Stallman on Python 1.6, the CNRI License, and the GPLSep 08, 2000, 19:01 (9 Talkback[s])
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Posted by Richard Stallman to the Debian Developer Mailing List (firstname.lastname@example.org):
Someone wrote this: > I am disappointed that RMS is fighting over something as > trivial as a company asking that legal issues be settled > in their home state (country). This is common practice. I am not fighting, I am pointing out the situation as it exists. I don't believe the CNRI license is inherently bad. It is a reasonable free software license. I have no reason to want to fight. But I believe it is incompatible with the GPL, and that constitutes major practical problem. CNRI agrees that this would be a problem--they want to make it possible for GPL- covered programs to use Python. So we are not fighting, just disagreeing. Whether a given license A is compatible with another license B is not a decision, not a choice someone can make. It is a judgement about the nature of the situation, based on the facts and laws as they exist. I believe, and the FSF's lawyer believes, that these licenses are incompatible. I can't make the GPL and CNRI licenses compatible just because I wish they were, any more than I can make pi equal 3. However, law and its consequences are not as rigorous as mathematics. It is peculiar that their lawyers think the licenses are compatible. I suspect that they have missed some point about the GPL, but that is just a guess; I have not spoken with them and do not know their arguments. It is conceivable they saw something I and our lawyer missed. We are trying to arrange for him to talk with them. That should at least make it possible for one side to convince the other about whether the licenses are compatible. If they can convince us that the incompatibility we saw is not real, that would be fine--it would make the problem disappear. Alternatively (and I think more likely) our lawyer will show them the incompatibility they did not see. That too might be a step towards solving the problem, or at least I hope so.
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