[Mailman-Developers] XML-RPC interface to mailman

Stephen J. Turnbull stephen at xemacs.org
Fri Jul 22 20:15:29 CEST 2005

>>>>> "BAW" == Barry Warsaw <barry at python.org> writes:

    BAW> On Fri, 2005-07-22 at 02:08, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:

    >> Unfortunately, linking is not a necessary condition for a
    >> program to be a derivative work, merely a sufficient one.  I
    >> would suspect that Richard Stallman and Eben Moglen will tell
    >> you that anything with "RPC" in its name should be presumed to
    >> create derivative works until proven otherwise.  After all, the
    >> whole point of any "remote procedure call" protocol to allow
    >> the moral equivalent of linking without actually sharing memory
    >> cells.

    BAW> Isn't this a gray area that the GPL 3 is trying to clarify?

Last I heard, yes.  However, all GPL 3 can do is provide an exemption
(similar to the one that LGPL provides for what we normally think of
as linking).  It is the law (including existing and future court
decisions) that decides what is and is not a derivative.  The license
can only exempt some derivatives from its restrictions; it cannot
define what a derivative is.  That exemption doesn't exist in GPL 2.

It's not really a problem for Mailman.  But I think that people who
implement clients of the XML-RPC interface should be warned that there
is a plausible theory that such clients are derivatives of Mailman,
just as much as if they imported the functions instead of wrapping
them in a thin layer of XML and sending the XML over the net.  And
therefore distribution of such clients may be subject to the GPL.

School of Systems and Information Engineering http://turnbull.sk.tsukuba.ac.jp
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
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              ask what your business can "do for" free software.

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