Re: Mozilla/GNOME interoperability

Miguel de Icaza <> writes:
>> GPL projects can take, modify, and redistribute as much NPL code as
>> they want, as long as they publish the changes.
>No.  Read the GPL again.  We can not link NPL code with GPL code.

What the GPL says:

"If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program, and
 can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in themselves,
 then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those sections when you
 distribute them as separate works. But when you distribute the same sections
 as part of a whole which is a work based on the Program, the distribution of
 the whole must be on the terms of this License, whose permissions for other
 licensees extend to the entire whole, and thus to each and every part
 regardless of who wrote it."


"If you wish to incorporate parts of the Program into other free programs
 whose distribution conditions are different, write to the author to ask for

Thus, the only action prohibited by the GPL is:

  - Taking a GPL Program written by someone else,
  - linking the Program with a non-GPL "independent and separate work",
  - distributing the resulting "entire whole" under terms other than GPL,
  - without the permission of the author of the program.

GPL programs that are intended to be linked with non-GPL code (Xlib, for
example) can be distributed separately from the non-GPL code.  GPL programs
can be distributed with non-GPL code as an "entire whole" if the author gives
permission.  Anyone can write their own GPL code and give a priori permission
for such distribution.

>And no, we can not ask every author that contributed GPL code to give
>this special permission.  It is not practical, and in some cases not
>possible to reach these people anymore.

That is only a problem for incorporating non-GPL code into existing programs.
It's not a problem for new programs or projects, and it's not a problem for
modifying existing programs to use separately distributed non-GPL code.

>[ Side note: As rms said in the past, we would be willing to make our
>code available to Netscape under both the GPL and NPL code to boost
>cooperation ]

That would be even more impractical than getting permission from the authors
for colicensing.

	-Michael Robinson

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