Hi John,

John Cowan <co...@ccil.org> writes:

> [...]  There are two traditional arguments
> in favor of putting libraries under the GPL:


> 2) "Benefit GPLed programs":  if a library is GPLed, it supposedly gives
> the advantages of using that library only to GPLed applications.

You're mistaken.  A GPLed library can be used by any program covered by
a *GPL-compatible* license.

> I think history shows that this doesn't work very well in the long run:
> rather than accepting the GPL, a lot of duplicative effort was put into
> libedit/editline,

It's a mistake to conclude from this that it didn't work well.  Avoiding
duplicative effort is _not_ a core goal of the Free Software Movement.

A vastly more important goal is that free software should exist for all
of the jobs that people want to use their computers for, so that users
need not sacrifice their freedom to do their computing.  The GNU GPL has
helped *enormously* with that goal.  For example, we gained our first
free C++ compiler thanks to the GNU GPL, because they built it on GCC.
Ditto for Objective C, and CLISP.

Those are major historical examples, but the same thing happens quite
frequently and unremarked in smaller examples, whenever a boss would
reflexively tell an employee that a program they wrote should be kept
proprietary, but is compelled to make it free software because it
depends on a copylefted library (such a Guile-JSON).

See <https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/pragmatic.html> for more on this.

Providing an inducement to others make more software into free software
is in fact the main goal of the GNU GPL, and you didn't even include it
in your list of "traditional arguments in favor of putting libraries
under the GPL".

> Whether or not a GPLed JSON library requires the Scheme implementation
> to be itself GPL depends on the implementation, but certainly a
> stand-alone *application* that uses it would have to be.

Again, you are mistaken.  Check your facts, please.  See


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