Theodore Ts'o wrote at 13:45 (EDT) on Friday:
What are the most common misconceptions you've noted when talking
The most common one is that developers often tend to believe the LGPL is
like the MPL, yet they're very different types of weak copylefts.
My perspective is that most developers think about things in terms
shared libraries, since that's how 99% of libraries are consumed these
days. Hence, many developers simply want to allow a
non-GPL-compatible program to be able to use their library.
Indeed, OTOH, I think you spend a lot of time with more informed
developers, since you work on a project that's existed for a longer
period of time and has a richer culture and understanding of these
issues. In other words, there are a lot of developers who haven't spent
the time to understanding copyleft licensing that the average Linux
A lot of the misconceptions I think have come from FSF partisans
wanting to stretch the concept of what is covered by derivitive works
as far as possible.
I certainly don't want it to stretch -- I'm still a copyright
minimalist. The courts, however, have already stretched it pretty far.
Duke Nuke 'Em case, for example, stretched it pretty far:
I *do* want copyleft to go as far as copyright law says derivative works
and controls on the rights to modify say they go. If I felt that a
situation was dicey enough that we should ask a court, I would, and I'd
abide by what the Courts ultimately set as policy. (In other words, I
believe in the rule of law on this issue.)
As I've often been fond of asking, suppose you wrap a GPL'ed
via RPC's, and then call the GPL'ed library from another machine
across the internet --- does the program which call said library
become a derived work?
Now what if the RPC server is called via localhost, or a unix domain
socket? Does the GPL virus infect across a local RPC call?
Now what if you use a shared library? Is a program which calls the
shared library a derived work of the GPL'ed shared library?
I think a lot of this would come down to intent. Folks tend to think
intent doesn't matter, but I've seen a lot of judges really care. If
you designed all this for no technical reason, but rather to avoid
the requirements of GPL, that would come out in litigation, and the
judge wouldn't look favorably on your behavior.
So if the FSF's goal was to promote strong copyleft, and to
weak copyleft, my claim is their attempt to make what I consider to be
an overreaching claim for what might considered the bounds of a
derived work and what might be considered fair use has probably harmed
their own stated goals.
I think FSF's goal is to propose the right copyleft for a given
situation. After all, both strong and weak copyleft were invented by