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Re: [ProgSoc] GPL
On Fri, 4 May 2001 17:35, Matt wrote:
] people have been detected releasing binary only software that came
] from GPL'ed software. take for example BeOS and their bootloader. the
] easy way to tell is normally similar feature sets. similar bugs. and
] of course symbol and constant similarities in the binaries.. as far as
] the GPL is concerned most companies must view it as being most likely
] to be enforceable as no one yet has "run the gauntlet" and tried to
] shoot it down in court.
But the obvious unanswerable question is - how many instances go
undetected? Some years ago there were some bugs found in the
linux (I presume NET-2 era, but can't recall the details) TCP stack.
Curiously, when the Win95 TCP stack was analysed, it was found
to have a similar set of bugs. Of course, it may just have been due
to the vagueness of the spec - which resulted in similar bugs, because
of similar interpretation of the specification by entirely independent
(groups of) developers. Or, of course, it may not have been.
It's unlikely that Fred ( I think it was he at the time) would have been
in a position to take Bill to court and attempt to prove this one way
or the other, however ... which has always been the problem with
the GPL. Typically the kinds of people that apply the GPL to their
code are the kinds of people that can't (due to time, money, etc)
research potential breachs and partake in legal action. This may
change -- for example, you'd be a damn fool to try to take any of
IBM's changes to Apache and flog 'em as a binary-only release.
On the other hand (you have different fingers), there are plenty
of people in this business for which the appellation 'damn fool'
fits like a glove.
jedd == jedd at progsoc dot org
"The unemployment queue is no longer just for philosophy
majors - useful people are now being affected too."
-- Kent Brockman, The Simpsons.
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