licensing NOT clear for me

Daniel Karipides
Wed Mar 31 19:45:00 GMT 1999

Let me make this very clear at the top of this email: PLEASE do not
reply to this on the list.  This is a request for information; please
email me privately at:  Thanks.

In my lurking on GNU relared newsgroups and mailing lists, I've
witnessed many discussions / arguments about the GPL.  Through these
discussion, I feel that I have gained some understanding of how the
GPL works.  What I don't understand is the following:

It often seems that, through very accurate and seemingly well-founded
legal arguments, there are cases where the GPL discourages the
writting and distribution of free software.  I am not trying to say
the arguments as presented are ill-formed or not legal in some sense.
I am simply saying that explanation of how the GPL works has a tone
that is rather harsh.  Moreover, there is an implicit message in the
explanations that says "If it is difficult to follow the GPL, tough.
If you can't follow the GPL to the letter, it is a good thing that
your code can't be legally distributed."

For an example of this, take a simple program written to run under
cygwin.  Suppose the author want to distribute the binaries of this
code, the source code itself and cygwin.dll.  But, faced with the
prospect of somehow giving written, signed promises to distribute the
entire source code of cygwin via the same means (probably a web site),
the author decides not to distribute the code.  Or, more
realistically, not to write it in the first place.  I say this because
given my current understanding of how the GPL interacts with the
cygwin enviornment, I would never spend the time to write a cygwin
program and try to distribute it under the GPL.  I think this is a bad
thing, as I would hope that more people choose to write free software,
not less.

So I'm looking for an explanation as to why the GPL being structured
in this way is a good thing.  Or why my understanding is incorrect.
Please email me privately (a pointer to a already published web
explanation would be fine.)  Do not clutter the list with responses,
as Chris has already asked for this discussion to die.

Thanks in advance,


"Life's too short for worrying. Yes, that's what worries me. " 

Want to unsubscribe from this list?
Send a message to

More information about the Cygwin mailing list