[R] How can you buy R?

Berwin A Turlach berwin at maths.uwa.edu.au
Tue May 23 11:31:07 CEST 2006

G'day Deepayan,

>>>>> "DS" == Deepayan Sarkar <deepayan.sarkar at gmail.com> writes:

    DS> On 5/22/06, Berwin A Turlach <berwin at maths.uwa.edu.au> wrote:
    DS> [...]

    >> [...] Should perhaps better be formulated as:
    >> My understanding was that in that moment a product was created
    >> that would have to be wholly under the GPL, so the person who
    >> did the linking was violating the GPL and it is not clear
    >> whether anyone is allowed to use the linked product.

    DS> I think you are still missing the point.  [...]
Quite possible, as I said early on IANAL.  And these discussion really
starts to remind me too much of those that I read in
gnu.misc.discuss.  Since I never participated in them, I don't see why
I should here.  And that group is probably a better forum to discuss
all these issues.  If some of the guys who always tried to argue that
they found a way to circumvent the GPL are still hanging around, I am
sure they are happy if you come along and confirm that according to
your understanding of the GPL eveything they are doing is o.k.. :)

    DS> The act of creating a derivative work is NOT governed by the
    DS> GPL,
Yes, as a part of the GPL that I quoted earlier states. it is the
(local?) copyright law which defines when a derivative work is
created.  The GPL just stipulates under which licence this derivative
work has to be.

    DS> so it cannot possibly by itself violate the GPL.
Fair enough.  There are probably several people in gnu.misc.discuss
who would be happy to hear this. :)

    DS> The question of violation only applies when the creator of
    DS> this derivative work wishes to _distribute_ it. This is like
    DS> me writing a book that no one else ever reads; it doesn't
    DS> matter if I have plagiarized huge parts of it. This point is
    DS> not as academic as you might think.
Hey, I work in an academic environment, so it is hard to imagine that
I would view any point as being too academic. :)

    DS> It is well known that Google uses a customized version of
    DS> Linux for their servers; however, they do not distribute this
    DS> customized version, and hence are under no obligation to
    DS> provide the changes (and they do not, in fact). This is NOT a
    DS> violation of the GPL.
I agree and would have never claimed anything different.  You are
stating the obvious here.

    >> [...] If one scenario is not on, I don't see how the other one
    >> could be acceptable either.  Except that in the first scenario
    >> there is a clear intend of circumventing the GPL.  [...]
    DS> That's your choice, but the situations are not symmetric, and
    DS> quite deliberately so.
That's why I studied mathematics and not law.  I readily accept that
there is some logic in law, it is just that I never "got" it.  For me,
if I make someone else link a GPL product P with a non-GPL product Q,
then this is the same, whether I was the provider of P or Q.

    DS> The FSF's plan was not to produce a completely independent and
    DS> fully functional 'GNU system' at once (which would be
    DS> unrealistic), but rather produce replacements of UNIX tools
    DS> one by one. It was entirely necessary to allow these new
    DS> versions to operate within the older, proprietary system.
Wasn't your argument above, in response to the scenario that I was
describing, that it is not necessary to explicitly allow this because
"a user can never violate the GPL"?  As long as you operate on a
proprietary system and not distributing anything, why would there all
of a sudden be a problem?

    DS> In fact, GCC was not the first piece of software released
    DS> under the GPL,
My guess is that the first piece of software released under the GPL
was Emacs, but it is quite likely that I will be corrected on this

    DS> and until then the only way to use GPL software was to compile
    DS> them using a non-free compiler.
I know, I have compiled a lot of GPL software with non GCC compilers;
and I have been using GCC when it was still standing for GNU C
Compiler.  But thanks for the history lesson anyhow. :)



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