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Re: Automake and GPLv3

From: Bruce Korb
Subject: Re: Automake and GPLv3
Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2007 20:32:53 -0700

On 8/29/07, Eric Blake <address@hidden> wrote:
> > The short question I have is:
> >
> >  If automake/autoconf use GPLv3, will I be able to use them for packages
> >  that are NOT GPLv3?
> The goal is YES.  Remember, with autoconf 2.61 and automake 1.10, both
> packages were released under GPLv2+, but were very explicit in providing a
> disclaimer that third-party applications that used these packages to
> generate ./configure files that did not have to be licensed as GPL, even
> though ./configure contains many verbatim chunks copied from the
> autotools.  The problem here is not that GPLv3 is worse than GPLv2, but
> rather, how do we reword this exemption clause so that autoconf and
> automake are released by GPLv3 but third party packages that use the
> autotools are legally clear to not have to upgrade or swap to GPLv3.  And
> if I understand correctly, the case we are most worried about is using
> autotools on packages that use GPLv2, since it has already been determined
> that, without the aid of exception clauses, GPLv2 and GPLv3 are legally
> incompatible.

Something fuzzily along the lines that all code emitted by these tools
are, by that action alone, released to the public domain with no licensing
requirements or constraints whatever?  After all, they are sufficiently
convoluted that I certainly cannot construe any constructive purpose for
the text, outside of the explicit configure/make process for a specific project.
Understanding that generated stuff comes as close to understanding
hieroglyphics as I ever want to get.  In other words, it should not need
strong protections.  :)

Cheers - Bruce

(P.S. Don't get me wrong - it is highly useful stuff, just not something
I'd choose to peruse, cut and paste in order to apply to another application.)

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