[sldev] GPLed submissions

John Hurliman jhurliman at wsu.edu
Thu Mar 15 17:33:56 PDT 2007


Dzonatas wrote:
> [removed Jason Giglio and Rob Lanphier from CC list to bounce this 
> back into the thread]
>
> In reply to Jason:
>
> "Rob Linden [20/Feb/07 09:49 PM] Thanks for the submission Alynna. 
> Unfortunately, we can't accept the patch as submitted, as it requires 
> us to incorporate GPL licensed code, which we can't currently do, as 
> we currently have components that aren't GPL compatible."
>
> This is an expected response to the current model. LL has already 
> expressed the desire to keep the server code closed source and 
> eventually license it out (non-GPL). As we see from the current model, 
> the server code and client code is mixed together. They have not 
> distributed the portion of the code that just makes the server, but 
> they have included the portions which are combined with the server. If 
> the submission affects code that would be combined with the server and 
> would affect the potential business plan of the server, it cannot be 
> accepted. This is understandable.
>
> However, you don't have to look to far for the GPL'd code, as it is 
> clearly stated that the client software is GPLv2'd. The only way they 
> can protect such proprietary software that is being combined with 
> GPL'd code as proprietary is not to distribute it.
>
> If one combines or derives GPL code for use in one's proprietary code, 
> one can do that as much as one likes as long as one does not 
> distribute the hybrid package.
>
> We see the server side and the client side is being kept as separate 
> products, so the practicality of this is not directed at GPL'd code 
> but the copyright holders themselves. This is further clarified from 
> the OSI definition: "The license must not place restrictions on other 
> software that is distributed along with the licensed software. For 
> example, the license must not insist that all other programs 
> distributed on the same medium must be open-source software."
>
> This is why I asked for clarification or actually being more explicit 
> about the additional copyright being either appended or reassigned. 
> Since LL has already established code under the GPL, that copyright 
> already exists.
>
> It appeared misunderstood from the conversation in the other threads 
> as if it was touted that LL cannot accept any GPL'd software or 
> combine proprietary with GPL'd code. That is not a restriction. 

LL licenses the client under several different agreements to different 
people. The binary you download off the secondlife.com website is not 
GPL software; it's usually built from a slightly different codebase than 
the GPL release and LL does not make that exact copy of the source 
available at all, let alone for three years in to the future. They also 
have a commercial licensing option where you can get a proprietary 
licensed version of the viewer and plug in all your proprietary code and 
release a viewer without source in exchange for money. They couldn't do 
any of this if there was a GPL infection in the viewer code.

John Hurliman


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