Bundling and the GPL
Posted Jun 21, 2006 6:15 UTC (Wed) by wilck
In reply to: Bundling and the GPL
Parent article: Harald Welte on the flood of GPL violations
> it does not matter if you are using interfaces or not. If you are bundling
> two things in one box - they become parts of "collective work".
That's the lawyers' perspective, yes. Because it is much, much easier to talk about bundling than about highly technical questions like whether or not a certain function call is part of a published interface.
To me, as a technical person, the question whether or not e.g. the kernel and a binary driver are delivered in the same CD set seems superficial. That was the point I was trying to make.
If a download script is in a CD set instead of a piece of software, the question would be "Is it the intention of the distributor that (some) users run this script to form an end product which is the combination of GPLd and proprietary components?" and if the answer was yes, the whole thing would have to be considered a derivative work.
Next step: instead of the installation script, the distributor just includes a help page with a link to the downloadable component plus installation instructions. What now?
I don't think the discussion about "mere aggregation" helps a lot either - for any device that can connect to the net in some way, a download URL is just as good as a piece of software on a CD. Most phones can download stuff from the net without trouble. I think the two must be basically regarded equivalent, at least when we talk about the not-too-far future.
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