this legal?

    Nope - if they link against each other, they must all be GPL'ed (unless either all the GPL'ed libs or all the non GPL'ed libs are integral system libraries such as libc)

    What happens when I use a library, such as GnuPG, in a commercial non-GPL app?

    You can't - but that's what the LGPL is for. It's basically the same as the GPL but allows linking to non-GPL code.
    --
  • I came across this [softpanorama.org] the other day when I was trying to differentiate between some of the licenses. It's not what you mention but it is definitely helpful.

    ------
    IanO
  • It's not *a* general public license, it's *THE* General Public License, and with the TLA "GPL" it's even more clear what is meant. One cannot, I would expect, sell an x86 CPU in a SPARC box merely because the x86 is (somewhat) scalable and is a processor architecture. Of course, neither of us are lawyers (thank god), so I guess our speculatiopns aren't worth much.
  • You're a bit confused here about how copyrights work. You're assuming that everything is public domain by default, which is simply wrong. Everything is copyrighted by default. If you don't read a license that lets you copy it, such as the GPL, you have no right to copy it at all. That's how the GPL is different from shrink-wrap licenses, because the GPL gives you more rights instead of taking them away.
    --
    No more e-mail address game - see my user info. Time for revenge.
  • Maybe. But the assumption in your statement is that the first modification was made was under the GPL.

    Yes, I said that I didn't knew about the other licenses, so all i can comment on is when cod ethat was done in a Doom project under the GPL is included in a non-GPL Doom project.

  • Uhm, no, GPL'd programs can link against any libraries that allow it. It's non-GPL programs that can't link against GPL libraries.

  • Comments along the lines of "who cares, it's old code, no-one's making any money on it anymore" are both illegal and unfair to the owner of the code.


    Actually, such comments are not inherently illegal. In fact, assuming for a minute that you live in the United States, such comments are expressly LEGAL under the First Amendment to the Constitution.

    -----

  • I know... I just took it upon myself to 'clarify', or comment. :) Slap me if you wish :)
  • Really? I'd never heard that. Also, /usr/doc/glibc-doc/copyright on my system says
    "This is the Debian prepackaged version of the GNU C Library version 2.1.2.

    [...]
    The GNU C Library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU Library General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version."
    What was your source of that information?
  • That's not what I meant.

    When someone says "in this case, GPL infects this other thing" that means "in this case, you must place this other thing under the GPL, or you are in violation of the GPL, and therefor have no permission to redistribute." If some part is under another such licence (like X or Berk.), that means you must remove one or the other, or you've lost the licence to redistribute and you're violating copyright.

    If you make and distribute a proprietary product that links in GPL'd code, it's a copyright violation, pure and simple.

    Clauses insterted into it don't "try to make code you link 'become' GPL", they deny you that use of the code unless you GPL the code you link.
  • Okay. I read back and realised I'd misinterpreted it, with a few other comments around stating what I was talking about.

    Nullification of said entities is much better from all perspectives. Make authors, etc, deal with the problem, rather than leaving ambiguity.


  • that's what it means, as i understood it. if programmer A links GPL code with code that's under an incompatible license, he/she is the one at fault, and he isn't even allowed to distribute the resultant work, as he has certainly violated one of the code licences...
  • You'd think they'd check the licences before they decided to include the code...

    I've seen this phrase before, methinks, as "You'd think they'd check all the return codes from system calls-- don't they even think about security?" This ignores the basic fact tham many people who are coding don't care (about security, licensing, or other /. topic of the day).

    I guess the solution would be some high-profile enforcement of these licensing terms-- however, many open source or free software projects (pick your term based on current politics), although they care deeply about the license used, don't have the time/inclination/budget/resources to have a follow-on licensing enforcement group.
  • Although for newcomers to "free" licenses, I would reccomend the GPL at first if they are unsure, since if you later decide i'ts not right for you, you can re-release as BSD. You cannot however do it the other way around.

    Why do people have such a hard time grasping this? That's not true! If you own the code and you release it as GPL, you can still go back and rerelease it under a completely different license (commercial closed-source, even) The one thing you can't do is revoke all the other GPL'ed versions out there - they are out for good. But you can prevent new versions from being released.

    Basically, if you own the code, you can keep releasing it under different licenses any way you choose.
    --
  • I've seen conflicting arguments here, but I have a case where I'm considering using GPL code in a PHP application, and I'm wondering how it may affect me.

