On Wed, May 12, 2004 at 03:55:31PM +0200, Dave Neary <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> >   into another language.  (Hereinafter, translation is included without
> >   limitation in the term "modification".)
> I've read and re-read this, and I'm having trouble figuring out how anyone 
> can consider a network client as being a derivative work of the server. The 
> client does not contain any of the server.

The point is that whatever you think is of no concern, mostly.

What counts is what local law says, to a lesser extent what the authors
of the program or the license say, and to most extent what decision this
might result in court.

It might matter to people in the sense of influencing them to either use
or not use a piece of software based on their understanding of the
license or the laws.

However, licenses are a purely legal tool. I am sure the FSF would rather
do without licenses and copyright law (which is the reason for the
term "copyleft", basically it means "abusing" increasingly restrictive
copyright laws to _force_ sharing).

As a legal tool, they only mean something in court (well, depending on the
legal system in force :)

> gets a response (still using xml-rpc as the example). At no stage does the 
> client contain part of the server. The client can exist with an alternate, 
> non-GPL implementation of the same server with no change (similarly, 

It mostly doesn't matter. If the authors say it is covered by the GPL it
might be, or it might not be. If you want to know, ignore the authors and
if they go to court, hope that you prevail....

As an example, mysql itself is under the General Public License. The mysql
interface library is under the Lesser General Public License.

You would expect that you can link against the interface library and
get away with only providing a dynamically linked binary. However, a
little known "clarification" to the mysql license states that if your
product requires mysql (because it e.g. it either uses SQL features only
available in mysql OR it is being delivered with mysql) then it's not mere
aggregation but a derived work, and the GPL applies to your software.

According to you, this shouldn't be. Additionally, one would assume that
these are additional restrictions that are explicitly forbidden by the GPL

I'd bet, however, that in a court the mysql authors/owners would have
good chances to force the GPL license on your product, at least in some
countries. It's still a game of chance, though.

The point really is to understand that no license can exactly define terms
that are completely outside of it's scope, e.g. "derived work", or even
dependent on local laws.

The GPL doesn't try to define this, and that is what you have to cope

It's vague, ugly (especially for hackers us who would like to have
everything strictly defined and unambgiuous), but really no different
to the situation in mathematics, which also contains paradoxies and
unresolvable problems. It's something that, I believe, one just has to
live with.

> >So I hope it's very clear now that "it depends".
> Ummm.. no. And getting unclearer all the time.

Get used to it. The "unclearness" is *precisely* :) what this is about.

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