Python 2.0b1 is released!

Tim Peters tim_one at email.msn.com
Tue Sep 12 21:44:08 CEST 2000


[Grant Griffin, attempting to spread a bit of sanity,
 so I'll leave all those parts out <wink>]
> ...
> As another example, if you include a little GPL'ed code in a program
> you distribute as an executable, there isn't much to force you to
> follow the terms of the GPL; it's pretty unlikely that anybody will
> discover this grave slight to the Noble Cause of Freedom, and it's
> even _more_ unlikely that anybody will come after you for doing it.

In the case of Python in particular, I'm afraid the issue will come up in a
highly visible way almost immediately.  The GNU readline library is GPL'ed,
everybody knows it (readline is the poster child for why the FSF prefers the
GPL to the LGPL), there's code in Python's core to interface with readline
if it's available, and *lots* of people have distributed
Python+readline+their_stuff in the past.  So if this *ends* with CNRI still
insisting "is too compatible!" and FSF insisting "is not!", a test case will
pop up approximately the next day, involving a GPL'ed library that's a
lightning rod for attention.

I don't know what would happen then.  Whatever, it wouldn't happen quietly.

> ...
> Therefore, even though Richard Stallman may wake up in the middle of
> the night screaming over this, the rest of us should respond to the
> CNRI license's use of Virginia (and UCITA, by inference) in accordance
> with the following large, friendly letters:
>
>    DON'T PANIC

Darned good advice in general!  But I abhor the intimation that anyone
should wink at the use of GPL'ed code contra the GPL's intent:  this isn't a
question of legality to me, it's a question of respecting other peoples'
wishes about how their work can be used.  OTOH, if the GPL is written in a
way that permits reasonable people to disagree about what the heck it says
even after intense debate, the only mechanism we have for resolving that is
to take it to court.  Or arm-wrestling.  Tossing dice is too cynical <wink>.

i-know!-we'll-just-ask-guido-ly y'rs  - tim






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