    I want to use GPL code in a closed-source application.. I do not want to open up the source to the rest of my project, but have no problems with giving credit to the GPL author's code where it appears on the page. I'm getting the impression though that this would violate the GPL, and I would be forced either to a) open up my code under GPL or b) stop using the GPL code. Is this correct?

    Thanks,
  • Doesn't that therefore make commercial apps for linux a violation? They are linking against linux (GPL's) libs....
  • If someone wanted to link to GPL code without using the GPL for their work, could they make a wrapper library which calls the code they want, make dynamically, release it as LGPL and then dynamically link their code to that wrapper library?
    Molog

    So Linus, what are we doing tonight?

  • Oh maybe they've changed it back. I remember reading the license for 2.something, and it was GPL+exceptions, this was pointed out to me by a guy at Yggdrasil. They might have changed their mind since then, but I remember RMS making a comment about this not so long ago.
  • If I have a large commercial app and add 20 lines of GPL'd code (let's say not even an entire function) then there is no way that anyone can reasonably expect that I then just give away the whole app under GPL.

    No, but it is reasonable to expect you to remove the GPL'ed code, which you are using in a way which goes against the wishes of the author, and rewrite those 20 lines yourself.
    --
  • Of course, there is a line in the GPL which keeps you from being able to attach any extra restrictions to the license. I've known of a few places, Slashdot being one of them, who have tried to violate that, probably unknowingly. For instance, take a look at the code page for Slashdot, and notice where Rob says you have to link back to Slashdot.

    There's no violation there at all. Since Rob originally wrote the code, he gets to choose the license it's released under, and his license of choice was "GPL with an extra you-must-link-to-slashdot condition". What that line (clause 6 in the GPL) says is that if you recevied a work licensed under the GPL, then you may not add additional restrictions. That's not the case here. No one has ever received the slash code under the vanilla GPL. Interestingly, that makes the slash licence incompatible with the GPL. Mixing slash code with code licensed under the vanilla GPL would be in violation of one of the licenses (which one would depend on whether you insisted on the extra clause or not).

  • Changing the license in 1999 only affects new releases of the source code after that date. Previous distributions will still be under their old licenses. Of course, you would probably just go and replace your old distribution with the new GPL'd code, but just because a particular distribution is GPL'd doesn't retroactively change all of the others.

  • If someone wanted to link to GPL code without using the GPL for their work, could they make a wrapper library which calls the code they want, make dynamically, release it as LGPL and then dynamically link their code to that wrapper library?

    Interesting... but I don't think it would work. You're still linking non-GPL'ed code to GPL'ed code, which is explicitly forbidden in the GPL.
    --
  • Doesn't that therefore make commercial apps for linux a violation? They are linking against linux (GPL's) libs....

    There's a clause in the GPL which allows non-GPL'ed and GPL'ed code to play nice together if one of them is an integral system library (such as libc.) This is also what allows GPL'ed code for Win32.
    --

  • A nice overview. However, it suffers from the apparently all too common misconception that the BSD license still includes the advertisement clause. It does not. The BSD license no longer includes the advertisement clause. There is no advertisement clause in the BSD license.

    Please refer to ftp://ftp.cs.berkeley.edu/pub/4bsd/README.Impt.Lic ense.Change :

    July 22, 1999

    To All Licensees, Distributors of Any Version of BSD:

    As you know, certain of the Berkeley Software Distribution ("BSD") source
    code files require that further distributions of products containing all or
    portions of the software, acknowledge within their advertising materials
    that such products contain software developed by UC Berkeley and its
    contributors.

    Specifically, the provision reads:

    " * 3. All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software
    * must display the following acknowledgement:
    * This product includes software developed by the University of
    * California, Berkeley and its contributors."

    Effective immediately, licensees and distributors are no longer required to
    include the acknowledgement within advertising materials. Accordingly, the
    foregoing paragraph of those BSD Unix files containing it is hereby deleted
    in its entirety.


    William Hoskins
    Director, Office of Technology Licensing
    University of California, Berkeley

    Emphasis added. This means that the change is retroactive, as if the advertisement clause was never in the BSD license at all.

    To reiterate, there is no advertisement clause in the BSD license.

  • You probably meant the glibc is released under the LGPL. Actually, it's not anymore. It's under the GPL with exceptions, the exception being that you can use glibc in proprietary software ONLY if they are compiled with gcc. I guess this was changed in order to annoy non free compiler vendors who were "pirating" glibc.
  • Ok try this as a mesure and I think you start to see the picure....

