[Python-Dev] Would GPL on python-mode.el be a problem?

Andrew Koenig ark-mlist at att.net
Wed Jan 28 11:49:12 EST 2004

> During the python-mode project's short life, I've copied python-mode.el
> over
> to the Python project's Misc directory a few times.  I thought I'd better
> ask if GPL-ness would present a problem.  I have always remained
> blissfully
> unaware of licensing details, so I have no grasp of what the ramifications
> are.

>From http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#MereAggregation:

Mere aggregation of two programs means putting them side by side on the same
CD-ROM or hard disk. We use this term in the case where they are separate
programs, not parts of a single program. In this case, if one of the
programs is covered by the GPL, it has no effect on the other program. 
Combining two modules means connecting them together so that they form a
single larger program. If either part is covered by the GPL, the whole
combination must also be released under the GPL--if you can't, or won't, do
that, you may not combine them. 

What constitutes combining two parts into one program? This is a legal
question, which ultimately judges will decide. We believe that a proper
criterion depends both on the mechanism of communication (exec, pipes, rpc,
function calls within a shared address space, etc.) and the semantics of the
communication (what kinds of information are interchanged). 

If the modules are included in the same executable file, they are definitely
combined in one program. If modules are designed to run linked together in a
shared address space, that almost surely means combining them into one

By contrast, pipes, sockets and command-line arguments are communication
mechanisms normally used between two separate programs. So when they are
used for communication, the modules normally are separate programs. But if
the semantics of the communication are intimate enough, exchanging complex
internal data structures, that too could be a basis to consider the two
parts as combined into a larger program. 

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