[MUD-Dev] code base inquiry

Travis S. Casey efindel at io.com
Thu Nov 18 07:55:12 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

On Wed, 17 Nov 1999, Ben Greear wrote:
> Travis Casey wrote:

> > Now, let's say that I write a codebase and distribute it under the
> > GPL.  You then modify my codebase and start distributing your modified
> > version.  I then decide to stop using the GPL and make my codebase
> > commercial.  I still own copyright on the code you're using -- and
> > hence, can legally revoke your right to distribute it.  Now, you
> > *might* be able to still distribute the code you wrote, but you
> > can't distribute any part of the codebase that you didn't modify.  And
> > even if you modified all of it, it might still count as a derivative
> > work, in which case you wouldn't be able to distribute it without my
> > permission.
> I don't believe you are correct here.  You can change the license on
> any new distributions of your old code, but you can't bring back
> proprietary ownership of those old releases released under the GPL.
> I haven't read the GPL lately, so I could be wrong...

I could be wrong as well -- unfortunately, a lawsuit is pretty much the
only way to find out for sure which way the license would be interpreted.
A non-commercial mud isn't likely to have the resources to fight a
lawsuit, so it is something to consider.

> > original code creators from doing so.  (Of course, in the present
> > environment, most, or at least many, people releasing code under the GPL
> > are borrowing some code that ultimately comes from Gnu itself.  Thus,
> > this isn't much of an issue at the moment.)
> Linking libraries (from the LGPL license) does in no way bind you to a
> particular license, so I don't see why many MUDs would be bound by any
> GPL code...

I wasn't speaking of muds specifically, but of all the code that's being
released under the GPL.  BTW, note that not all GNU libraries are released
under the LGPL -- some (such as the readline library) are released under
the regular GPL.  Including those libraries does bind you to the GPL.

And if you borrow as much as one line of code from any GPLed program, your
program is bound by the GPL -- so someone who, say, lifts the socket code
from a GPLed program and modifies it for their server is bound by it.

       |\      _,,,---,,_        Travis S. Casey  <efindel at io.com>
 ZZzz  /,`.-'`'    -.  ;-;;,_   No one agrees with me.  Not even me.
      |,4-  ) )-,_..;\ (  `'-'
     '---''(_/--'  `-'_) 

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