    If your using commertally liccensed code would it be ok....

    The GPL gives pritty much identical limits on using GPL code in a commertal product that commertal code gives for using in ANY product.

    Now as far as "including libarys" you shouldn't. The libarys should be downloaded and installed seprately there should be no need to include them in your pacage.

    But placing GPL code in your code then you have an issue.
    It's as much theft to put GPL code in a closed source product as it is to use code you paid a liccens fee for in a free product.

    Basicly a programmer should not be asked to pay for his own code and any programmer who codes for a living should be paid for the use of his code. It should never be in a free product and it should never be in someone elses commertal product.

    The GPL basicly says "Don't steal from me" the same basic idea holds for all commertal liccenses.
    The key diffrence is the GPL programmer isn't making a living off his code....
    But then.. with todays inovative busness modles... maybe.. just maybe... he is making money...
    By banner ads on the download page... or the product as a demo of the coders skill saying "This is my skill... hire me for your specalised e-commerce needs".
    Whatever is being done...
    Code made free should stay free and code that is not free is not free...
    Changing this is theft
  • http://mewse.alkali.org/licenses/ was just updated with Carmack's response. He confirms that the old license was not revoked.
  • Such a matrix could be useful, except that not everyone reads the licenses the same way.

    Many licenses, like the GPL and Artistic licenses, are vague.

    The only way to be sure of what you're doing, when you allow people to distribute your software with a certain license, or when you accept a license from someone else, is to actually READ the license involved. ALL of it. And if you're not sure, get a lawyer.

    A license is a contract. The words are what get enforced, in the end.
  • The trick is, in the words of the GPL:

    5. You are not required to accept this License, since you have not signed it. However, nothing else grants you permission to modify or distribute the Program or its derivative works. These actions are prohibited by law if you do not accept this License. Therefore, by modifying or distributing the Program (or any work based on the Program), you indicate your acceptance of this License to do so, and all its terms and conditions for copying, distributing or modifying the Program or works based on it.

    So, if you didn't read the license, then you had no right to redistribute the software, with or without modifications. Copyright law forbids you to, without getting permission.

  • ..and one of the Raven developers made a post on Doomworld, which was supposed to clarify their license, but just totally contradicted itself. Sigh.
  • by Alan Shutko ( 5101 ) on Friday June 16, 2000 @03:53AM (#998394) Homepage
    Incorrect. The GPL is founded in restrictions, and is not meant to eliminate worry about software licensing.

    The GPL is a political licence, which restricts the ability to make derivative works non-free. It thus preserves the right of all users to have the same rights as the original user, since intermediate developers can't change the license, as with other (still free software) licenses.

    If it just wanted to eliminate having to worry about the license, a programmer could just as well put the code into the public domain, so anyone could do anything with it they want.
  • If however you release it as BSD first, but then realize that company X has been using your code in their product without releasing the source (as they would be perfectly entitled to do) but you then realise that you don't like that you are stuck. Yes, you can re-release it as GPL, but thats hardly going to stop company X now they have the source under the BSD license, is it?

    Ahhh, ok, thanks for clarifying. Yes, you're correct. Sorry I jumped the gun, it just that lots of people always bitch about the GPL saying that it'll take away your freedom rather than keeping other people from stealing it. I stand corrected.
    --
  • how about if I had a commercial app that utilized GnuPG as another program?

    I.e. ProgX uses GnuPG as a program, pipes it data, and retrieves it.


    That's perfectly ok. This is why Gimp handles plugins as separate programs passing data via IPC rather than as dynamically loaded libraries like most other programs do - to allow closed-source, commercial plugins.
    --
  • In my opinion, actually, this "feature" of the GPL goes against the spirit of the free software/open source movement.

    That's true. But the GPL is not the license of the open source movement, but the one of the free software movement. As stated at other places in this discussion, it's a political license and should be regarded like that.

    It seems to me sometimes that people regard the GPL as being something holy and untouchable, but I believe that given the way in which the economy is changing and so on, such things should be critically reviewed on a regular basis.

    Well, it's not holy in a sense that it's something like god's word. Insisting on it means insisting on the way we believe software should be produced (may be different stuff as software, too, but that's a different and complicated discussion).

