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

Steve Holden sholden at holdenweb.com
Wed Oct 9 14:02:52 CEST 2002


"Michael Stenner" <mstenner at phy.duke.edu> wrote in message
news:mailman.1034119693.32074.python-list at python.org...
> On Wed, Oct 09, 2002 at 08:32:28AM +1000, Tim Churches wrote:
> > Michael Stenner wrote:
> > > You correctly note that you've been tainted since you looked at his
> > > code.  That leaves you in a bit of a quandry, but you got yourself
> > > into it.  Why did you look at his code in the first place?  You knew
> > > it was GPL'd.  You knew you weren't willing to use the GPL!  What
> > > LEGITIMATE benefit could you gain?
> >
> > and Steve Holden wrote:
> >
> > > The OP's real mistake, as has already been pointed out, was reading
GPL'd
> > > code when he doesn't agree with, or want to abide by, the GPL.
> >
> > The GPL exerts Copyleft by modifying rights granted to authors
> > by legislated Copyright. As pointed out by someone else,
> > Copyright extends only to implementations, not to algorithms.
> > Thus, merely studying GPLed code does not 'taint' your mind with
> > the GPL, no more so than reading Marx makes you a communist.
>
Indeed, having read some of Marx's work, I am surprised that such turgid
prose could have apparently set parts of the world on fire the way it did.

> > < much more (supporting arguments) snipped >
>
[ ... ]
> Here's my little "rule of thumb" type guideline (that I'm making up
> right now) that I think we'll agree on (at least Tim and I): if you
> read casually, or for understanding (as opposed to memorization) and
> then a few days later write up your version, then you're probably
> fine.  If you write your version with the "original" open in another
> window or or refer to it frequently, that's not so safe.
>
I also agree. The OP's statements appeared to indicate that he couldn't,
having read the GPL's code, think of an original way to express the
algorithm. Of course, until we know what the algorithm was we're kind of
debating in a vacuum.

but-that-never-stopped-c.l.py-ly y'rs  - steve
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