This is NOT about interfaces!
Posted Nov 9, 2005 23:39 UTC (Wed) by khim
In reply to: Debian and Nexenta collide
Parent article: Debian and Nexenta collide
The argument is a bit strained from a copyright POV. You have pre-existing GPL binaries, making use of fairly standard interfaces (C99, POSIX, SUS), such that they can be built against and link to any library implementing those interfaces. Solaris libc happens to be one of those. Precedent in US copyright law at least does not allow interfaces to be copyrighted, it's one of the (many) reasons why the SCO lawsuit is quite bogus.
And this all is relevant... exactly how ? I think you are confusing things.
Let's forget about interfaces, GPL and CDDL for a bit. Let's talk about two writers: Justina and Max. Both created some great stories and now publisher want to publish single book with stories by Justina and Max. Justina granted right to publish stories in any form to everyone but Max does only grant this to anyone who will not publish Justina's creations in the same book as his storis. Can our publisher then publish this book ? Of course not: you need permissions from all authors! Note: stories are totally unrelated - the only connection is single bookcover (and empty piece of paper is hardly copyrightable).
Now back to Nexenta, CDDL and GPL. As we've seen from sample above it does not matter of libraries are using the same interface - if they are published as single product (and Nexenta presumably wants to do exactly this) then licenses must be compatible. In fact this was reason for GPLv2 ! Note this part of it: In addition, mere aggregation of another work not based on the Program with the Program (or with a work based on the Program) on a volume of a storage or distribution medium does not bring the other work under the scope of this License. Why such exception was ever needed ? Easy: without this exception SUSE (with GPLed bash and proprietary Macromedia Flash) will be illegal! GPLv1 had no such provisions and this was a problem GPLv2 solved. May be GPLv3 will solve this problem, may be not - but right now Nexenta is in quite real trouble.
You are confusing issues: NVIDIA (who never shipped linux) can claim that "interface is not copyrightable" - since NVIDIA does not ship linux kernel and NVIDIA's binary driver on the same CD. Nexenta does not have such luxiry: the mere fact that both GPLed dpkg and non-gpl'ed OpenSolaris's libc are on the same CD "published" by single publisher is enough for GPL compatibility to be involved.
P.S. Actually if you'll think about it all distributions who actually ship NVIDIA's binary driver on the same CD as linux kernel are in trouble: they are violating GPL - for exactly the same reason. Nobody tried to sue them yet (AFAIK, anyway) but it's clear copyright violation.
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