[Pipet Devel] Licensing issues

J.W. Bizzaro jeff at bioinformatics.org
Thu Sep 7 18:12:32 EDT 2000

Jean-Marc Valin wrote:
> > The only place we've this Corba 'linking' problem is with 3th party UI's, isn't it?
> There might be some other cases, but I think 3rd part UI's would be the most
> important.

Regardless of whether we choose the LGPL or GPL, we can always make a
modification that explicitly permits CORBA linking or any other kind of
linking.  That's something we should keep in mind.

> Before we start going into license (in)compatibilities, let's start by deciding
> what kind of things we want to prevent. We know we don't want people to take our
> code and make it proprietary. That leaves us with GPL and LGPL. Now is there any
> kind of "linking" we want to prevent? If not, then we can almost LGPL
> everything. If not, we need to see what needs to be GPL and what needs to be

Jarl has a good point in that we may want to prevent one of the layers from
being substituted with a proprietary program.  This may be more of an advocacy
issue than a security issue, since, as Jean-Marc stated, an Open Source layer
can be just as malicious.

On the other hand, there may be some "control" issues here.  Let's pretend
that Micro$oft (perhaps we are having some delusions of grandure) wants to
"Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish" Piper.  It could do so by creating its own
BL (or another layer) that uses a SLIGHTLY different protocol that only works
with their UI.  They've done this before: Look at how many Web pages work only
with IE.

But, if we are to make everything GPL, and say that CORBA linking from a non
GPL'd layer is illegal for DL <-> BL <-> PL linking, then it has to be illegal
for UIL <-> DL linking too.  It's a tough choice.  We (at least Jarl and I)
want the former to be illegal but the latter to not be.

J.W. Bizzaro                                           jeff at bioinformatics.org
Director, Bioinformatics.org: The Open Lab     http://bioinformatics.org/~jeff
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
               -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

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