    In fact, we don't take the way in which the economy is changing as given, but for something which is manmade. Using the GPL is trying to change this way, whereas using BSD is trying to find a niche in a way determined by others. It's up to everyone to choose.

    For me, Free Software is more (and more important) than total world domination.


    echo $FAKEMAIL | sed s/soccer/football/ | sed s/" at "/@/
  • I've wondered before if you can GPL parts of your code, but not the entire thing. For instance, could you make all of your header files, where the actual functions live, GPL and leave the main routines in another license? You'd still be giving people what they look for, but not everything.

    Of course, there is a line in the GPL which keeps you from being able to attach any extra restrictions to the license. I've known of a few places, Slashdot being one of them, who have tried to violate that, probably unknowingly. For instance, take a look at the code page [slashdot.org] for Slashdot, and notice where Rob says you have to link back to Slashdot. I'm sure that was an honest mistake on his part, and if you take a look at the license on Slashcode [slashcode.com], you'll see that the restriction isn't included there.

    The point is that I think dragging licenses together is adding extra restrictions to the GPL, something that is clearly forbidden in it's body.

    Brad Johnson
    --We are the Music Makers, and we
    are the Dreamers of Dreams

  • ... you can license it under as many licenses as you like (even exclusionary ones). If it's not your code you can only re-license if the original license allows you to do it. Comments along the lines of "who cares, it's old code, no-one's making any money on it anymore" are both illegal and unfair to the owner of the code.

  • This package has two license options

    1 - GPL, QPL, NPL, LGPL Shaken

    2 - GPL, QPL, NPL, LGPL Stirred

  • I'm with you on that, it was nice when code wasn't such a legal problem. BUT, I realize that if we didn't worry about it and stand up for our (programmer's) rights, then big companies would just abuse us as usual and do what they wanted with the code. So, up to a point, I miss the old days, but at the same time, I realize that if we didn't worry about it, nobody else would!
  • Hmmm, the FSF lists its justifications for Free Software and the GPL in particular in an article entitle "Why Software Should Not Be Owned".

    If you want the code to remain *yours*, why did you use a license based on the concept that it shouldn't belong to anyone?

    As for making the *billions* of dollars, get real! No company has ever made that much money off of any single piece of free software, BSD or otherwise. But if you want to talk about *millions*, why don't you talk to Redhat, et al, who have made millions by not paying its volunteer developers.

    There are licenses out there that will allow your code to be free beer for open source developers but require that you get a cut if someone makes a billion or two off of a closed source derivative. Go use one of them instead.
  • The very simple reason is that, just saying that something is GPL'd doesn't mean that it is GPL'd. If, for example, you take something with a license which allows the distribution of proprietary modified versions, and then add some GPL'd code to it, the whole thing does not thereby become GPL'd -- because if it did, you would have been in the position of taking away rights which were not yours to take away. In fact, in this case, the only person who would have been breaking the law would be you, for mixing GPL'd and non-GPL'd code.
  • The BSD license does not allow you to remove the BSD license. In fact, it's only requirements are that you keep the permission and warranty statements intact!

    What you *can* do is to include a BSDd source file as part of a GPLd package. The package as a whole will be under the GPL, but that individual file will still be under the BSD. Take a look at the linux kernel sources and you'll see instances of this. In fact, if it were possible to extract the BSDd code from the MS Kerberos implementation, you would be able to freely redistribute them.

    Another thing that can be done is to distribute a binary version of a BSD program. The permissions and warrantees still have to be included in the docs though. Does Microsoft include the BSD license somewhere in it's documentation for Kerberos? I don't know, but if they don't they are violating copyright (something they have frequently done in the past, just ask Sun). This doesn't mean that I can freely redistribute MSKerberos, but it does mean that portions of it can be.

    But what you cannot do is to change the license. I don't know who started this myth, but it's wrong.
  • Your freedom is my prison

    My freedom is your prison


    That's not freedom, that's nihilism and license. Freedom is not a complete lack of restrictions. Instead, it is the lack of restrictions within your personal domain. Your freedom to swing your fist ends at my nose because you are exiting your domain and entering mine. Any restrictions I place upon your hitting my nose is not a restriction on your freedom.
  • While you could publish your own edition of AAIW, I'm not sure you could list yourself as the author, in the US, under attribution obligations of copyright. You certainly couldn't claim copyright protection for your own verbatim reproduction.

