[Mailman-Developers] Can i use the Bouncer API a Programm wich is not GPL?

Stephen J. Turnbull stephen at xemacs.org
Sat Nov 6 16:02:46 CET 2010

Marc Egli writes:

 > Ok but i can add a script to Mailman which accepts a path to a mail
 > file, then reads that file and gives a csv list back.

Yes, I would think so.  The FSF likes to bluster that programs running
in separate processes that interact with each other via standard
interprocess channels (eg, stdio) could be considered a single work
under copyright law, but I don't see how.  The calling program never
contains a physical copy of the GPLed code (or a derivative such as a
compiled and partially linked DLL).

In the case of the GPLed script you're talking about, you don't use
the Mailman code code it's based on in your application, you use its
output.  The GPL explicitly disclaims any restrictions on the output.
Furthermore, it seems to me that your script would be independently
useful to folks like Mark Shapiro who support users whose bounce
processing seems wonky; it's clearly a separate work, not part of your

Since your earlier proposal is functionally equivalent to this, it
would be nice if the GPL could somehow allow you to avoid the fork
tax.  But I don't think it can; copyright ends as soon as you allow
someone to make a copy, you can no longer control the use of the
copy.  So this would probably be a huge loophole for abuse of GPLed

Again, IANAL, so you could ask the FSF to be absolutely sure.  RMS and
his lawyers are quite scrupulously honest about this; they will
happily tell you that your use is permissible if it is (and equally
happily go on to tell you that you really ought to be using GPL for
your own work<wink>).

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