[self-interest] license (was: Self on Linux)

Jecel Assumpcao Jr jecel at lsi.usp.br
Thu Apr 15 20:55:08 UTC 1999

Dru Nelson wrote:
> I would like to publicly state, that, although it is
> good to see Self ported to Linux,
> I really find it upsetting that it is moved to the
> GNU GPL instead of keeping it at it's original license.

Though this isn't the best place to discuss this, I would very
much like to know more details about what you think of this.

The first thing is: can a modified Self 4.0 be distributed under
the GPL? I am not a lawyer, but while my first impression was that
there would be no problems (the original license is quite generous)
I think that the answer is *no*. The original license requires you
to include the full credits for the whole Self team with each copy,
but the GPL only requires a reasonable copyright notice. So it is
possible to make a distribution that complies with the GPL but violates
the original license by eleminating the said credits. It is easy
to patch the GPL to correct this, of course.

Some myths about the GPL are that you can't make commercial products
with it (the original license explicitly allows this) and that it
would "contaminate" any applications developed using GPLed tools.
You *can* create commercial products with GPLed code, but you have
to release the sources and some people think nobody would buy your
products if you did that. That is not true - stuff like Linux based
WebTV type NCs and MP3 players are coming out and doing just fine.
And the contamination thing is a myth too - Linux WordPerfect or
Oracle use the same license they do on other platforms.

One problem I have with the GPL is that it is out of touch with some
future trends. It talks about people giving each other disks, but
I want a system where software (and updates) flow automatically
through the internet.

-- Jecel

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