Response from M-Systems
David.Woodhouse at mvhi.com
Mon Jul 12 06:56:53 EDT 1999
rms at gnu.org said:
> The lawyer told me that licensing the distribution of a program
> automatically licenses users to run it. I was relieved.
That seems very strange to me - I'd be very interested to know why he believes
this. Distribution and usage are two distinct activities; one of which is
explicitly allowed by the GPL, the other of which is explicitly not covered by
> I cannot be certain that the case I asked him about is entirely
> equivalent to this one. What I can say is that IF a program can be
> restricted in the way you suggest, it is not free software. That is
> not a solution, it is a danger.
This is only with regard to software patents, a local issue in some parts of
the world which have insane legislation.
If a tinpot dictatorship somewhere ruled that source code should never be
available to the end user, the GPL would be unusable in that country, and by
the same logic, no software anywhere would be truly free. But would we stop
using the GPL?
What I'm trying to say is that software patents are a local issue. GPL'd code
is truly free in all parts of the world with sensible legislation, and in
those parts that aren't included in that description, we have to fight it in
other ways. We can't just say 'well the software's not free' and reject it
---- ---- ----
David Woodhouse David.Woodhouse at mvhi.com Office: (+44) 1223 810302
Project Leader, Process Information Systems Mobile: (+44) 976 658355
Axiom (Cambridge) Ltd., Swaffham Bulbeck, Cambridge, CB5 0NA, UK.
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