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Re: Artifex v. Diebold: "The GPL is non-commercial!"

From: Hyman Rosen
Subject: Re: Artifex v. Diebold: "The GPL is non-commercial!"
Date: Sun, 30 Nov 2008 05:30:58 -0500
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20081105)

Alexander Terekhov wrote: itself states:
"nothing else grants you permission"

That's what you get when you get the version licensed under the GPL.
Artifex are the copyright holders of Ghostscript (or so they say)
and as such, they are free to distribute the program under as many
different licenses as they like. Those versions will come with
much different terms.

Surely you're familiar with dual licensing? TrollTech does the same
GPL/commercial licensing with their Qt toolkit, for example. AdaCore
has yet another twist - they have a "public" Ada compiler whose
compiled programs must be licensed under the GPL (because they
include runtime libraries which are GPL-licensed) and a "pro" version
which produces compiled programs that may be non-free (because they
include the same libraries, but with permission to use them in non-
free programs, possible because AdaCore owns their copyright).

Anyway. Hyman, what's your take on this article?

The author pretty much covers it. The GPL is all about freedom for
users, and nothing at all about freedom for developers. The goal of
the FSF is that anyone who gets a copy of a computer program should
have the ability to run it, read it, modify it, and share it. The
purpose of licensing software under the GPL is, first, to make it so
that recipients of the software have those abilities, and second, to
create a body of work that will be so useful to developers that they
will feel it necessary to incorporate it into their own software,
thereby increasing the amount of free software available.

Is it inconvenient for some developers that two differently licensed
free programs cannot be combined? Absolutely. Is it true that not all
programmers share the goals of the FSF? Yes again. Does the FSF care?
Only to the extent that fixing these problems does not help people
who wish to deny others the four freedoms.

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