Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 13th Jun 2006 22:16 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source It's time for the Windows and Linux communities to drop the religious war and get together in a hurry to put the strengths of each operating system to best use, according to a nationally recognized authority on Windows Server. At the same time, Microsoft has been reaching out to the open-source community to try to find ways to overcome the incompatibilities between software distributed under the GNU General Public License and its own commercial software.
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by hal2k1 on Wed 14th Jun 2006 05:42 UTC in reply to "GPL"
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//Derivative work includes suth things as copying algorithms.//

Err, no. That is incorrect.

The GPL relies on copyright law. Copyright law protects the expression of an idea from being copied.

Hence, if Charles Dickens' book "A Tale of Two Cities" is copyrighted, then it is perfectly OK for another author to write another book about two cities, or with a similar story line, for example, but that author may not use "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" as the opening sentence.

I think you are confusing patent law and copyright law. A patent could conceiveably apply to an algorithm, but the GPL is not about patent law. The GPL relies on copyright law.

Hence, if the GNU program 'grep' (as an example) uses a similar algorithm to the original copyrighted UNIX program of the same name, and even uses the same concept and syntax for the regular expressions it takes as arguements, then that is OK under copyright law as long as the actual lines of code used to implement the functionality are different. Similarly, Microsoft could write its own grep program, as long as Microsoft did not use the same source code lines as UNIX grep or GNU/Linux grep.

However, assuming all three programs stuck to the same rules of syntax and used equivalent algorithms, then all three programs could be used in the exact same way (either directly from a command line or from within scripts). This would NOT violate copyright.

Hence we can have interoperability, open standards, open formats etc without violating copyright.

PS: Copyright law applies to anyone ... therefore an author of a GPL program has as many rights under copyright law as does an author of a proprietary program. Don't let the fact that you can see the source fool you into thinking a GPL program is not a copyrighted work ... it very much is copyrighted. After all, one can easily see the "source" of Dicken's book "A Tale of Two Cities", can't one?

Edited 2006-06-14 05:47

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