    What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
    Scope out Kuro5hin [kuro5hin.org]

  • I don't have a hard time grasping it. Perhaps I wasn't clear enough.

    If you are new to "free" licenses and you release they code as GPL, but later decide BSD suits you better, you can release it as BSD and all it well.

    If however you release it as BSD first, but then realize that company X has been using your code in their product without releasing the source (as they would be perfectly entitled to do) but you then realise that you don't like that you are stuck. Yes, you can re-release it as GPL, but thats hardly going to stop company X now they have the source under the BSD license, is it?

    All I am saying is that for newcomers, I would recommend the GPL if they are unsure about the differneces as it gives them more control. Once they are up to speed on the licenses they can switch - No harm done. If they give away that control by using BSD (as I would encourage them to do - as long as they understand it) they can't get it back.
  • Actually.. that linking thing is not quite so absolute.

    I could not, for instance, distribute binaries that are linked against non-GPL libraries... unless (and this is a big unless) those libraries are a common, standard part of the OS. And this *is* an important point.

    You can use GPL software on a Solaris box, where everything is linked against libc... even though libc is proprietary, closed-source Sun code.

    You can also link it against other system-level includes, like the socket library and such, even though they, too, are non-GPL. Why? because.. if you say 'this software is for solaris', then *every* solaris box already has those libraries. they are part of the platform.

    Now.. it *could* just be me, but if someone were to, say, write software, specifically for Mandrake, and link it against (never mind current events) QT.. and GPL it.. why can't they? The software is intended for Mandrake, that is the author's intent.. and QT is a standard part of any mandrake installations, therefore the libraries are common to all instances of the target platform. Period.

  • I think the point is that it, in practice, is easier to make a license for some code "looser" than to make it "stricter". Yes, theoretically you can do it both ways, but if you make it stricter it will be hard to prove that violaters doesn't use the code derived from what you released under the old loose license. So in pratice, the new restrictions will be hard to enforce.
  • Yes, that would violate the GPL. But you can always try contacting the author of that code and asking for him to let you use his code in a closed-source app - the author of the code still has the authority to do that, even after he releases his code as GPL.
    --
  • > Where is the threshold? If I have a large commercial app and add 20 lines of GPL'd code (let's say not even an entire function) then there is no way that anyone can reasonably expect that I then just give away the whole app under GPL.

    Nonsense. That's like saying your application only has 20 lines of {Sun, Microsoft, IBM} code obtained under an NDA, and no one could reasonably expect them to complain, sue, demand you take it off the market, or whatever.

    Licenses don't have thresholds, unless the license itself says so.
    --
  • Yes. The BSD license. Where others using *my* code are under absolutely no obligation to share their changes, period, and they can even go make a *billion* dollars off it without showing me a red cent, or even telling me.

    If that's how you want to release your own code, please do! Don't tell me what to release mine under.
  • Pardon?
    If I am an author, I can re-release under whatever terms I want, whenever I want.

    What do you mean, they can't do it the other way around?
  • Okay. I'm stumped. What's the problem?
    That the doom source was released on 3 separate occasions under 3 separate licenses? So what?

    What.. do people just get doom source and not read the license, assume it's GPL, and then get mad? That would be rather dumb...

  • by Lita Juarez ( 201217 ) on Friday June 16, 2000 @03:18AM (#998445)
    Section 4 of the GPL states that "You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Program except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense or distribute the Program is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License". Therefore, incorporating GPL'ed code into something which is non-GPL'ed invalidates the license on the GPL'ed code. Legally, the GPL'ed code must be removed.

    The only way around this (that I can see) would be to convince the author of the GPL'ed to give you dispensation to release their code under a different license.

    The way I see it, software licenses are like blood groups - different blood groups are incompatible and must be kept separate (or else all sorts of Bad Things happen), and the same is true for licences. To avoid trouble, it is better to make sure all code is released under the same licence. The GPL is by far the most restrictive licence ever conceived in this respect, and rather than giving people the freedom to do whatever they wish with the code, it ends up being a straightjacket to restrict their freedom. I would prefer to see more people releasing their code under the BSD license.

  • by Evangelion ( 2145 ) on Friday June 16, 2000 @03:20AM (#998446) Homepage
    I've wondered before if you can GPL parts of your code, but not the entire thing. For instance, could you make all of your header files, where the actual functions live, GPL and leave the main routines in another license? You'd still be giving people what they look for, but not everything.

