Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 30th Aug 2006 17:04 UTC, submitted by Moulinneuf
GNU, GPL, Open Source "The GNU General Public License is one of the most widely used software licenses - and, undoubtedly, the most misunderstood. Some of this misunderstanding comes from hostile propaganda, but some also comes from a lack of experience in licensing issues on the part of both lawyers and lay users, and the use of standard language in conventional end-user license agreements that are unthinkingly coupled with the GPL. In all cases, the confusion is frequently based on misreadings, rumors, secondhand accounts, and what is convenient to believe."
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RE: GPL is viral
by Brandybuck on Thu 31st Aug 2006 19:52 UTC
Brandybuck
Member since:
2006-08-27

You are indeed correct that the GPL is viral. And it is viral by deliberate design. Microsoft grossly exaggerated the viralness, but that is a separate issue.

If you take ten lines of GPL code and stick them into a ten million line code base, then the entire code base release has to be under the GPL. So there is legitimate concern over this, and companies are justified in banning the use of GPL source code and libraries. You can't have developers copying trivial snippets of code off the web for your non-GPL project.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: GPL is viral
by rhavyn on Thu 31st Aug 2006 21:25 in reply to "RE: GPL is viral"
rhavyn Member since:
2005-07-06

If you take ten lines of GPL code and stick them into a ten million line code base, then the entire code base release has to be under the GPL.

This myth needs to die. Taking 10 lines of code from one program and putting them in another will virtually never cause your work to become a derivative of the work from where the 10 lines came from. This is because it is nearly impossible for 10 lines of code to meet the level of expression which is required for copyright to attach. Depending on the code, you could conceivably copy hunderds of lines of code and still not run afoul of copyright.

Additionally, the degree of copyright infringment is considered by courts. 10 lines in a 10 million line code base is such a small percentage, there is next to no chance damages would be awarded. And since it is such a small amount of code, it would be trivial to remove it, or rewrite it.

That said, I still don't recommend copying someone else's code and if you take the advice of anyone on a message board instead of consulting with a lawyer, you deserve that multi-million dollar judgement against you.

Reply Parent Score: 1