[OT} How to un-GPL parts of a GPL'd module.

Paul Hughett hughett at mercur.uphs.upenn.edu
Sun Oct 13 20:14:19 CEST 2002

offer at sgi.com wrote:

: The GPL (like all copyrights) cover an implementation. It does not cover
: an idea (that is what patents are for)

: To un-GPL something re-do the implementation such that a court would
: not see it as a derivative work.

: One way obvious way to do this is to convert the algorithm into an
: English specification, then to hand that specification off to someone else
: (who has not seen the GPL code) for implementation.

You can also do it the same way the FSF did to avoid possible
copyright suits over reimplementing the basic Unix utilities.  Rewrite
the algorithm from scratch, making some substantial and non-trivial
improvement.  If I remember correctly, the FSF rewrote the utilities
to remove all arbitrary memory limitations; that is, the improved
utilities will malloc as much memory as they need rather than relying
on fixed buffer sizes.

Paul Hughett

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