    This is covered in the whole question of linking. What you're describing is making a GPL'ed library, and then linking it against non-GPL'ed code. In that case, any resultant work created by linking the GPL'ed libarary would have to be distributed under the GPL. This was the whole reason that RMS discourages using the LPGL for libraries (which doesn't do that), as he wants to encourage others to GPL thier code.
  • The owners of the original source code are free to license it as many different ways as they want - like perl is licensed, for example. The only issue is that if you have one project that is source release A + improvements, and another project that is from source release B + improvements. If the license of A and the license of B aren't compatible, then you will have problems picking up the improvements to A into the B project, and vice versa. But it's not like a new source release retroactively changes the licensing of any prior releases; they stay licensed the way they were originally.

    BTW, lxdoom rocks! The atmosphere of Doom, unaffected (some would say enhanced) by the lower-quality textures and lack of polys, is probably the best atmosphere for a FPS that I've played. It could have something to do with the fact that I prefer sprite-based objects to polygonal ones, though. I feel like if I can look at a well-drawn sprite object, even if from only a few perspectives, that's still better than a spiky, unrealistic-looking polygon object. I won't really enjoy polygon-mapped games until they reach the 1000s of polys needed to effectively mimic reality to my eye.

  • by MartinG ( 52587 ) on Friday June 16, 2000 @03:22AM (#998449) Homepage Journal
    I agree that licenses are a pain, and you're right that probably very few people care including many of the authors. What is unfortunate about this though is that the confusion might prevent some people from distrubuting the stuff. For example printed magazines (such as Linux Format in the UK) might like to distibute a "super-duper-doom" cd on their cover but be scared away by complicated license conflicts.
    This might not be a brilliant example (doom's not that big to download anyway) but my point is, that regardless of whether the users care about conflicts, businesses like the one who produce Linux Format have to be careful where licences are concerned. If this (of similar licence confusion) prevents the distribution of software in this way, it might be the users who lose out.
  • by / ( 33804 ) on Friday June 16, 2000 @03:25AM (#998451)
    The author/owner can release it under any liscense he wants, including a modified version of the GPL. The idea that you can't modify the GPL is only binding on people who don't own the copyright in question and have to use the software in a manner consistent with its liscense, although it would be a courtesy for all involved not to call it "GPL" if it's really a modified version.
  • by mortal ( 2462 ) on Friday June 16, 2000 @03:26AM (#998453) Homepage
    It would be great if someone was to put up a webpage containing a compability matrix on open source licenses. Pick a license from the top and one from the left; a red field means there is a collision (preferably explained below).

    A quick introduction the various licenses would also be helpful ofcourse, as would tips on what to do if you have colliding licenses.
  • by kevin805 ( 84623 ) on Friday June 16, 2000 @05:36AM (#998456) Homepage
    I definitely agree about the GPL being designed to accomplish a certain goal, rather than to "eliminate worry about software licensing", but I disagree about your characterization of that goal. The GPL does not only "preserve the right of all users to have the same rights as the original user". The original user had the right to use certain source code. The GPL requires that all users have the right to that same original source code, plus any modifications made to it. This is not "the same rights".

    Public domain, or a Berkeley style license, preserve "the same rights". You can still, presumably, download the original code. You can't necessarily download someone else's modifications to that code, but neither could they.

    Much of the propoganda around the GPL is "don't close the sources", suggesting that if something isn't GPL, one day you will look and find that it has been turned into a commercial, closed source product, with no trace of the original free version. Not very likely. Even though someone takes a program and makes their own version of it, that doesn't mean that the original is no longer available.
  • Given that the only thing the BSD license forces you to do is to keep their copyright on the files and to put the disclaimer you could as well put it in the public domain.

    OTOH The University of California was greatly aided, when being sued by AT&T, by the fact that AT&T *had* violated the few requirements which the BSD license requires.

  • Yes. The BSD license. Where others using *my* code are under absolutely no obligation to share their changes, period, and they can even go make a *billion* dollars off it without showing me a red cent, or even telling me.

    Dude, don't player hate :)

    If you release your code for free, and someone else finds that they can get people to pay for it, despite there being a free alternative (yours), then why get angry? Because you couldn't capitalize on your own program? Because someone would rather pay for someone else's version instead of getting yours for free? Or is it that you want others to put the spit and polish on while you sit back and stroke your ego?

    I understand your need to see your program remain free. And it does, no matter what someone else does to it. The source to X didn't suddenly disappear after copmanies started producing their own X servers. Kerebos (spell?) is still around despite those zany boys at Microsoft.

    The GPL isn't about your freedom. It's about the user's freedom. Look at it this way. If you decide to offer a commercial version of your program in addition to a GPL'ed version, what happens when people change the GPL'ed version? They're work doesn't become your work. You can't take their mods and roll it into the commercial version. That haven't signed the copyright on their additions over to you. You have to use their additions according to the GPL.

    You've just lost true ownership of your program. The control you have is only the control the community allows you to have. Granted you have a lot of say since you're the original author. But the program is truly not yours anymore.

    Don't get me wrong. Use the GPL. Enjoy the GPL. Just understand the GPL.

  • There was an interesting thread about the GPL vs. BSDL in comp.os.openbsd.misc recently.

    Finally, one poster summed up the issue nicely. He said that the BSD license empowers developers, and the GPL empowers users. He also said that the GPL was bad for this reason.

    That's exactly the issue. I spend a goodly percentage of my time as a software developer. But I spend all of my time in front of a computer (and increasingly elsewhere too) as a computer user. Every time I boot a system, every time I check my mail, I'm a software user. In my role as a systems administrator, I'm a "super-user" and having access to source code is even more important. That's why I like using open source software.

    The GPL isn't about making the developer's life easier, but making the software user's life easier.

  • IMHO the GPL could never hold up. Terms of licenses are not simply transfered and sustainable for the action of obtaining an item UNLESS explicity stated.

    So if i go to ftp.cdrom.com and download a buttload of GNU software, without actually being told that i'm licensing the software through the download of this program i don't have to abide by your license. If the license was issued when you issue tar -xzvf linux-2.3.99.tar.bz2 and i agree to the terms, that is sustainable.

    Its like shrink wrap, you approve of the license by opening the package. But if you receive the software without the package then you have therefore broke the restrictions placed by the license.

    I personally hope the GPL dissapears with the next fad to hit the market. While free software is nice, i thought the revolution was for free as in beer knowledge, interpretation and expression. How can you evolve when you use GPL? They can only evolve as a whole, and that goes back to the marxist and such remarks about the whole license. The choices and freedoms you give up with the GPL are only held up by a single entity, while other licenses give you and anyone else the freedoms to do as they wish with the software and as a whole the community excels and as an individual you have in your hands full creative rights.

    With the GPL, the creative rights are definatly not in the eyes of the beholder.

  • by ion++ ( 134665 ) on Friday June 16, 2000 @03:28AM (#998463)
    Well yes and no, the licenses might be conflicting. And one would expect that people checked the license.

    However, the doom source with the original license
    is prolly not download able from ID software any more.
    The haxen is prolly something you get from Raven.
    And lastly the GPL'ed doom source you can prolly download from ID software's homepage.
    Granted you could prolly get all 3 from different, and perhaps even the same site.

    But, you would get 3 different .tgz files, and each of those files are covered by it's own license. Some, perhaps most of the content in the .tgz file, might be the same, but i doubt everything is, though perhaps the doom source with license 1, and license GPL.

    I would think that only the owner of this code may repackage it under a new license. I see this as you may NOT take a file from the gpl'ed .tgz and put it into any of the other dir's where you unpacked those .tgz files.
    Even if the content is the same, because the files are covered by different licenses.

    So, i create a new functionality, and send out the patch under one of those 3 licenses, or under all of them if i choose to do so, or under public domain, or ...
    However, years ago, just after the 1. source code release, someone created a patch, and neither i, you, or anyone else may put this patch into the gpl'ed doom source .tgz (the creater of the patch may rerelease it, but then you would have to download the patch from his/hers site, even if the files where identical.)

    Of course it might be annoying that the code is under 3 licenses, or 2, or 5, or ...
    The solution would be to look in those patches and reimplement them under the GPL, (not sure if this is legal, but i think so)
    And the developpers should then just use the GPL in the future.

    And for any new projects of course.

    ion++
    GPL, because anything else is insuperior (though perhaps PLAN9's new license might be better, just might)
  • As discussed on slashdot at great length when doom was GPLed, only the game engine was GPLed, not the maps, skins, levels etc. so the game isn't free.

    - Andy R.

Everything that can be invented has been invented. -- Charles Duell, Director of U.S. Patent Office, 1899

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